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
My daughters, their families and I have teamed up on what we call The Sunlight Project to raise money on Ellen’s behalf but also on behalf of the survivors, those now afflicted, and those who might become afflicted.
The project was formed in 2001. Since then it has raised $59,963. Please join with me to maintain and build the momentum. Click here or on the logo above to get more information and consider a donation.
You can donate right from that page. All money goes to the American Cancer Society. Thanks. Ed Marek, editor
Nelsonville - 155 strong plus or minus, a neat town, and the Tomorrow River!
I was in Nelsonville recently, which is just north of Amherst in eastern Portage County. I was searching for the Tomorrow RIver, which my kayak guide book said was lots of fun to paddle on because it was so narrow. This is a very small town, in the 2010 census numbering a population of 155. I really enjoyed my short stay in the town.This is the Rising Star Mill. It is one of the oldest in central Wisconsin and the last of its kind in Portage County. Built around 1860, it operated as a business until 1984. It sits right adjacent to the Tomorrow River, and offers a kayak put in point. The “downtown” is small, but t has a couple neat businesses. Go to County Photo Gallery, Portage County. (102413)
Kayak Wisconsin --- Lake Alexander, Merrill
Council Grounds State Park is located just on the western side of Merrill, about 30 miles above Wausau. I had my mind set on going north on the Wisconsin River up to Alexander Lake Access Access 2 so I could weave around the islands up there. Heading north, I generally stuck to the west side and then on the return snuck through a alley in grass cover, as you’ll see, between two islands to get into the channel on the east side of the river, and then back into Lake Alexander which, for reasons I will convey soon, pooped me out so much I had to land at a dock behind a home, hitch a ride to get my car, return and get me and my kayak out of there. Go to story. October 11, 2013
Kayak Wisconsin --- Half Moon Lake, Mosinee
The Mosinee Flowage is a most interesting area for a kayaker. Mosinee is just south of Wausau. This flowage is much larger than I thought. I spent this part of my visit to the area on the western part of Half Moon Lake, north of but part of the Mosinee Flowage, and Wisconsin River system, and “sailed” down a side river which was a dead end but lots of fun. September 16, 2013. Go to story.
Gooch’s A-One Bar & Grill, Boulder
My wife was trying to relive her youth when her family spent much of the summer over near Land O’Lakes and traveled through Boulder Junction. A stop her dad always made was at a place called Shrimp. Her memory of it was a little vague, but she recalled vividly that the interior was decorated with taxidermic animals from the north woods. Well, this was not much of a lead, but I am a great fan of brewskis, and I can sniff out a good place when I’m sniffing. We came across a place called Gooch’s A-1 Bar & Grill on CH M in Boulder Junction. She did not recognize the outside too well, but my sniffer caught a whiff of the place and I knew I had found it. So in we went, and sure enough there it was --- the place once known as Shrimp. I asked the lady in charge if I could take some photos and she was happy to let me do so. September 14, 2013. Go to story.
Manitowish Waters, quiet, peaceful, soft and subdued
The Chamber of Commerce for Manitowish Waters says it is the ideal spot to “get away from it all.” Manitowish Waters is up in western Vilas County deep in the Northwoods, not far from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The Chamber goes on to say, “Manitowish Waters is known for its quiet, less stressful surroundings perfect for a family vacation, reunion, romantic getaway, hunting or fishing excursion, or leisure day trip.” September 2, 2013. Go to story.
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.