• New Behind-the-Scenes Tour Highlights 2024 Pendarvis Season

    For Immediate Release         

    Contact: Rebecca Werner


    May 17, 2024


    Click Here for Photo Gallery


    New Behind-the-Scenes Tour Highlights 2024 Pendarvis Season

    Opening May 30, preservation-rich Pendarvis offers an inside look into the life and times of this

    National Register of Historic Places site


    MINERAL POINT, Wis. -- The preservation story behind Pendarvis, a cluster of 1840s Cornish-built cottages saved by residents and life partners, Bob Neal and Edgar Hellum, just got a bit more intriguing with the addition of a new behind-the-scenes tour. The Wisconsin Historical Society site, open for the season from May 30 to Oct.13, will debut this new tour along with hosting daily tours from Thursday through Sunday, and welcoming back two perennial favorites, “Pride at Pendarvis” and “Pub Night”.


    The behind-the-scenes tour, offered June 21, July 28 and Aug. 16, reveals rooms and buildings usually off limits to visitors, and delves into the couple’s personal plans and private acquaintances that saved a handful of the city’s historic buildings and helped transform the fading 19th-century mining town into a thriving artistic community attracting visitors from near and far.

    “We’re pleased that we can offer more insight into the lives of these early preservation movers and shakers,” said Pendarvis Site Manager Bethany Brander. “Their foresight brought a new vision to the community, bringing national attention to the area and saving a piece of history from extinction.”

    Neal and Hellum, credited for recognizing each structure’s importance, personally renovated six of the historic stone and log cottages built by the Cornish miners. Opening Pendarvis House restaurant in 1935, the unique venue and Cornish pasty menu gained national attention, attracting the likes of Wisconsin native and renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Nobel Prize-winning author Sinclair Lewis and Duncan Hines. During its 35 years in business, it was named one of the top seven restaurants in the country by The Saturday Evening Post.

    Today, visitors can experience the home and learn about the area’s early history through 60-minute tours running Thursday-Sunday at 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. While visiting the site, guests can also hike Merry Christmas Mine Hill Trails and Prairie, the center of much of Mineral Point’s early mining activity. Ticket cost is $12 for adults and teens, $11 for seniors 65+, $8 for children ages 5-8 and free for children under five. Thetwo-hour behind-the-scenes tour, including a drink in Kiddleywink Pub, is $35 per person and reservations are required. Wisconsin Historical Society members receive free admission and a 10 percent discount on ticketed events. For further information, visit pendarvis.wisconsinhistory.org or click here.

    Upcoming Events:

    Behind-The-Scenes Tour – June 21, 2 to 4 p.m., July 28, 1 to 3 p.m. and 2 to 4 p.m., Aug. 13, 2 to 4 p.m.

    Go behind the scenes to learn more about this unique site and the fascinating lives of the men who first preserved it. This tour will focus on Bob and Edgar’s private life at Pendarvis. Learn about their relationship, their plans for Pendarvis, and their secret wealthy benefactor, Gordon McCormick. Discover their unrealized projects and view the private accommodations in this all-access tour. The tour will end with a viewing of special objects from the collection and a drink in Kiddleywink Pub. The cost is $35 per person.


    Pride at Pendarvis – July 28, 10 to 4 p.m.


    Celebrate Mineral Point Pride Weekend with a special day of activities on the grounds of Pendarvis, preserved by early LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs Bob Neal and Edgar Hellum. View a special traveling exhibit highlighting Wisconsin’s LGBTQ+ visionaries, We Will Always Be Here: Wisconsin's LGBTQ+ Historymakers. The event includes access to Martin Cabin, Kiddleywink Pub, and the Education Center which houses the traveling exhibit. Enhance your visit by signing up for General Admission Guided Tours or a rare behind-the-scenes tour offering access to spaces normally off limits. 


    Pub Night – Sept. 22, 6 to 10 p.m.

    Kick off Mineral Point’s Cornish Fest Weekend during Pub Night at Pendarvis!Enjoy traditional pub music by the Tooles in the Rowhouse, warm up by the fire in the Kiddleywink Pub, try your hand at Cornish pub games or gather outside for a bonfire. Drink tickets include beer, cider or root beer. Additional drinks are available for purchase and a food truck will be onsite for separate dinner purchases. Proceeds from Pub Night go to preserving and interpreting the beautiful buildings at Pendarvis Historic Site. The cost is $10 per person.

    About Pendarvis

    Pendarvis is one of the Wisconsin Historical Society’s 12 historic sites and museums. Tucked away in historic Mineral Point, the site celebrates the restoration and preservation efforts of life and business partners Robert Neal and Edgar Hellum. Their legacy includes the preservation of six historic stone and stone-and-log cottages which comprise Pendarvis today, built by Cornish immigrants in the 1840s during the Wisconsin Territory's lead-mining boom. Visitors can also explore the nearby Merry Christmas Mine Hill Trail & Prairie which still bears the signs of early mining activity. Visit pendarvishistoricsite.org or call (608) 987-2122 for more information and a list of upcoming events. Wisconsin Historical Society members receive free admission to this site during regular operating hours.

    About Wisconsin Historical Society

    The Wisconsin Historical Society, founded in 1846, ranks as one of the largest, most active and most diversified state historical societies in the nation. As both a state agency and a private membership organization, its mission is to help people connect to the past by collecting, preserving and sharing stories. The Wisconsin Historical Society serves millions of people every year through a wide range of sites, programs and services. For more information, visit www.wisconsinhistory.org.