The society closed our Heritage Center and the McGowan House Museum in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic believing it would be a few months before we could open again.  Everyone knows how that has turned out.  As the situation has improved since vaccinations became available, we have carefully opened on a limited basis.

Here are the current hours:

  1. The McGowan House Museum (507 Main Street, Friendship) is open by appointment only. Call 608-339-7733 for tour.
  2. The Heritage Center (311 Main Street, Friendship) is open Turesdays and Thursdays fromnoon to 5 PM.
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2021 Virtual Holiday Happening

You are invited to join us for a Festive and Fun-filled event! This is the year for a Virtual Holiday Happening.

All that we require from you is to set up a holiday theme table at your business, home or organization.  The table should have a minimum of 4 place settings.  We would need a photo of your decorated holiday table and then your photo will be displayed on our website and FaceBook pages.  All the photos submitted can be viewed and enjoyed by everyone.

Your decorated table should be done by November 29th. Your photo and completed form below can be submitted to our email at or sent by snail mail to: Adams County Historical Society, PO Box 264, Friendship, WI 53934 or you may drop it off in person at the Heritage Center, 311 Main St., Friendship.  As a last option you may want one of our members to pick it up by calling (608) 339-7733.

There is no cost to enter this event. Tables will not be judged but positive comments on our website or FaceBook can be enjoyable reading. By December 4th we will have all photos posted.  Check out our website: or FaceBook.  Please feel free to pass this invitation along to family and friends.

Even though there is no cost to enter this event, please keep in mind that any donations are greatly appreciated.  Like Many non-pofit volunteer organizations, we still have bills to pay and count on help from all our friends when normal fundraising events are difficult to hold.

Please fill out a form of your own with the information below and submit with your photo by November 29;

____ Business       ______ Individual       _____ Organization

Name: ______________________________________________

Address: _____________________________________________

Telephone #: __________________________________________

Contact Person: ________________________________________

Submit Photo & information requested by any method listed above.


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Check out “Adams County Tales”

Click on the “Adams County Tales” at the top of this page.  You will see a list of short articles telling about events from the rich history of Adams County.  The article series is a work in progress so there will be more pictures, expanded articles and all new articles yet to come.  In the meantime among the current articles you will learn …..


  • how the railroad first came to Adams County after every other county in the state had its own rail service

  • how a fellow who had such an enjoyable childhood in Adams County that he brought a factory to Adams building aluminum and stainless steel boats,

  • how a local boy won fame as a major league baseball player only to die a tragic death,

  • and many more tales from the rich history of Adams County.

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“Friendship, Wisconsin – A History” Now on Sale



Local author Dennis McFarlin’s  newly published book Friendship, Wisconsin – A History is now available for sale at the Adams County Historical Society’s Heritage Books & Gifts at 311 Main Street, Friendship, Wisconsin.

The two volume Friendship, Wisconsin – A History chronicles the history of a small village in central Wisconsin. Dennis M. McFarlin grew up in Friendship and experienced first-hand life in the village for fifty years. McFarlin’s discussion of the book should be of interest to students of history, genealogists, and particularly to those persons who live in Friendship today or grew up in the village or its surrounds.


The book is 934 pages, with 600 photographs and images.  Because the book is intended as a research source, the author has provided over 10,000 endnotes to guide the reader to additional resources.  An extensive index is provided.

Volume One of the book presents a history of the village through subject categories, such a education, health care, government, lifestyle,  and the early geologic history of the area.

Volume Two of the book presents a history of the village through a block-by-block review of the businesses that operated in the village from its inception in 1856.




Friendship, Wisconsin – A History is available by mail.

Send $65 plus $10 shipping and handling to Adams County Historical Society, PO BOX 264, Friendship, WI 53934 along with your shipping address.


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Local History Books on Sale in Society’s Heritage Books & Gifts shop.

The books listed below are in stock and on sale at the Adams County Historical Society’s Heritage Books & Gifts shop, 311 Main Street, Friendship, Wisconsin. 
The books are also available by mail; send remittance with name and address to Adams county Historical Society, PO Box 264, Friendship, WI 53934.  Add $5  per individual book for shipping and handling.  (Add $10 for the two volume “Friendship Wisconsin – a History”)


“A-F SPEEDWAY, STEEL FENDERS-GOLDEN MEMORIES” A DVD Hosted by Bill Holland with film, interviews, stories from the History of A-F Speedway. A wonderful combination! $30.00


“ADAMS COUNTY AT WAR” by Gordon K. Klaus. This book contains the Civil War letters that Adams County native Pvt./Capt. Charles Bassett wrote home while serving with Co. E, 16th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. Included is a roster of Company E’s original members. $15.00

“FRIENDSHIP WISCONSIN – A HISTORY”  by Dennis M. McFarlin. A two volume set presenting the history of a small village in Adams County in central Wisconsin. Volume One of the book presents the history of the village through subject categories, such as education, health care, government, lifestyle, and the early geologic history of the area. Volume Two presents a block-by-block review of the businesses that operated in the village from its inception in 1856.   Having 934 pages, with 600 photos and images 10,000 endnotes, it is meant as a research source. The Book store price is $65.00.

FROM PAST TO PRESENT” A comprehensive history of Adams County by Michael Goc. $20.00


“GRANDMA ‘D’ “  by M. Delores Maynard Cherveny. A new book by 96 year old author describing a life well lived. $15.00

“GROWING UP POOR” by Joseph Soulak. (Memories of Wisconsin life in the central Wisconsin Railroad town of Adams.) $5.00

HERO OF THE RED RIVERThe life and times of Joseph Bailey by Michael J. Goc. A Collections of letters discovered in an old Wisconsin Dells building was the catalyst for this history of Colonel Joseph Bailey who owned a small farm in southern Adams county. His friend, a local attorney who stayed behind after Joseph entered the Civil War had saved them and gives an eye opening portrait of a man who accomplished much in his military career. $12.00

“K” A GIRLS LIFE IN FRIENDSHIP DURING 1905 & 1906. by Sharon Hart Addy for the Adams County Historical Society about young Katherine McGowan who became a teacher and Supervising Teacher overseeing the many schools in this rural county. $10.00

“LOOKING BACK” by Walter J. Kappel. The middle son of Austrian immigrants tells of his life from 1914 through WWII.  $10.00

” MURDER IN ADAMS COUNTY” by Merlyn Ruphus. The notoriety of Adams County as ‘The Murder Capital of the United States’ is documented in this fascinating book. $20.00

“NEW CHESTER” by Barbara Morgan (A history of this small community and the surrounding country) $8.00

“POWER IN MANY HANDS” by Michael Goc. Tells the story of Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative and of the communities it serves in twelve central Wisconsin counties. The beginnings of local REA services. $20.00

 “ROCHE-A-CRI TO TRINITY” (The History of Trinity Lutheran Church in Arkdale, WI.) $10.00

“THE HISTORY OF A-F SPEEDWAY” by Matt McLaughlin (Well documented history of a Adams County favorite. Many wild characters and even wilder racing!) $30.00

“THE TANGNEY & DAY FAMILIES OF ADAMS COUNTY, WISCONSIN by Linda Berg Stafford. Winner of the 1994 Family History Book Award from the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society and State Historical Society of Wisconsin. A beautifully executed genealogy of two branches of the Tangney family spanning 6 generations, and eleven generations of the Day family. (We have received multiple copies of this book to be used for fundraising. In most cases our society has received only 1 or 2 copies of family genealogies which we hold in our archives for research.) $25.00

“TO THE LAST BIRD by Evalyn Attoe Blumer & Jerry W. Carlton (a saga of generations of the bird family as it progressed westward eventually settling in central Wisconsin, describing their involvement in the development of the new city of Madison and constructing it’s new capitol building) $7.50

“TWO FATHERS, ONE WAR” by Marcia L Pollock Wysocky. A daughter’s story of her natural father and step father one in the European theater and the other in the Pacific theater of World War II. $25.00

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