Laying of the Cornerstone of the Hon. J.S. Tripp Library and Hall
In this photograph, a crowd gathers for the laying of the cornerstone of the Hon. J.S. Tripp Library and Hall. J. Stephen Tripp was a pioneer in Prairie du Sac, a lawyer, and for 50 years a banker in that community. He was the financial manager for the Prairie du Sac Hyroelectric Dam Project.
The foregoing content used with gracious permission of the Sauk Prairie Area Historical Society.The Tripp Heritage Museum, a century old, located in the downtown business district of the riverside village of Praire du Sac, is an example of classic turn-of-the-last-century architecture. Architect Joseph Dresen (a member of the Dresen Brothers Lumber Company, Sauk City) designed this structure and many of the early homes in the community with his trademark use of wide millwork and simple elegance. The consulting architect, Alfred Clas, from a prominent Milwaukee firm, grew up in neighboring Sauk City, returned to collaborate with Dresen on this project. Clas is well known for his design of another prominent local structure, Park Hall, for the German Freethinkers Society.The driving force behind the building of this grand structure was J.S. Tripp, a local banker, lawyer and public servant, who in 1912 donated $10,500 for the construction of a library and village hall. Tripp was not only a benefactor locally, but also donated a large sum of money for the creation of the University of Wisconsin Arboretum in Madison, Wisconsin, which at the time and still is on the forefront of prairie restoration and land conservation.In October 1913 the J. S. Tripp Memorial Library and Hall was opened to the public with much fanfare. After many years of service as a village hall and library, in 1997 the building was sold to the Sauk Prairie Area Historical and renamed the Tripp Memorial Museum. The museum serves to collect and preserve items of local significance and houses artifacts of importance to the cultural and natural story of the Sauk Prairie Area as well as the largest collection of Ocshner mounted birds and animals (over 320) in the state.In 2003, during the 90th anniversary celebration of this building, the Tripp Memorial Museum was officially added to the National Registry of Historic Places.The Tripp, as it is referred to locally, is a wonderful starting point to understanding the people, places, and natural wonders of the Sauk Prairie region. Numerous exhibits and events throughout the year highlight the deeper story of this riverside community.In 2012, the museum was honored with a long-term loan from the University of Wisconsin Zoological Museum of the Bradford Bison, a 5,000 – 7,000 year old Bison Occidentalis found in 2005 by 7-year-old Joshua Bradford as he was walking with his companion Bob Weiss along the Wisconsin Riverbed just below the Prairie du Sac dam. It is an important discovery as it is the most east-ward found specimen of Bison Occidentalis in the state, shedding new light on this prehistoric animal’s range.