Welcome to the Dells Country Historical Society Website!
On June 30, 1981 a group of local people met for the purpose of saving the Bowman house from destruction. The house is located in Bowman City Park. The group formed a Historical Society and requested that the common council of the City of Wisconsin Dells assign the Bowman house to the newly formed society as a museum.
This request was approved by the council with the stipulation that the Society assumes responsibility for the upkeep of the house.
The objective of the Dells Country Historical Society is to educate, preserve, advance and disseminate the knowledge of the history of the Dells County area by displaying items and information where visitors and local people can learn about the Dells area including Old Newport, Delton, Kilbourn City, the Wisconsin River and other local places.
Interested in becoming a member of the Historical Society? Click here for details.
About the Museum
Located in Bowman Park. Built in 1904, the Bowman House is an example of Prairie Style Architecture. Used as a vacation home for working women from the late 1930s to mid 1970s, today it houses many artifacts and images of the Wisconsin Dells that was and still is if you know where to look. This lovely home with its restored wood floors retains a lived in quality, antique furnishings from local families and memorabilia. Read the history of the Bowman Family and House Click Here.
On a tour you will find rooms dedicated to:
- General Joseph Bailey - Who shortened the Civil War by two years with his success in the
Red River Campaign. See war uniforms, pictures and artifacts as well as the Thanks of Congress and Commendation by President Lincoln.
- Native American History - From the early settlers, to the present day living. See dress attire,
pictures and more showing how their culture has impacted the history of the Dells and America.
- The Bennett Gallery - H.H. Bennett’s photography promoted the area and native life enticing
the people to visit the area. His photographs and memorabilia line the walls of the Bowman House.
- Lake Delton - From the creation of the Lake in 1927 to the destruction in 2008 and the rebuilding in 2009, Lake Delton has many stories to share.
- Tourism - Display cases filled with souvenirs and advertising brochures from the 1800s to the present.
- Blacksmith Shop - Tools from a blacksmith shop are displayed in the basement including an anvil, forge and bellows. See handmade tools used to fix machinery, shoe horses, sharpen plows and make wagons.
- Basement - On the landing is a display of railroad items and at the bottom of the stairs are photographs of early settlers, businessmen and Kilbourn Fire Department photographs including ones of the fire that burned the Crandall Hotel. Also in the basement are ice tools, a map room, hops display and a ladies work room including a wringer washing machine.
- Other rooms like the Parlor, Library, Dining, Screen Porch, Bedrooms and Kitchen showcase pieces from the period. See late 1800s high fashion and accessories, dinnerware (including silverware that had been hidden in a secret compartment), a carefully restored stove and a lot more.
You will feel like you have been transported to the past after your tour through the Museum and perhaps can even sense the presence of the woman who made this house their home for many years. The Bowman House is run and maintained through donations. If you would like to contribute to the Dells Country Historical Society find a form HERE.
Tour of the Museum - Click on the images for a larger view
Our season: Mid - June to the end of August and Wo-Zha-Wa weekend, the third weekend in September, Friday and Saturday.
Contact Us and Museum Hours
The Bowman House Museum is open:
- Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the summer season from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
- Private Group Tours by Appointment
- Free Admission, Donations Welcome
- Cameras Allowed
Dells Country Historical Society
714 Broadway, PO Box 674
Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
- Taste of the Dells craft show: Second weekend in June, Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- Dells Country Historical Society monthly meetings: Second Tuesday of the month, 7 p.m., Community Center, Kilbourn Public Library. Meetings may be changed to accommodate speakers. Meeting changes will be announced in the Wisconsin Dells Events and by email to members.
- Pancake breakfast fundraiser: Date to be announced, held at Mr. Pancake, Wisconsin Dells Parkway, Lake Delton.