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Building for the Future:
Meeme House Inn Project

 
 

As immigrants came to Manitowoc County and roads become well traveled, stagecoach stops were built throughout the state. One of these stops, the Meeme House, still stands today. Built around 1855, the Meeme House Inn was located along the Green Bay Road. It was built by farmer and new immigrant, Michael Herr. The typical rate was around $1 a day, which included supper, lodging, breakfast and feed and stabling for a team of horses. The building had several small overnight rooms, a tavern on the first floor and a large beautiful ballroom on the second. Voting also took place inside until a new poll house was built in 1900.

It has been said that during the Civil War a rally took place in the ballroom and the next day the Civil War volunteers walked to Manitowoc to join the unit. The Meeme House Inn was owned by the Herr family until 1906 when it was purchased by Peter DeGrott. DeGrott operated the Inn until 1909 when it was sold to Joe Schwartz. After Joe's death in 1947, his wife Minnie ran the tavern until 1955. The Meeme House Tavern was then passed on to their daughter, Valeria, and become well known as Sessler's Meeme House.

In October, 2013 the Manitowoc County Historical Society, a private non-profit organization, purchased the Sessler's Meeme House Inn property to preserve and share the stories of the structures. 

The Meeme House Inn, and its outbuildings, will be
restored to its glory in 1915, under the ownership of Joe Schwartz. The historic structure will serve as in interactive living history museum, where visitors of all ages can be transported back in time and discover the Meeme House Inn, its livery, and poll house, in operation. 

After the culmination of years of planning and fundraising, the structure will now begin its next phase of restoration.  This stagecoach inn, and its poll house and livery stable, is certain to bring great and lasting benefits both to the Museum’s membership and the region it serves.

Creating and sustaining an experience like we offer at the Manitowoc County Historical Society is not without challenges.  As with most non-profit organizations, we are understaffed, underfunded, and have to-do lists miles long.  In order to continue providing the powerful, relevant
experiences that visitors cannot find anywhere else, we are trusting in you. The truth is, none of this exists without your generous donations.

To make this dream a reality, we need you. The Meeme House Inn Restoration project needs your financial contributions to become a place where our history lives for today and generations to come. Together we can discover our past to dream our bright future.

Meeme House Inn, circa 1930

Meeme House Inn, circa 1930

 
 
 

Meet the Schwartz Family:
Yesterday and Today

The son of immigrant parents, Joe Schwarz, purchaed the Meeme Inn from Peter DeGrott in 1909.  His wife Minnie and their three children moved in and really made it their own. 

The typical rate was around $1 a day which included supper, lodging, breakfast and feed and stabling for a team of horses. The beautiful tavern was located on the first floor with the post office.  The second floor is where you’ll find the overnight rooms and a large beautiful ballroom. Voting also took place inside until the new poll house was constructed next door in 1900. Joseph Schwartz was also a carpenter and helped with the construction before he become the owner of the Inn.

The Meeme House Inn and its outbuildings will be restored to share the story of the Schwartz Family in 1915. 

 
 
Schwartz Family, circa 1915

Schwartz Family, circa 1915

 
 
The 1910 census gives clues to the Schwartz’s early beginnings at the Meeme House Inn. Joe and Minnie began their endeavor with 3 small children: Arlene (age 3), Gilbert (age 1), and Clarence (4 months). The family also enlisted the help of a servant, Anna Wasmer, Minnie’s sister.  

The 1910 census gives clues to the Schwartz’s early beginnings at the Meeme House Inn. Joe and Minnie began their endeavor with 3 small children: Arlene (age 3), Gilbert (age 1), and Clarence (4 months). The family also enlisted the help of a servant, Anna Wasmer, Minnie’s sister.

 

 

The Meeme Project Restoration:
New Ways to Explore

The Meeme House Inn will sustain its upkeep and needs with rental income and enhanced programing.  Curriculum plans are developed for youth and family overnight experiences as well as opportunities for formal rentals in the historic tavern and ballroom.

The restoration of the Meeme House Inn will follow 2 phases. The first phase will focus on the exterior. The Inn had 2 additional wings, which were not relocated with the structure. These sections will be added with new construction. One will house a restroom area, while the other will feature a 1900s kitchen and modern day kitchen. Windows will also be installed and siding placed around the structure to ensure its weather-proofing.

The second phase of the Inn’s restoration will focus on interior needs. This will include the tavern, dinning rooms, post office, and boarding rooms. Interior plans for the Meeme House Inn also include restrooms, archival storage space and an emergency storm shelter.

 

 
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Project Funds

 

Gifts to the Meeme House Inn project will be acknowledged according to the following guidelines:

· All donors will be invited to the official grand opening celebration upon completion of the restoration.

· $5,000 or more will be recognized inside the Meeme House Inn on a plaque as part of a display of artifacts found inside the structure during the restoration process.

· Donors also have the opportunity to sponsor a room in the Meeme House Inn.  As a room sponsor, you will work with Manitowoc County Historical Society staff to submit a period appropriate image to be displayed on the room’s wall. Please see below to download our Meeme House Inn Project Brochure.

 

#MeemeOnTheMove

 

Become Part of the
Meeme House Inn's
Next Chapter.

 
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