Showing posts with the label Wisconsin

Paul Bunyan's Cook Shanty

A giant billboard enticed us to stop... or maybe it was that it was that we should have eaten hours before.

In the Great Northwoods of Wisconsin, in the town of Minocqua, is a tourist trap of a restaurant that lures hungry travelers off the highway with a giant cutout billboard and giant fiberglass figures: Paul Bunyan's Cook Shanty.

Giant fiberglass figures are a common art medium of the Great Northwoods 

Some view the figures as playground equipment... or maybe mountains to be conquered.

Sophia poses with Babe. I wonder if they have blue ox on the menu.

I pose with babe.

This sign said to pay as we enter. We paid as we left.

The dining room was mostly empty; as might be expected for late on a Sunday night.

The Lumberjack Feast provided both quality and quantity nourishment.

World's Largest Penny

In 1953, students at Arbor-Vitae School collected a million pennies to help build a hospital in their small northern Wisconsin town of Woodruff.  A monument in the form of a giant penny was placed in front of the school to commemorate the achievement.

The school and hospital have both since been replaced, but the monument remains -- on a corner in front of an assisted living facility.

The World's Largest Penny

Many coins are stuck to the penny with chewing gum


The town of Rhinelander, Wisconsin, is the home of the Hodag -- a mythical creature on which they blame most bad that happens. Hodags are everywhere!

Fred Smith's Wisconsin Concrete Park

When he retired in 1948, Lumberjack Fred Smith began creating unique folk art on his property in Worchester, Wisconsin. He spent the next 16 years of his life sculpting figures of concrete, rock, and glass -- many depicting people and life in his community.

Today, Fred's Wisconsin Concrete Park is a Price County park and a non-profit organization, Friends of Fred Smith, works to maintain and restore the sculptures.

As one who appreciates both art and strange, I enjoyed our visit to Fred's village of concrete people. I enjoyed trying to guess who the figures depicted and what might have provoked Fred to create each one. According to Fred, "Nobody knows why I made these sculptures, even me. This work just came to me naturally. I started one day in 1948 and have been doing a few a year ever since." Fred couldn't explain why he did it. I can't quite explain why I liked it. Art doesn't necessarily have to have a tacit reason. 

Go visit the Wisconsin Concrete Park.

Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame

Hayward, Wisconsin, hosts the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame hosts a yard filled with giant fiberglass fish. We failed to find a time that we could visit while the museum was open, so we had to settle for looking at giant fish on the other side of a chain-link fence.

I've not been big into fishing since I was in junior high school in Tennessee and Kentucky and was surrounded by opportunities for fishing. However, the next time I'm in Hayward, I want to visit this place to see their collection of fishing things.


12 year old Ben with a not-hall-of-fame-worthy catch in Clarksville, Tennessee