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
Demolition of the Ashland Ore Docks continues, when preservation should top the agenda
Work continues to raise the Ashland Ore Dock. It appears that the demolition crews are encountering one tough structure. These are two aerial photos taken by a friend of the docks this past week, showing you where the demolition stands.
The Canadian National Railroad (CNR) owns the dock and has decided to destroy it because it feels it to be unsafe and is worried about liabilities. The City Fathers of Ashland seem disinterested, insensitive to its historic importance, and, of course, shy of money to repair it and preserve it.
However, there are prominent people favoring its preservation.
National Trust Advisor Emeritus and architect George Haecker, whose family has summered on nearby Madeline Island since 1896, emphatically supports the effort to save the ore dock. “The ore dock is simply Ashland’s iconic heart and soul, and to see it being turned into rubble is devastating.” His firm, having worked on many historic renovation projects, including the homes of former U.S. Presidents Truman, Hoover, Clinton and Nebraska’s State Capitol, Haecker sees many positives of keeping the ore dock saved from the wrecking ball. “I was utterly dismayed last summer to see it being nibbled away at … it could certainly continue to serve as a powerful symbol of Ashland’s proud past.”
Bruce Lunde, Owner at Lunde Williams, LLC, of Madison, Wisconsin, and an acknowledged authority on maritime renovation and design, stated that losing the ore dock would forever change the waterfront landscape in Ashland. “The sad thing about the current state of demolition is that once this structure is gone, it is gone forever. The materials used in the design, the construction techniques used, and the resulting iconic structure can no longer be built the way it was then,” Lunde said. “Maybe since the local populace has been used to seeing it for so long they don’t realize the giant hole this will leave in the local fabric when it is gone. The Greatest of the Great Lakes is losing a valuable jewel and their civic identity.”
Bob Dahl, Chairman of the Apostle Islands Historic Preservation Conservancy, wrote to CNR and the Mayor of Ashland to encourage a win-win outcome, stating “we believe that financially and technically feasible alternatives are available.” Expressing what is the prevailing public sentiment, Dahl noted the ore dock is an “important part of the historic fabric of, and future promise for, the Apostle Islands region.”
To offer support or info: Jeff Peters, firstname.lastname@example.org; (715)-919-0489.
Go to our stories: Ashland's iron ore docks, a fascinating history … Ashland's iron ore docks being destroyed … Ashland's Historical Museum (51813)
Shullsburg, Wisconsin’s third oldest community
The City of Shullsburg, Lafayette County, dates as Wisconsin’s third oldest community, settled in 1827 largely by Irish prospectors. The community has done a lot to preserve its heritage. It is located in the far southwest of the state, very close to the Illinois border. The Water Street business district is now a National Historic Landmark, the result of careful restoration. While visiting, I thought I had stepped back in time, in a very uplifting way. The city hosts the Badger Mine & Museum, as it was part of a major lead mining effort in the region. April 17, 2013. Go to story.
The “Flying Dudleys” of Wausau, WWII
I want you to meet a special group of men, the four Dudley brothers of Wausau, Wisconsin, tagged by some as “The Flying Dudleys.” Left-to-right, Lauren Charles “Laurnie” Dudley, 20; Jefferson James “Jay” Dudley, 24; Richard David “Dick” Dudley, 18; and Robert Lee “Bob” Dudley, 22. It is unusual for four brothers serve in war at the same time, though it did happen. All four of these guys wanted to, and did. When we read and hear about the American warrior, we often ask the question, “How do we get such men and women? Where do they come from that they could do these things?” The answer lies with “the invisible obvious.” These men and women come from our families, from our neighborhoods, from our schools, from being with friends and colleagues. They are in many respects us, at our best. By Ed Marek, editor, March 26, 2013. Go to story.
Sheboygan, “Ready to welcome you since 1837”
Sheboygan Falls is inland, west of Sheboygan, “The Spirit on the Lake,” on he Sheboygan River. The River rises in eastern Fond du Lac County, and runs through Sheboygan, Calumet and Manitwoc Counties before returning to Sheboygan County and flowing to Lake Michigan. The town sees itself as a “Wisconsin Main Street” community, dedicated to the preservation of its historic structures. That is what caught my attention when I visited. Some 40 buildings have been rehabilitated and restored to the original late 1800s architecture. I photographed some of them. February 25, 2013. Go to story.
“Roman ruins” of Cascade, Wisconsin
Let’s have a little fun. While traveling through Sheboygan County, I came across the intersection of CH V and High View Road. For no real reason at all, I turned north on High View, traveled a few hundred feet, and came upon a dilapidated old farm complex that made me feel like I was walking through “Roman ruins.” It was exciting, and I have returned with the photography to try to figure out exactly what I saw. January 31, 2013. Go to story.
“Algoma State of Mind”
I have to confess right up front that I stole the title for this article from a record on You Tube, “Algoma State of Mind,” by The Crispy Brothers featuring DJ Swagz. That title struck me as right on the mark --- I’ve been to the town a few times and love it. It is a state of mind. There is something about this town that touched my spirit. Algoma is a small city of about 3,000 in Kewaunee County just south of Door County, east of Green Bay on Lake Michigan. The main highway through town is Hwy 42 which goes north to Sturgeon Bay and south to Kewaunee. I actually found a small home here I wish I could buy, right on the water, but financial issues have slowed me down. I’d live here in a heartbeat. January 27, 2013. Go to story.