‘One stone at a time:’ Parks volunteer restores historic beer cellar

ROCKDALE, Wis. — Sometimes, history repeats itself. Others, it needs a little assistance. That’s where Dane County Parks volunteer Richard Moen comes in. For over a year, Moen has been working on restoring a beer cellar at CamRock County Park.

According to Moen, the cellar was built sometime around 1860 to support a thriving brewery in the area. The last recorded production from the cellar is listed as 1878, likely due to a temperance movement in the area.

“Somebody decided there was too much beer being consumed,” said Moen.

Since he started the restoration process, Moen has put in around 1,000 hours of work, a necessary effort, he says.

“I came by here last July and I could see that the five keystones at the top were hanging on by their toenails and just about ready to fall down and I said this has got to change,” he said.

The ongoing project aims to let more sunlight into the cellar entrance while uncovering old stone and fortifying what remains. Dane County Parks Interim Director Joleen Stinson says projects like these allow volunteers to pursue their interests, while adding value to the community.

“Our volunteers get to bring their own passion into the system,” said Stinson. “They really develop this sense of place.

But for Moen, the project is all about dedication and work ethic.

 “Labor of love doesn’t really apply to me,” he said. “It’s not a passion, I said I was going to do it so I’m doing it.

The cellar is not currently open to the public, but parks officials hope to open it for future special occasions and events like today’s.