Sunday, June 26, 2016

Taking A Sunday Drive #34

In addition to sharing a bit of border in Northeast Iowa, Wisconsin and Iowa share a descriptive name for that location - the Driftless Area - regions of deep canyons and high bluffs - areas where moving glaciers did not flatten out the land. The view from the top of Mt. Hosmer Park in Lansing, IA with the Mississippi River spread out below is one of my favorites of this area.

Many, many years ago there was a billboard west of Creston near the Chicken Inn which advertised Wisconsin's House on the Rock as a vacation destination. For some reason I formed a "wouldn't want to go to that tourist trap" mentality toward it and never ever thought I would go there. Then sometime in the late 90's my Aunt Leona visited it with her son, Don, and his wife, Judy. Aunt Leona loved it. "Have you ever been there?" "No." "Well, you should go. It is fantastic."

So, when Bud and I planned a long weekend in that area of Wisconsin, the House on the Rock was our first destination. Mineral Point would be our base as we toured around the area. I took about three rolls of film that trip. It wasn't easy to pare those pictures down to just a few.

There is really no way to describe the House on the Rock or its many treasures. It must be seen. This ''world's largest carousel" is gorgeous. Notice that it is built on sloping rock. Much of the house on the rock IS built on rocks - on and around Deer Shelter Rock.

Just a few of my favorites things:

Bronze statue.

Lamp, figurine and a wall of fans.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

One of the many giant flower planters at the entrance.

The outside grounds were beautiful.

After we left we drove down the road to an overlook so I could take this photo back across the valley.
Bud walked out on that cantilevered portion to a glass floor where you could look down, down, down. I started to, but when I felt the whole thing shake, I had to go back and sit down because I was shaking, too!

I followed a nature trail at that same overlook until I noticed this huge wasp nest in the trees. Even though I didn't see any wasps, I wasn't about to take a chance!

We drove to the entrance of Taliesin - Frank Lloyd Wright's house near Spring Green and the Wisconsin River - but did not tour the house. (We had toured Cedar Rock, one of his house designs on the Wapsipinicon River near Quasqueton, Iowa, on the way to Wisconsin.)

Another, closer view of the house. It is said that Alex Jordan, Jr. designed his House on the Rock to "teach Frank Lloyd Wright a thing or two about architecture." (Possibly in retaliation because Jordan's father had been dismissed from the Wright project several years earlier.)

I don't know how we found Hyde's Mill on Mill Creek between Spring Green and Ridgeway, but it was one of my favorite finds. The sign on the side of the building reads: "Hyde's Mill, Stone Dam Built 1850, Theodore Sawle." A google search turns up a resident of Ridgeway by that name who died in 2009 at almost 104 years of age. It does not say if he was once the operator of Hyde's Mill or just the person responsible for posting the signage.

A display of mill stones near the mill.

Blacksmith shop in the same area.

Back to our base in Mineral Point and ready for more exploring. Pendarvis was the name of the community of Cornish lead miners in early 19th Century Wisconsin. The miners built many stone cottages similar to the ones they had left in England.

As well as ones built from logs like these preserved on Shake Rag Street. We did tour these as well as the stone Pendarvis House and Trelawny House. In the interest of cutting down the number of photos, I have not shown the many interior shots I took during the tours.

A familiar name among the shops in Shake Rag Alley - Ridnour's Antiques. A visit with the owner did not turn up any mutual ancestors.
The shop next door was a tea room where I had the most delicious strawberry cream cake with my tea. Years later and I still remember its marvelous taste and texture.

We did the self-guided tour of the hillside where the Merry Christmas Hill Mine was located and where some of the mining equipment is still displayed.

Most of the site has been restored to native prairie with paths cut throughout.

It was here we learned that the nickname for Wisconsin, The Badger State, came not from the animal but from the miners who were too busy mining to build houses and resorted to living in abandoned mine shafts or digging makeshift burrows for shelter - not unlike badgers.

Orchard Lawn Mansion as seen from the gazebo. This is now home of the Mineral Point, WI Historical Society.

With my love of pottery, discovering the Brewery Pottery Studio in these old brewery buildings was possibly my favorite place of the whole weekend.

Seeing this table of pottery from their website reminds me that this must be where I purchased my favorite flower frog.

Now that I have been reminded, I hope I will remember that I got it at this very special pottery studio.

Wisconsin is a state that I could go back to over and over - beautiful and chock full of history.

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