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Green County Historical Society offers new book of old photos
This aerial view of the downtown area was taken in 1937. The arrow points to the site of Turner Hall when there was no building there. Many of the buildings have been razed since then. (Photo supplied by the Green County Historical Society)
MONROE - The Green County Historical Society recently published a new book, "Monroe, Wisconsin Area Pictorial History." The book is similar to the pictorial history published 10 years ago in that it includes a caption for each of the photos and is fully indexed - however, it includes 260 photos that were not included in the first book.

There are also more aerial views and photos of Monroe businesses and buildings. Each photograph has been carefully researched and includes a caption. Ten more years of research allows for more detail in the captions. It also contains a look into the rural area that includes the life and work necessary to maintain farms, which greatly contrasts to life today.

The work includes five photos that would have been included in "A Glimpse Back in Time," published in 2010. These five negatives, taken by Will E. Trukenbrod between 1910 and 1920, were found after that book was published. The photos in the "Glimpse" book were not captioned, but identifications can be found on the GCHS website. The photos in that book give readers an idea what Monroe was like when automobiles replaced horses and wagons.

"The people of Monroe are so fortunate to have so many photographers who preserved the images of buildings and businesses through the years and newspapers that have documented events since 1851," said Matt Figi, editor of the three books. "We are also fortunate that people have preserved these images for decades."

Trukenbrod was a pharmacist on the east side of the Square who took many shots, especially of the downtown area, and stored all of his negatives in the upstairs above his business. After he passed away in the late 1940s, his son-in-law John Sery and Joe Benkert moved them to the basement of Benkert's Clothing Store. They remained there until they were moved to the current museum. Fortunately, recent technology has made it easy to scan those negatives and share them with those who are interested.

One of the early reviews received from Sandy Rufener, said "The new book is fantastic. So many new photos and great descriptions. It is such a wonderful book for all Monroe history lovers. Thanks again for creating yet another outstanding Monroe history book for all of us to enjoy. Your hard work is very much appreciated."

"Super job on the newest book. Especially on the collection of photos in the downtown area ... you covered a lot of history there," Wendy Tschudy wrote.

There are 676 photographs, spanning from the late 1860s to 2008, within the three picture books done by the Society in the last 10 years.

Figi pointed out that it is noteworthy that there is a photo of the excavation for the cheese storage shed that still stands on the east end of Cheese Row along 15th Avenue and the men excavating for the railroad tunnel in the late 1880s, yet there is no photo of the construction of the current Courthouse in the middle of the city Square in 1891.

Books may be purchased at Sequels on the east side of the Square until the end of the year. The most recent book is also available at Schultz Pharmacy, Monroe Arts Center and Shane Figi Insurance. All books can also be ordered on the Society's website.