Welcome to Wisconsin Central!

I take a lot of digital photos around Wisconsin that seem ordinary. When I get back to the office and study them, and research them, quite often, I am totally surprised by how interesting the stories associated with the photos are. I learn a great deal and share that learning with you.

I look for interesting stories that are seldom discussed in other media. This web site is meant to show you the state through my eyes and camera lens --- the people, the land, the culture. I’m high on Wisconsin, and because of states like this, I am high on America and Americans. I’m going to have fun and learn a lot at the same time.

Ed Marek, editor

“Sacrifice: Without Fear There Is No Courage”


It's that time of the year again sports fans. Yes, March Madness. And yes, American Cancer Society Relay for Life. I am again a member of the Sunlight Project for my late wife, Mary Ellen "Murphy" Marek, begun by my daughters. Please donate to my effort on behalf of the team.

Note bene: I am back in Wisconsin and have started taking new photos. Good to be back in the Badger state! (031715)

I have left Wisconsin, probably for a year, perhaps more, perhaps less. I still have many photos to upload and I’m working to reorganize some sections. I think you will benefit from these actions. I thank you for coming to Wisconsin Central. Wisconsin is a fabulous state. (110614)

Two country rides through Buffalo County


I have driven through Buffalo County in the west, along the Mississippi River, a few times, usually returning to Wausau from Minnesota. I enjoyed two fantastic rides that I wish to show you here. One was from Fountain City after crossing the bridge from Winona, the other from Nelson after crossing from Wabasha to the north northwest, both Wisconsin towns on the Mississippi. No matter how you go through Buffalo County, it will be a beautiful ride.

The entire county resides in what scientists call the Western Upland Geographic Province, also referred to as the Western Coulee and Ridges Ecological Landscape. The word “coulee” is often applied to different landforms which have valleys, deep ravines and drainage zones. It seemed to me these all apply to what I saw in Buffalo County. July 30, 2014.
Go to story

Blue Mound State Park, highest point in southern Wisconsin


I happened on Blue Mound State Park quite by accident as I was traveling through Iowa County. I was lucky, because I had spectacular weather on a mid-October day and quickly learned I was about to get a spectacular view from this hilltop perch. This is one view of Blue Mound from a park road. She rises to about 450 ft above what is known as Military Ridge. Blue Mound State Park lies right on the eastern border of Iowa County and western border of Dane County. May 15, 2014. Go to story.

Elk Mound - once a Native American lookout


“Elk Mound is one of the highest spots in Dunn County. Native Americans once used it as a look-out. In 1926, Paul Kreck erected a flagpole on the mound. Earl Hansen and Leon Cartwright, owners of farms north of the hill, built the first dirt road up the hill sometime after 1924. In 1934, rural letter carriers of Dunn County planted a tree on the top of the mound, and placed a plaque dedicated to the ‘deceased rural letter carriers of Dunn County.’ Soil taken from every carrier's route was placed around the tree. In 1937, the county, with Works Progress Administration aid, constructed an observation tower (the castle) about 25 feet in height. The stones came from the Downsville stone quarry, with additional stones and material from a dismantled livery stable in the Village. A dedication ceremony was held Friday, November 11, 1938 and a roll call of deceased Dunn County letter carriers was sealed in a granite marker.” April 30, 2014. Go to story.

Glorioso’s Italian Market, Milwaukee


During a recent, and my first, visit to Milwaukee I recalled I was running out of olive oil. Our regular grocery stores here in Wausau do not carry the good stuff in large cans --- I like bulk as I use so much, to cook just about everything. Then I learned about Glorioso’s Italian Market at 1011 East Brady Street. I’m a nut when it comes to a great deli. And this is a great deli. You can tell two things from across the street where you can park: it’s big, and the fragrances coming from it will bowl you over. I was overwhelmed with joy when I walked through the doors. Put me in a place like this and I’m worse than a little kid in a candy store. March 22, 2014. Go to story.

Berlin, delightful, splendid architecture, terrific history


Berlin is a delightful place to visit. Located along the Fox River in Green Lake County, it used to be a center for French fur traders and was long considered a fur and leather capital. It also hosted the first cranberry operations in the state. I was taken by the architecture of much of the town and homes. March 18, 2014. Go to story.

Niagara Escarpment --- all the way from New York to Wisconsin


In the eastern sector of Wisconsin, there are three major escarpments, the result of glacial sculpture and erosion. They are the Magenisan, Trenton and Niagara escarpments. The focus here is the Niagara Escarpment. An escarpment is a long, steep slope, especially at the edge of a plateau or separating acres of land at different heights. The Niagara Escarpment, marked in red, is a landform called a cuesta and it travels from Niagara Falls, New York in a semi circle westward through eastern Wisconsin. It runs predominantly east/west from New York State, through Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois. The escarpment is most famous as the cliff over which the Niagara River plunges at Niagara Falls, for which it is named. Go to story. (031714)

Grandfather Falls Hydro: A look at those leaking penstocks


Back in 2006, we visited the Grandfather Falls Recreation Area and hydroelectric facilities north of Merrill in Lincoln County and found them fascinating. We published an article about this area and its facilities, Grandfather Falls, it can be a wild stretch of river. Since then, Mark Lutz of Minneapolis, Minnesota, saw the main article and expressed a great interest in the penstocks, and provided us with some great background. While I was on my visit, I was mystified by the penstocks, especially how they leaked. Lutz has tipped me off to some good information on how these are built and why they leak. This is good stuff. “A look at those leaking penstocks.” Go to added story. (030314)