POMMERSCHER VEREIN OF CENTRAL WISCONSIN LIBRARY AND MUSEUM
TOWN OF BERLIN CENTER
11248 BERLIN LANE, ATHENS, WI 54411
(ACROSS THE STREET FROM ST. PAUL'S LUTHERAN CHURCH - NAUGART)
TOWN OF BERLIN -MARATHON COUNTY
DuWayne H. Zamzow, Clerk
Town of Berlin
In the spring of the year, 2000, the Wausau School District found it necessary to close the doors of the Berlin Elementary School. It was more feasible and economic to transport the children to schools nearer to the City of Wausau. The location of the school is in the center of the Town of Berlin on the southwest corner of the intersection of Berlin Lane and Naugart Drive.
The Wausau School District used the building for storage and the grounds, basically, stood vacant. ln 2004, the Town of Berlin officials approached the Wausau School District for possible purchase of the building including the 40 acre plot on which it stood.
DuWayne Zamzow, Town Clerk, was authorized by the Town Board to make an inquiry and was appointed to act as the liaison, to discuss the possibilities of options to purchase. Zamzow met with Dr. Skurka, Superintendent of the Wausau District in March of 2004 to begin discussion. Dr. Skurka was very interested in the Town's concern and during the first meeting commented on how much he enjoyed and appreciated the Pommern Life radio programs that the Pommerscher Verein of Central Wisconsin had done during the year 2001 on BIG WRIG 1390.
Despite the many meetings and delays the decision became a reality in March of 2005. Zamzow presented a letter to the Wausau School District Board showing the Town's need and possibilities of what the building would be used for. Zamzow arranged for the Town to hire a restoration contractor to prepare an estimate of repair to make the building functional. Zamzow, then, was asked to make a presentation to the Wausau School Board. He reviewed the lay of the land including the flood plain areas and what possibilities there might or might not be for other uses. The presentation was positive and well received. Weeks later, the Town Board met with the Wausau School Board to review the various options. The first option presented by the Wausau School Board was to attain the building and 3.68 acres (parking lots adjacent to the building). The Town was interested in the clearing surrounding the school building (approximately an additional 6 acres) if the building was to serve its purpose as a community center. The Wausau School Board then hired an appraiser and presented a second option to purchase. They reviewed the other real estate possibilities and decided to sell the entire 40 acre parcel with the building to the Town of Berlin.
The Town mailed a meeting notice to all persons owning real estate in the town. The meeting was held on May 2, 2005 in the Berlin School. Zamzow, again, presented the option to purchase from the Wausau School District to the assembly of 99 taxpayers. Following a question and answer period a vote was taken as to how the Town would like the Town Board to proceed. It was a unanimous decision, without a dissenting vote, to go ahead and purchase the property as presented. The Town met with its attorney to draw up the deed and legal papers and the purchase was passed at the Wausau School District Annual Meeting on June 27, 2005, at a cost of $75,800.00!
The grounds included a wooded area with a nature trail in the former school forest, along with a ball diamond and playground equipment.
Restoration of the building began immediately and the entire structure was scrubbed and painted - all by volunteer work of the Town of Berlin residents and friends. The building has 6 class rooms, a full kitchen and a large gymnasium. Once the restoration was completed the Town opened the facility for rental. The Town used one room for its Board Room along with the adjoining offices. It was then, that the Pommerscher Verein rented one room for its library. By this time the PVCW had accumulated a host of articles, memorabilia, in-kind donations which were being held in member's homes. The Verein needed a "home" for these artifacts and items needing to be preserved. Two of the members, Thurs brothers, built and donated beautiful oak book shelving to house the many books that were accumulating. Laurel Hoffmann, volunteered to be the Verein Librarian and continues to catalog the many pieces that continue to be given to the PVCW. One of the many services being offered to the public is the great supply of genealogy records prepared by many volunteers with countless hours of research. This service is attracting a host of people, even those from out of state.
People are so very proud of their Pomeranian heritage that various donations have been and are being given to the Verein establishing a great display of history. By 2012, the library was bulging at the walls with an abundance of items donated for keepsake and historical purposes. It was then that the Verein rented a second room in the Berlin Center and, now, has a museum which also serves as the PVCW Board Room for its Board of Directors consisting of 24 members.
The Berlin Center rooms are all rented to include the Berlin-Hamburg Lions Club, the Naugart Knights 4-H Club and the 6th room is the Town's Poll Room for elections. The gym, known as the Naugart Room, is available for rental and is being used for a variety of functions. The grounds serve as a playground for children as well as adults for the entire community. It is on this property where the PVCW Pomeranian German Immigrant Marker was installed and is registered as a State of Wisconsin Historical site.