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Kid History: a Glimpse of Christmas Past

If it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in your house, it may look a lot like this photo, which was taken in 1903: an evergreen tree decked out with ornaments, some gifts (or maybe cards) beneath it, and dressed-up kids posing for the camera. Of course, plenty has changed for Chippewa Valley families in the years since: 116 years ago, for instance, there was no color photography – let alone digital cameras – and these kids unlikely to have received any gifts that required batteries.

The children of John C. and Dora Barland shown here were celebrating the holiday season at what is now known as the Schlegelmilch House, 517 S. Farwell St., which is owned and operated by the Chippewa Valley Museum. The picturesque brick home was build by the children’s grandparents, Herman and Augusta Schlegelmilch, in 1871, and is still open for tours and events.

Learn more about the house – and the Chippewa Valley Museum archives, from which this photo was taken – at

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