display his rare collection
Historical Society exhibit
(November 2005) Bob Wolfschlag, owner of Wolfschlag
Construction in Madison, Ind., claims he retired three years ago, but
youll still see him on the construction site. Wolfschlag and his
crew most recently completed a restoration of the Madison Train Depot,
which had suffered extensive termite damage. In 1975, Wolfschlag completed
the depots first major renovation as one of his first projects.
by Levi King
collected fossils from many
areas around the world.
Wolfschlag started out as a house painter, then was hired
by area contractor Jim Gabhart, who taught him carpentry. After several
years with Gabhart, Wolfschlag started his own construction company.
Wolfschlag Construction took on its first project 30 years ago, a restoration
of the Bright House on Third Street. It took three years to complete
with a crew of four. The project led to more restorations, including
the depot, many of downtown Madisons historic houses and Fern
Haven in Milton, Ky.
The jobs have ranged from minor repairs, such as replacing a window
or sheet of drywall, to complete restorations.
When I first walked into Fern Haven, which is three stories, I
could stand in the basement, look straight up and see the sky,
said Wolfschlag, 61. Today, the historic home looms proudly over Hwy.
Having worked in many of the areas oldest homes, Wolfschlag has
had his share of spooky encounters. I never believed in ghosts,
but after some of the things Ive seen I certainly do think a house
can be haunted, he said. From repairing the damage of unexplained
fires, to insulating a room that refused to stay heated and finding
tools inexplicably moved, Wolfschlag has plenty of stories fit for a
dark and rainy night.
Wolfschlag has always made time for his hobbies, as well. Since Gabhart,
a fossil enthusiast, turned Wolfschlag onto rock collecting many years
ago, Wolfschlag has built an extensive collection of fossils, crystals,
minerals, shells and stone tools. You never know what Bobs
going to come up with, Gabhart said. Hes a real rock
An avid traveler, Wolfschlag said he has always set aside eight to 12
weeks a year to travel. On these voyages, Wolfschlag often adds to his
collection. Ive picked up things all over the world,
Much of his collection will go on display at the Jefferson County Historical
Societys Heritage Center this month. The exhibit, which combines
pieces from local collectors Wolfschlag, Gabhart and John Zubaty, and
Hanover College, kicks off Nov. 25 in conjunction with the Nights Before
Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes and continues through Oct. 31, 2006.
by Levi King
that are among
Bob Wolfschlag's collection.
Visitors can view Wolfschlags blue coral from the
Great Barrier Reef, fossilized shark teeth and prehistoric fish skeletons
from China, mollusk fossils from Africa, amethyst crystals and geodes
from Brazil, mastodon teeth, petrified wood, and prehistoric sheep fossils
from North America.
Wolfschlag also boasts a variety of arrowheads, axes, scrapers, and
other stone tools, many of which he found personally in the area. I
used to go out a lot and walk along the fields or river bottoms after
a big rain, he said.
As a young man, Wolfschlag raced stock cars at North Vernons Twin
Cities Raceway, the Louisville Speedway and the Tri-County Speedway
in Cincinnati. I love to drive fast cars, Wolfschlag said.
Hes also restored a 1955 Studebaker truck and a 1952 Oldsmobile
convertible. His 1991 corvette has only 8,000 miles on it and hasnt
left the garage in seven years. I only get it out on very special
occasions, he joked.
In the mid 1990s, Wolfschlag owned a tunnel hull SST-100 racing boat,
which topped out at 100 mph. Wolfschlag had a driver race the boat for
him, but had plenty of time behind the wheel on the Ohio.
by Levi King
coral can also be found
in Bob Wolfschlag's collection.
Since selling the boat, Wolfschlag has become more involved
with the Miss Madison hydroplane, and currently serves on the boats
board of directors. Its just one of many civic positions Wolfschlag
He is the president of the Board of Directors at the Madison Convention
and Visitors Bureau, a member of the Jefferson County Tourism Board,
chairman of the Buildings and Grounds Committee at Prince of Peace Parish,
secretary-treasurer of the Venture Out Business Center, president of
the Madison Cable Advisory Board and a member of the Jefferson County
Historical Society Board of Directors.
I could very easily be a couch potato, but I stay busy,
Wolfschlag said. I like to feel like I have some say in how things
are carried out in the community.
Last year, the Historical Society awarded Wolfschlag with its Lifetime
Achievement Award for his service.
For more information on the Jefferson County
Historical Society or the rock show, call (812) 265-2335.
Back to November 2005