Preserving the Past to Teach the Future. Our mission is to collect, exhibit and educate people about Kenosha County history.

School Tours

The Kenosha History Center and Southport Light Station offer students from grades 3 to 12 specialized educational tours of the History Center galleries and the adjacent Southport Light Station. Also available is the One Room Schoolhouse program offered at Hawthorn Hollow in the Fall and Spring. More information follows.

School Tours at the History Center and Southport Light Station

History of Kenosha County and the Southport Light Station are available year round for students from grades three through high school. Three galleries are offered:

    Yesteryear Gallery – Geared to 3rd grade studies (great for other grades as well)
    Rambler Gallery – Kenosha’s auto making legacy that shaped our town’s history
    1866 Southport Light Station available upon request

Tours are able to accommodate 30 - 45 students on campus; (For larger class sizes, switch with Kenosha Public Museum or Kemper Center). Cost per student is $3.00. No fees are charged for teachers or chaperones. To schedule a tour, call:
Lynn Burnett 262-654-5770 ext 109 or email
Chris Allen, 262-654-5770 ext 102 or email

Hawthorn Hollow One-Room School House Program

The One-room Schoolhouse program is living history where students and teachers experience a One Room school house including lesson plans, and other period activities. The location is on the grounds of Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary inside the Pike River School.

The One Room Schoolhouse program is part of the Kenosha County Historical Society’s Living History Learning Project. The Living History Learning Project is a program that educates children and adults about the history by allowing them to participate in historical activities and encouraging them to see firsthand how people lived and worked in the past. The One Room Schoolhouse program is a wonderful example of living history, where students and teachers are invited to experience a one room schoolhouse, including lessons, costumes, and other period activities on the grounds at Hawthorn Hollow Nature Sanctuary & Arboretum. During the program, school is taught as it was in 1906. The cost per student is $8.00.

The classroom instruction will include:
    · Opening Exercises
    · Memorization Lessons
    · Reading from McGuffey Readers
    · Arithmetic lessons on a slate
    · Spelling Bee
    · Geography, 1906 Current Events
    · Writing with a quill pen and ink
    · 1906 recess games
    · A discussion of differences between 1906 and present day schools

Schools are selected by a lottery system in August of each year. Classes are held in the Fall and Spring of each school year.
For more information, contact Chris Allen at 262-654-5770 or email

Pike River School

The 1847 Schoolhouse was made of wood by farmers who cut down trees that grew on their land. It originally stood one half mile north of where it stands now and was used until 1906. In July 1905, at the annual meeting of the district, steps were taken to build a new schoolhouse. The 1847 Schoolhouse was sold to Lawerence Ozanne who used it to store grain. In September 1906, the second schoolhouse opened. It could accommodate 50 students. At almost every annual meeting, repairs and improvements were approved by the voters. In 1931-1932, a new well was put in. In 1933, a survey of Highway A found that the schoolhouse extended two feet onto the highway. A committee was formed to investigate possible improvements. The planned improvements were moving the building 75 ft. south onto a new foundation with a basement, installment of a water system connected to the present well, installation of toilet rooms for girls and boys, installation of a heating plant, maintenance of playground, and painting of the building. In the following years, voters approved needed repairs and expenditures to keep the school in accord with modern times. In September 1960, 7th & 8th grade students were bussed to Kenosha Schools. In September 1962, students in grades 1-6 began to attend Somers School and the Pike River School was closed.

In 1967, Mr. & Mrs. Christen P. & Anna Heide donated money to move the buildings to Hawthorn Hollow. Through the years, their generosity has preserved these buildings.

Our Mission

The Kenosha History Center collects and preserves artifacts, records and information vital to the understanding the history of the County's social, cultural, ethnic and industrial heritage since its settlement. The Center uses these materials, acting alone or in collaboration with other citizens and organizations, to disseminate knowledge of our collective local history through its museum, historic sites, research and outreach and publication programs for the benefit of the community and its visitors.