The Winchester Academy, located in Waupaca, Wisconsin, is a center for lifelong learning. It was inspired by the tradition of the Scandinavian Folk Academy. The Winchester Academy brings free programs to the community to stimulate participants to want to learn more about the topics. The Academy usually offers around 20 free public lectures each year, in three series - fall, winter-spring, and summer.
Winchester Academy Programs
The Winchester Academy of Waupaca presents a series of lectures throughout the year. Unless otherwise noted, programs are held in the downstairs meeting rooms of the Waupaca Area Public Library. Each presentation lasts approximately one hour and is followed by discussion and refreshments. There is no admission charge. Should a late cancellation be necessary, it will be announced on WDUX (fm 92.7). All programs begin at 6:30 P.M.
Waupaca annually attracts many historians, professional or amateur, who are seeking information about personal heritage, Native American history, Civil War events. The area’s rich and colorful history often can be found in documents at the Holly Center, 321 South Main Street. Local experts or the Center’s Executive Director, Tracy Behrendt, provide assistance as requested.
Waupaca County was officially established by an act of the legislature on February 17, 1851. Because it is located on the southern boundary of what was the great pine forest, the logging industry grew rapidly. The first sawmill was started in Mukwa in 1848 and that was soon followed by one in Weyauwega. Farming developed right on the heels of logging with the first field plowed in the town of Lind in 1849. Agriculture became an important part of the economy. In fact, the Waupaca County potato became well-known in the Chicago area for its excellent quality. Dairy farming also became an important part of Waupaca's economy. The economic base of Waupaca County was later diversified with the introduction of manufacturing.
The county seat was first established in Mukwa, but it soon moved to its present location of Waupaca. The move to Waupaca was not without difficulty. There was a great deal of conflict between Weyauwega and Waupaca about which community should be the county seat. This question was voted on a number of times. The results of these votes was in question because people from Waupaca found out that people from Weyauwega were stuffing the ballot box. After hearing that, it didn't take the people from Waupaca long to follow suit. Since they failed several times to get the county seat moved to Weyauwega, the residents of that town finally gave up. During the approximately five years it took to get the matter of the county seat settled, Waupaca County was divided into Eastern Waupaca County and Western Waupaca County. Each section had its own elected officials. The matter was finally decided by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, but even this took two tries to get the desired results because again people from Weyauwega tried to change the outcome. Even though the Supreme Court said that Waupaca should be the county seat, the lawyer from Weyauwega sent the Circuit Court judge a notice that he should hold court in Weyauwega, the judge sent the notice back to the lawyers and told them to go back to Madison and try the case again. This time the matter of the county seat was settled. It was Waupaca.