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George Warren and James Gamble

Photos of Warrens founders George Warren and James Gamble from the Warrens centennial book.

Warrens will kick off its Sesquicentennial Celebration at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15, with the dedication of a 150th Anniversary Commemorative Area adjacent to the Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center in downtown Warrens. The event is the first of several planned over the next several months, culminating during the Warrens Cranberry Festival.

Originally known as Warren Mills, Warrens was founded by George Warren and James Gamble, both of Fox Lake. The two men had previously built a sawmill at what was known as Watermill, southeast of Warrens. In 1868 when the West Wisconsin Railway laid its rails from Tomah to Black River Falls, Warren and Gamble set up a sawmill at present day Warrens.

The commemorative area will feature a sesquicentennial banner, a U.S. flag donated by Warrens VFW Post 5387 and a Wisconsin state flag provided by state Rep. Nancy VanVanderMeer, R-Tomah, who will read a proclamation signed by Gov. Scott Walker recognizing the village’s 150th anniversary.

State Senator Patrick Testin, R-Stevens Point, and Warrens village president Jason Krultz are also among the invited speakers, said mistress of ceremonies Nodji Van Wychen.

The Clovers and Cranberries 4-H Club will lead participants in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. U.S. Army Staff Sgt. David Moseley will sing The Star Spangled Banner, while the Warrens Singers, led by Gayle Sutherland, will perform America the Beautiful.

Representatives of the Warrens Lions Club, Cranberry Country Lioness, Town of Lincoln Fire Department, Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center, Warrens Area Youth Association, Warrens Cranberry Festival and the Warrens Area Business Association have also been asked to share the history of their respective organizations.

The chairpersons of the Warrens Sesquicentennial Celebration are Mickey Rezin, Kris Oakes and Stephanie Knoepker. They and other members of the planning committee have a series of events planned to mark the village’s 150th birthday. The main event will be held July 3-4 in conjunction with the annual Warrens Independence Day celebration.

Harkening back to the village’s origins, a professional logging show is one of the many activities planned for July 4. There will also be displays of old-time logging, sphagnum moss and cranberry equipment, a pie-eating contest and old-fashioned children’s games. For information on the other events being organized, see the Warrens: Celebrating 150 Years Facebook page.

Van Wychen encourages those coming to the May 15 dedication to bring a lawn chair with them. No seating will be provided.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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