Mineral Point Library Archives

In A Field Guide To Mineral Point (Mineral Point Historical Society, 2012), Nancy Pfotenhauer writes:

Mineral Point started as a wild and wooly frontier town. The discovery of lead in 1828 attracted dirt-poor hard-scrabble diggers, educated second sons, land speculators, lawyers, and lawless desperadoes . . . The very first to arrive were Yankees from the east coast, Southerners from Kentucky and Tennessee, ‘suckers’ from Illinois, and lead miners from Missouri. The Cornish came soon after, followed by the Swiss, Germans, Irish, Norwegians, and Italians . . . The most lasting imprint of these early folks may be the buildings they constructed, used, and left behind. Many of these buildings are still standing and many have been restored to their original appearance.

A new digital collection from the Mineral Point Public Library features more than 250 photographs depicting some of this early Wisconsin settlement’s first residential buildings. Efforts to preserve these historic structures started as early as 1935, when Robert Neal and Edgar Hellum began restoration of the group of miner’s cottages that they dubbed Pendarvis, now a state historic site operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society.

The historic preservation movement continues in force in Mineral Point today. By making these photographs available online, the Library provides local residents with invaluable source materials for undertaking historically accurate restorations of their own homes.

The digital project was made possible with Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds awarded to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). This is the first phase of a long-term plan to digitize most of the photographs held by the Mineral Point Library Archives.

Rowhouse buildings during restoration by Bob Neal and Edgar Hellum, 1962. Now part of Pendarvis state historic site. Mineral Point Library Archives.

Rowhouse buildings during restoration by Bob Neal and Edgar Hellum, 1962. Now part of Pendarvis state historic site. Mineral Point Library Archives.

Cyanotype of 510 Church street, decorated with flags and bunting. Mineral Point Library Archives.

Cyanotype of 510 Church street, decorated with flags and bunting. Mineral Point Library Archives.

Shake Rag Valley - potters house and pottery. Mineral Point Library Archives.

Shake Rag Valley – potter’s house and pottery. Mineral Point Library Archives.

Peter Kessler at the door of his stone house on Jail Alley. Mineral Point Library Archives.

Peter Kessler at the door of his stone house on Jail Alley. Mineral Point Library Archives.


Explore all photographs from the Mineral Point Library Archives digital collection.

To see more historical images from Mineral Point, visit the digital collections from the Mineral Point Historical Society.

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