About Us

"We love Black Earth. Help us honor its past."

The Black Earth Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit local organization.
We are an all-volunteer crew; 
contact Wayne Barsness for volunteer opportunities.

Find us on Facebook

Like and follow our official page on Facebook for the latest updates. Page is searchable by topic. Administrator is Gary Ballweg, Historical Society board member.

public group

With over 1.1K members, join this active group on Facebook for the best in Black Earth nostalgia with lots of old photographs. Administrator is Gary Ballweg, Historical Society board member.

Black Earth Historical Society Board 2024

(l-r) Debbie Ballweg, Gary Ballweg, Lavonne Clason, Brenda Carlson, Jan Cowan, Shirley Williams, David Cooper, Wayne Barsness, Harold Miller, Bryan Poast (missing Jan Schroeder)

Terms & Years Served:
  • Gary Ballweg (2019 to present), David Cooper (2005 to present), Shirley Williams (1993 to present), Jan Schroeder (2001 to present); terms expire 2025 
  • Harold Miller (2012 to present), Jan Cowan (1997, 1999, 2004 to present), Lavonne Clason (2011 to present), Debbie Ballweg (2020 to present);  terms expire 2026
  • Wayne Barsness (2009 to present), Brenda Carlson (2020 to present), Bryan Poast (2024 to present); terms expire 2027
3-year terms
11 members, all volunteers
board meets monthly at the Black Earth History Center


below from left: Wayne Barsness, president; Harold Miller, vice-president; David Cooper, treasurer; Jan Cowan, secretary

Annual Meeting & Report

According to the Historical Society bylaws, an annual meeting will be held once a year. The public is invited to the meeting, typically held in early February. The Historical Society president delivers his annual message and report, plus a budget and board members are voted on at this short meeting typically followed by a free program. Past speakers have included Wisconsin Historical Society archaeologist Norman Meinholz on Native American artifacts found in our area (2024), David Mickelson on the Driftless Area glaciation (2023), Frank Wolf, local historian and book author (2022); Jennifer Rude Klett, World War I book author (2020); and Patrick Jung,  "The Battle of Wisconsin Heights" author (2019). Annual meetings are often heavily attended at the Black Earth History Center, thank you for your support.

Black Earth History Center

Monthly board meetings held at 6:30 usually the first Wednesday evening of the month at the Black Earth History Center. The public is welcome.

Early 1900s former Congregational Church, 
1022 Blue Mounds Street, Black Earth
Board meetings, annual meeting, research & community special events
Spring rummage sale fundraiser, Field Days open house, Santa open house