Historic Milwaukee: Trimborn Farm, an interactive history lesson

Posted at 4:47 PM, Nov 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-21 18:02:48-05

GREENDALE-- Milwaukee County's only historic park serves as a hands-on learning experience for Wisconsin students. 

Trimborn Farm has been around for over a century and a half, and watched while the city of Greendale progressed around it. Today, people can step back in time just by stepping onto the gravel road off Grange Ave. 

"It's really a fun experience for them to be out on a farm that's so close to where we live today, and understand its history," said Mame McCully, Executive Director of the Milwaukee County Historical Society. 

McCully sat down with us to tell us how important Trimborn Farm is to Milwaukee's past. 

"It's just a place that holds so much history, a timeline of history [and] you can see how this area of Wisconsin evolved," said McCully. 

The land was originally acquired by Werner Trimborn, a Prussian immigrant who moved to Wisconsin with his children. One of the Historical Society's star volunteers, Fred Wendorf, showed us around the park.

"This is the Trimborn Farm house that was built around 1850," said Wendorf, as he walked us in the front door. 

Inside were household items, musical instruments, and furniture that were all period appropriate. Kids can even see earlier versions of their favorite toys. 

"They think this is one of the coolest things," Wendorf said, holding up a century old (or more) stereoscope.  

Outside are four giant kilns - what made the farm so prosperous for decades. 

"From 1850 to 1860 this place was like a boom town," said Wendorf. 

The kilns were used to transform limestone from the quarry across the street into putty and mortar. They were operational 24/7, with up to 40 men working them at a time. 

Today, a similarly strong workforce keeps the place together for everyone to enjoy. Hardworking volunteers spend their time and energy making sure Trimborn Farm is around for generations to come. 

"I feel that when I volunteer, I'm making it a part of us and then I'm giving something so that we share and we all grow old together," said Wendorf.