Heritage Center & McGowan House Open


The Adams County Heritage Center and the McGowan House Museum are open again a few days a week.

The Heritage Center is open for research, genealogy, book shopping and all kinds of Adams County historical information.

This summer the McGowan House Museum is open for tours on Saturday afternoons.  Along with the tours, we’re also having themed displays with a different theme each month

In July we are “Remembering  Adams County Bands.”  We have a wonderful exhibit remembering Cliff Banks & the Sunset Ramblers,  Carl Hanke, Jack Opie & the Ramblers and others whose bands we danced to at Dellwood Pavilion, The Bohemian Hall, Spot in the Woods, White Creek and the other dance halls of Adams County.

In August we will have a “Quilt Show.”  Several of our mid-1800s quilts will be on display as well as others made by Adams County residents with a few stories here and there.

In September the theme will be “Kitchens of Yesteryear” and we’ll cook up a little fun in the McGowan House kitchen during our tours.  We’ll churn some butter to be eaten with warm biscuits and homemade jam. Along the way we will reminisce about August days in the kitchen during our childhood and what it must have been like for homemakers in the late 1800s.

Here are the current hours:

  1. The McGowan House Museum (507 Main Street, Friendship) is open now through September on Saturday afternoons from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.
  2. The Heritage Center (311 Main Street, Friendship) is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 5:00 PM year around.
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Historical Center Book Shop takes on Look of Friendship State Bank

The Friendship State Bank lives again


The Friendship State Bank was the first bank in Adams County.  It opened in The bank was housed in the Gunning-Purvis Office Building in Friendship that is now the Adams County Historical Society’s Adams County Heritage Center.  The bank opened in 1912, soon after the building opened. The bank closed in 1936 during the depression as did many, but the old bank vault and the safe inside it remained.  The ornate cage that the tellers stood behind and dealt with depositors behind the bars was taken out when the bank closed. It was ruined some years later in storage.

Now an antique bank cage was found and installed.  The new cage makes the book shop in the Center look like it could be a set for a 1930’s movie.


Ring the bell to get the teller’s attention


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Use Amazon Smile to support the Efforts of the Adams County Historical Society

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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 in Second Printing



Local author Dennis McFarlin’s  newly published book Friendship, Wisconsin – A History is now available for sale SOLD OUT at the Adams County Historical Society’s Heritage Books & Gifts at 311 Main Street, Friendship, Wisconsin.  A second printing is in the works. You can reserve a two-volume copy with a $60 deposit at the gift shop or through the mail at the address below. Non-refundable deposit will be applied to the final purchase.

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 may be reserved by mail.

Send $60 to reserve a second printing copy to

Adams County Historical Society, PO BOX 264, Friendship, WI 53934

Leave your contact information so that we can contact you when copies are available

Full price is $125 plus $10 shipping.



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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 COMMUNITY COOKBOOK” By Ladies Aid Society of the Friendship Congregational Church. A reprint of the 1934 cookbook of Local Cook’s recipes. $4.00

ADAMS COUNTY COOKERY – PAST TO PRESENT” By Adams County Historical Society.  A collection of County Recipes. $5.00

“ADAMS COUNTY LAND ATLAS – 2012-2013” By Adams County 4-H Leaders Assoc, Inc. $10.00

“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

“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

“A YEAR OF CHAMPIONS – 1996 GREEN BAY PACKERS” Remembered by Gilbert Brown by Chris Havel $10.00

“BREWERIES OF WISCONSIN” By Jerry Apps.  A history of Beer making, location of breweries, etc. $2.00

“FAR FROM HERE” By Barbara Cranford.  A book of poetry. $14.00

“FOOD FOR THOUGHT”  Edited by Brian Skinner. A collection of work by Adams-Friendship area young authors and illustrators. $4.00 

“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 $125.00.  Book now in second printing and not available in store.  Reserve your two-volume copy with a $60.00 deposit.  Bring deposit to the Society’s Heritage Books & Gift Shop  or mail to Adams County Historical Society, ATTN: Friendship History, at the addresses above

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

“THE GOOD OLD DAYS – WERE THEY REALLY?” By Eunice Kanne. $4.00

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

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

“JAMES MILTON MAGINNIS – HIS CHILDREN AND THEIR DESENDANTS” By Judith Maginnis Kuster and Betty M Styer. Genealogy. Family of Maginnis, Styer and others. $20.00

“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

“MAGGIE MARIE’S MERMAID TAIL” By Heidi Marie Herriot. Children’s’ book. Dedicated to the “Wee Ones Everywhere.” $12.50

“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

“OF WIND & WILLOW” By Clara Kirkwood. Friendship poems. $1.50

“ONE-ROOM COUNTRY SCHOOLS” By Jerry Apps. History and recollections from Wisconsin. $10.00

“ONE-ROOM SCHOOL DAYS” By Otto J. Shipla. Autobiography of life as a pupil, teacher, and teacher-trainer. $10.00

“OUT OF THE BLUE” Edited by Brian Skinner. Another collection of work by Adams-Friendship area young authors and illustrators. $4.00 

“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

“RED MAGIC SHAG” By Bart Downey. Yard sale carpet turns magic. $15.00

“RAILROAD MEMORIES – ADAMS AND THE C&NW – AN ORAL HISTORY”  Edited by Michael Goc.  Interviews by Adams County Historical Society members and others about the railroad and Adams.  With illustrations. $10.00

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

“ROCKETS LIKE RAIN” By Dale E. Reich.  Story of author’s year in Vietnam. $10.00

“SOME QUIET PLACE” By Barbara Cranford. Poetry book. $14.00

“SOUTH BURR OAK HISTORY 1898-1998” By the South Burr Oak Congregation. History of South Burr Oak United Methodist Church, Coloma, WI. $10.00

“SUSAN ANGELINE COLLINS: WITH A HALLELUJAH HEARTBy Janis Bennington VanBuren. Explores the life of an African American woman who lived for a time during the 1850s in Adams County. She became a missionary in Africa. $30.00

“THIS BLIND JOURNEY” By Barbara Cranford. Friendship poems. $14.00

“TO THE LAST BIRD by Evalyn Attoe Blumer & Jerry W. Carlton (A saga of several 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. $15.00

“YOUR COUNTRY CALLS” By Sophronius Stocking Landt.  A veteran’s story of the Civil War. $10.00

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