Sparta Historical Society announces benefit gala to celebrate its 20th anniversary

SPARTA. The theme of this year’s gala is ‘Shining the Light on Sparta’s History.’

Sparta /
| 05 Aug 2022 | 04:55

Come to Perona Farm’s The Barn on 70 Perona Road in Andover during the Sparta Historical Society’s “Shining the Light on History” celebration on Wednesday, September 14. This dining experience, consisting of multiple tables of gourmet hors d’oeuvres and dessert, runs from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Reservations are $75 per person and it is a cash bar. Attendees are invited to come in their favorite night out attire.

Founded in 2002 by Marjorie Strohsahl and Ed Fritsch, along with a small group of charter members, the Sparta Historical Society began to provide the Sparta area with educational lectures and seasonal trips to historic sites. As the fledgling group grew, it began to look for an historic property in Sparta to preserve.

Then, in 1996, the Sparta Board of Education purchased the Mohawk Dairy and Van Kirk Homestead to build a middle school. The Homestead that had been occupied by the Van Kirk family for over 200 years remained after the school’s construction. Even though it was in disrepair, the house and grounds provided an opportunity for the society to fulfill its vision. The Homestead was initially leased and ultimately purchased in November 2013. Major repairs followed, including a new roof, furnace, and septic system.

Work on the interior began in May 2014. Working daily, volunteers were hoping to open the house by September. Their efforts paid off. Drop-in visitors noticing activity offered encouragement as well as wonderful treasures tucked away in attics that could fulfill the educational story behind the Homestead, Sparta, and the region. The house opened in September 2014 to an enthusiastic audience.

“Wow...we had no idea! This is a great little museum,” was frequently heard and appreciated.

Contact Sparta Historical Society if interested in participating in a gala sponsorship opportunity at 973-726-0883 or at for more information, or to make reservations for the gala. Reservations must be made by August 31.

The gala is the society’s major annual fundraiser to benefit the continuing preservation and restoration of the Van Kirk Homestead property. This property, originally settled in 1780 by the Van Kirk family and operated as a prominent dairy farm, features a milk house, wagon barn and a small garage. The main residence houses Sparta’s only museum which fulfills the society’s mission and vision by providing changing exhibits for the community.

The Sparta Historical Society is located at The Van Kirk Homestead Museum at 336 Main Street (Rte. 517, use Middle School Driveway), Sparta. Visit for more information. The Museum is open on the second and fourth Sundays of the month.

The new fall exhibit from the Noyes Museum of Art starts Sunday, September 11, and continues through Sunday, December 11th. During August, three exhibits will be spotlighted, along with musical guest Whiskey Crossing, who will perform on August 28. For details or group reservations call 973-726-0883 or email