About Jake MenghiniAugust Menghini was born in 1913. As a young boy, he picked up a whiskey jug ... empty, of course ... and it was the first of many items from the past that he collected and saved throughout his lifetime.He had a small log building on his property, which was filled with treasures.He wanted his things to be preserved for others to see in the future, so donated it all to the City.The building housing the museum today is located on the property of another historic Norway site, the former Odill pop factory. Work is underway to bring a historic sawmill to the museum grounds.
What’s Inside the Museum? Here’s a Preview!The museum hasa central area witha variety of itemsand photos fromNorway’s past.In its early years,the town thrivedon mining and logging. It wasa bustling town,with all the kindsof businessesyou’d expect toserve a growingpopulation.Some displaysare set up asbusinesses oroffices, and youcan see some of these in thephoto galleriesat left.There are also a lot of photos,documents, andthings like toolsof the various trades found inNorway’s earlyyears.
Some of the Displays at “The Jake”Hardware StoreAt left you will see a display of items you’d find in a hardware store in years gone by. Tools, household items, sporting goods, and other items can be spotted if you click on one of the small “thumbnail” photos below left, then use your mouse to “zoom” in on details in the larger view which appears above the four thumbnails. Can you identify all the objects you see? Come on into the museum for a closer look, and to learn more about these items!When you first come to the hardware store, you’re looking through the doorway into the display area.Click the second picture below to get a closer picture of the stove. Clicking the third will give you a better look at the old copper still. Yep, we must have had moonshiners in Norway. This probably came via mail order on the train from Chicago!The fourth picture is a closer look at an early washing machine. Click the picture to bring it up in the larger frame above, then point at details with your mouse and you’ll get a much larger view .. it’ll cover this text!Elementary SchoolAnother display is an elementary school room. The photo at left shows a copper or bronze sculpture that stood outside the old Central School, which was torn down in ???If you click on the second thumbnail below, you’ll be looking in the doorway to a room furnished with some of the things common in a bygone era. Those desks are REALLY small, but they sure looked big to kids arriving for their first day of school!The third picture shows the interior of the room in more detail. Remember blackboards and inkwells? This is sure to look familiar to those who attended McKinley School!The final photo in this group shows a teacher and student in clothing that’s another reminder of “how it used to be.”Norway’s school system has grown with the community, and none of the old buildings are still standing. Today, there’s a beautiful, modern campus on the site of the old high school and the East and West Grade schools.The football stadium, Ronberg Field, sits in a natural bowl south of the schools.Various Scenes Inside MuseumWe’ve got displays of various businesses, offices, and other places in old-time Norway. Here you’ll find an ice cream shop, a furniture display (undertakers and furniture stores werea common combination in years gone by), a dentist’s office, and the city jail.There are many other aspects of Norway’s small-town history and way of life to explore in our museum. We look forward to having you visit in person. We’ll be glad to show you around, answer questions, and make you feel welcome in our community!The Odill FarmhouseOur museum is located on the Odill family’s old farmstead, on US-2 at the west end of town. We’re restoring the old brick home, which also housed the Odill Pop Factory. These photos will show some of the work in progress, and some areas which look as though they’re ready for company.When you visit the museum, be sure to include time to see this wonderful old home.Norway IndustriesNorway owes its existence to the iron mining industry, but has been the home of a variety of other industries. Norway Needlecraft, which was housed in the old Lake School building in the third ward, made lingerie.There was a bowling pin factory in Vulcan, our “eastern suburb.” Northland Distributing was the supplier of a large chain of grocery stores in the upper midwest.LoDal, a national manufacturer of refuse handling equipment, got its start here, and is now located a few miles west, in Kingsford.St Vincent Log Homes, Inger-Teco, Asselin’s Creamery, Anderson Manufacturing, Norway Gravure, and a number of other businesses made products that were sold throughout the area, the US, and the world.