by Benson Gardner, PortalWisconsin.org
Stepping into the re-created saloon at Pinecrest Historical Village feels like stepping back in time. The saloon occupies the lower floor of an 1866 log house built by a German immigrant. In the upper floor, visitors can find period doctor's and dentist's offices. (Take a virtual tour of the saloon.)
Owned and operated by the Manitowoc County Historical Society, Pinecrest Historical Village is a group of around two dozen buildings, mostly from the latter half of the 19th century and the early 20th century. There are log homes, a number of businesses (including a bank, a dressmaker's shop, a blacksmith shop, and a cheese factory), public buildings (like a railroad depot, a firehouse, and a town hall), and the occasional oddity (two smokehouses). Other items of interest include a nature trail and a locomotive. (Take a virtual tour of Pinecrest Historical Village.)
Nearly all the structures have been moved to the site from their original environs elsewhere in Manitowoc County.
Before the buildings arrived, Hugo and Eleanor Sorenson Vetting farmed on most of this land. They gave it to the Historical Society in 1970 so that Eleanor's childhood home could become the first building of the village. More acreage and buildings came in later donations.
The Vettings' 1956 ranch house also sits on the property, near the Pinecrest entrance, housing administrative offices but also reminding us that structures common at one point in time may one day acquire a sheen of historic value.
Pinecrest Historical Village is near Manitowoc, not far from Green Bay and Sheboygan. Directions to Pinecrest can be found on its Web site. It's open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from July 1 through Labor Day, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from after Labor Day through October 19, when it closes for the winter, except for a special day, December 13, when it will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Manitowoc County Historical Society can be reached at 920-684-4445.