Awards 2005

Posted on: July 27th, 2014 by

Oconto County Historical Society Awards

Annual Meeting of the Society

Recipient Information

November 10, 2005


George E. Hall Award for documentation of Oconto County history

Myra Fosik has been very involved with the Mountain Historical Society.  She researched and documented the history of the Mountain School and successfully nominated it as a National Historic Register Site in 2000.  She is presently working on nominating the Chute Dam, which is believed to be the first dam site nominated to the National Register.  Myra was unable to be here tonight to receive this award.  She was honored to be acknowledged.

The R. L. Hall Land Title Company celebrated its 150th anniversary this year.  For a company to be in existence for this long is impressive, but even more remarkable is that the same family has retained ownership throughout that time.  R. L. Hall founded R. L. Hall Abstract Company on his kitchen table in 1855.  Although the office facilities have relocated several times, the table has found a permanent home in the kitchen of the Beyer Home Museum.  By its very business the company has recorded and archived Oconto County history.  R. L. Hall’s grandson, George E. “Jimmie” Hall, served as Company president and headed the Oconto County Historical Society for several decades.  It is with great honor that we present this award to his wife, Mildred Hall.


President’s Award for preservation of Oconto County buildings

Tom and Irma Majors bought what is known as the Lingelbach home in March of 1998 to make it into a Bed and Breakfast.  The home was built by Phillip and Wilhelmina Lingelbach, the owners of the Oconto Brewery.  Since then it has been a funeral home, a nursing home, and a photographer’s studio.  The Majors have been working to restore the feeling of fine living.  The common rooms downstairs include a large living room, dining room, and foyer.  Three bedroom and bath suites have been completed and a fourth is in progress.  A fifth room upstairs will be a sitting room with Internet access and a mini kitchen for the guests.  The first room finished is called the Lingelbach Room and has an old-fashioned décor including pictures of the Lingelbachs.  That room includes the original claw-foot bathtub used by the Lingelbachs.  Tom and Irma have their own quarters downstairs.  The porch has had some renovation but it will be finished next year.  We are pleased to present this award to Tom and Erma Majors.


Kay Stewart Award for achievement in documentation of family history

Don and Doug DeWitt researched and documented the history of lumbering in Northern Oconto County and in particular the Holt family’s participation in the county’s lumber industry.  Devillo Holt first became involved with Oconto lumbering in the mid 1850s.  His son, W. A. Holt joined the business in the 1890s.  The Holt Lumber Company was an integral part of Oconto County until he blew the last whistle in November of 1938, closing the mill.  Part of the presentation Don and Doug have prepared is a 38mm film from the 1920s/1930s showing the entire lumbering process, from the cutting of trees in Lakewood, to the transport and processing at the Holt Lumber Mill in Oconto.  Pat and Doug DeWitt are here to accept this award.


Volunteer of the Year Award

Sheila Ballestad is a daughter, sister, niece, aunt, wife, sister-in-law, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, and friend.  She and Karl have been married for 38 years.  They have three children and five grandchildren.  A retired elementary teacher, she has left a positive mark on hundreds of youngsters.  Sheila is always willing and diversely able to lend a capable hand whenever necessary.  Thank you, Sheila, for all you do, for all you have done, for the Historical Society.

Pete DeWitt has been involved with a very special project for the Historical Society.  The Society owns two electric cars.  Both belonged to Pete’s grandmother, Lucy Holt.  His grandfather, W. A. Holt, felt it was not safe for a lady to start a gasoline car.  Pete, with help from some friends, was able to get the 1920s Detroit car in working order to drive in the Copperfest Parade last summer.  He is currently restoring the Waverley.  He was pleased to find that the engine was still in working condition.  He has done a great deal of research to find original manuals, and sources for many parts as well as leatherwork. Having these two cars on exhibit and able to run is a benefit to the museum.  We are very happy to present this award to Pete.