All hands were on deck the other day as the Oconto Historical Society and area citizens welcomed its new carriage house annex with an open house. In the making over four years, the Historical Society entrusted Smet Construction Services to work through its needs and come up with a plan to execute for its new facility.
“It’s a fantastic day!” said, David Retzlaff, the Historical Society’s incoming president and project manager. “We’ve been working on this for over four years and today it is a reality!” The 6,000 SF building is the new home to several antique cars and carriages that Retzlaff has restored in his spare time. About four years ago when Retzlaff completed his fifth vehicle restoration, he knew the society was going to need additional space to properly store and show off the vehicles.
Thus, he came up with a basic plan for a building and worked with Smet to value-engineer and construct a building that would not only showcase the vehicles but serve as a gathering spot for community groups and tourism groups visiting the area.
The facility is complete with a commercial kitchen and a meeting area for receptions and community gatherings. A gift shop and restrooms round out the exhibit space and is perfect for bus tour groups and travelers who wish to stop and take in local history. The building is connected to the Beyer House which houses the historical society’s collection of area artifacts and historical items. One can get a real sense of what the Oconto area was like through the years just by spending a few hours in the Beyer House and the new carriage house.
Some of the items include and restored 1958 retractable Ford Fairlane convertible, two Studebakers, several carriages, and historical items from area fire departments. There is also an antique wooden boat which was an early model manufactured by the nearby Cruisers Yachts plant.
Smet Construction Services is proud to have participated with the Oconto Historical Society in the planning and execution of its new facility. Thanks to everyone on the project team for a successful effort that brought this project to fruition.
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