Menomonee Falls Historical Society president Warren Granke jokingly congratulated the “newlyweds” at the group’s quarterly meeting on Sunday, July 31.

Jokingly because the two “newlywed” couples, Barb and Dave Held, and Karolyn and Russell Newman, have been married for nearly 35 years and 33 years, respectively.

The couples were at the meeting to help the society celebrate the 35th year of the Old Falls Village gazebo. The gazebo, which was built in 1980 by East High School industrial arts teacher Dean Christianson and his class, has been the site of many wedding pictures over its lifetime. The Helds were the first couple to have their wedding pictures taken there.

Barb Held said, “Doris Domann, who was the president of the historical society at the time, was my mom and dad’s neighbor. The gazebo had just been built, and she suggested that it would be a good place for wedding pictures.”

It turned out that Domann was right. Dave Held laughingly recalled that “it rained like heck and stopped right before picture time,” causing the flower girl to slip and fall and the bride to request a coat to be laid down for her to walk on. But the gazebo and historical society grounds turned out to be the perfect setting for the couple’s October wedding pictures.

Dave Held said, “It looked nice in the pictures because the fall leaves were down, and they were wet from the rain.”

The society’s photographer, Pat Lynch, was on hand on Sunday afternoon to take pictures of the Helds and Newmans, and historical society member Jill Schmidt said the “before-and-after” pictures will be displayed at the campus to celebrate the gazebo’s 35 years.

The photographs aren’t the only special items on display at Old Falls Village. The historical society is also commemorating the 50th year of its charter, and Schmidt said, “Our certificate is on display in the Public House, with an ‘Atta boy’ letter from Madison.”

To celebrate 50 years, board members also took the time on Sunday to present certificates of appreciation to several men and women who have served as historical society presidents. The ceremony had originally been scheduled to take place during Old Falls Village Days in June, but, unlike the Helds’ rainy wedding pictures 35 years ago, stormy weather forced the recognition to be postponed.

Before the board members and guests adjourned to enjoy a picnic on the Old Falls Village campus, Granke updated his audience on the historical society’s year so far. He said the recent Civil War re-enactment was one of the biggest the outdoor museum has ever hosted, and was enthusiastic about the possibility of a documentary filming at Old Falls Village next month.

The historical society’s 50th anniversary year is going well, and the future looks bright.

Granke said, “Jill says we’ve got to go another 50 years. I’ve got it on my calendar.”

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