Towns and Villages

Bloomington

Originally known as Tafton, the "Blooming Town" was named after the agricultural "blooming" that occurred in the area after a local blacksmith patented a device for sowing oats in 1867.

Taft's Mill Pottery

Highway 35, Downtown, (608) 994-2337
Built by D.W. Taft in 1852, this stone mill was once described as "the best equipped merchant and custom mill in the west." Now a pottery store. Open daily.

Blake's Prairie Fair

Website: www.blakesprairiefair.org

On Fairgrounds Road, north of Bloomington.
While visiting the fair in late July, sample the smoked meats and sausage at Bloomington Meats Processing or visit Taft's Mill Pottery.

Boscobel

When the railroad arrived in 1856, only two rugged loggers lived in the beautiful oak grove where the city now stands. They weren't alone for long. The railroad's arrival meant commerce, and Boscobel soon thrived. The concept of the Gideon Bible was born here.

Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Hall - 1860

102 May Street, (608) 375-5257.
(Political Beginnings)
The only remaining Civil War veterans hall in Wisconsin. Now a Civil War museum. Open during community festivals or by appointment.

Old Rock High School - 1898

207 Buchanan Street, (608) 375-5006.
(National Register of Historic Places)
Rehabilitated Romanesque Revival limestone school designed by Van Ryn and De Gelleke of Milwaukee. They were prominent architects who designed many Wisconsin schools, including the first Normal School (teachers college) in Platteville. Tours by appointment.

Boscobel Hotel - 1863

Wisconsin Avenue, (608) 375-4164.
(Religious Beginnings, National Register of Historic Places)
In 1898, two traveling salesmen met in Room 19 and conceived the idea of a "Traveler's Bible." They founded what is known today is the Gideons. Tours By appointment.

Railroad Depot - 1870s

800 Block Wisconsin Avenue, (608)375-2672 or (608) 375-5741.
(Museums and Recreation)
The restored depot is under development as a museum. You can read the historical marker and walk along the railroad parkway.

Wilson State Tree Nursery

Highway 133, 1 Mile East of Boscobel, (608) 375-4123.
The nursery is the largest of its kind in the state. Tours are available.

Cassville

Overlooking the Mississippi In the 1830s, Cassville was a bustling river town which tried unsuccessfully to become the first Territorial Capital. The Town was maned after Lewis Cass, Governor of the Michigan Territory, which then included Wisconsin.

Car Ferry

Prime Street, Next to Riverside Park, (608) 725-5180.
(Admission Fee)
Cross the Mississippi River by car ferry on the historic ferry route traveled by Nelson Dewey in 1836. Nelson Dewey would become Wisconsin's first governor in 1848. Ferry runs May-Oct. (Call for hours of operation - answering machine provides 24 hour information)

Stonefield Historic Site

North of Cassville on Great River Road, County V V, (608) 725-5210.
(Agricultural Beginnings, Museums and Recreation, Admission Fee)
This open-air museum depicts a turn-of-the-century farming community where you can learn how to make brooms, visit with shopkeepers, eat ice cream and stroll through the village park. Hundreds of antique farm implements are in the State Agricultural museum. Owned and operated by State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Open daily Memorial Week-end - Early Oct.

Nelson Dewey Home Site

North of Cassville on Great River Road, County V V.
(Political Beginnings, National Register of Historic Places)
Costumed guides lead you through the reconstructed home of Wisconsin's first state governor, elected in 1848. Hear the stories of his life and time. Open daily Memorial Week-end - early Oct.

Nelson Dewey State Park

North of Cassville on Great River Road, County V V, (608) 725-5374.
(Political Beginnings, Admission Fee)
Features a breath taking bluff top view of the Mississippi River. See Indian mounds, watch eagles in fall and winter, and walk through native prairie. Camp, hike and picnic. Showers.

For general tourism information about Cassville call (608) 725-5855.

Cuba City

Parade of Presidents

Main Street.
View the images of past presidents along Cuba City's main street.

Dickeyville

This agricultural community was founded in the late 1840s, by a settler named Dickey.

Dickeyville Grotto - 1925-1930

Highway 61 North, Group Tours Call (608) 568-3119.
(Religious Beginnings)
A religious and patriotic wonder made of stone, mortar and millions of pieces of colored glass, gems, stalactites and more, built by Father Matthias Wernerus, a Catholic Priest. Open year-round.

For general tourism information about Dickeyville call (608) 568-3333.

Fennimore

The story goes that Fennimore was named after John Fennimore, a farmer who settled near the Old Military Road leading to Prairie du Chien. He mysteriously disappeared during the Black Hawk War, never to be seen again.

Fennimore Doll & Toy Museum

1104 Lincoln Avenue, (608) 822-4100 or 1-800-822-1131.
(Museums and Recreation, Admission Fee)
Enjoy reliving the past as you meander through this collection of dolls and puppets, tractors, circus memorabilia, pedal cars and more. A special family outing for all.

Fennimore Railroad Museum

610 Lincoln Avenue, (608) 822-6319.
(Museums and Recreation)
A shiny black, 1907 Davenport 2-6-0 narrow gauge steam engine in front of the museum honors the "Dinky," a train line which ran between Fennimore and Woodman. The museum features train memorabilia and a miniature train available for rides on scheduled days. Open daily 10AM - 4PM, Memorial Day - Labor Day; Week-ends only Sept.-Oct. or by appointment.

Dwight T. Parker Library - 1923

925 Lincoln Avenue.
(National Register of Historic Places)
The library was designed by Claude and Starck, Madison architects who were noted for their Prairie Style architecture.

Glen Haven

Eagle Habitat
Between Glen Haven and Cassville.
A large population of eagles make Grant County their year-round home. The winter months provide the ideal time for observing eagles between Glen Haven and Cassville. The wooded Mississippi River bluffs, open water, and public lands in this area provide ideal habitat for eagles, as well as other wildlife and plant species.

Hazel Green

In the 1820s, a feud over possession of a lead mine between James Hardy and Moses Meeker gave this site its name of "Hardy's Scrape." Despite Hardy's victory, the town's name later became Hard Scrabble. The name of Hazel Green was adopted when the town incorporated in 1838.

Point of Beginnings Historical Marker

Highway 80, South of Hazel Green.
(Political Beginnings) Lucius Lyons began the land survey of Wisconsin near here in 1832.

Historic Downtown Hazel Green

Highway 80.
Look for the Wisconsin House - 1846, a former stagecoach stop, the Simison brick building-1847 and 1853, and the Opera House/Town Hall - 1898.

Kieler

Fenley Recreation Area

West of Kieler on Bluff Hollow Road.
Undeveloped recreation ares. Hiking trails, bird watching, and scenic overlook at the Mississippi. Located in close proximity to the ghost town of Sinnippi.

Lancaster

Lead prospectors were here in 1828, but the real prize would be found later in the cultivating of the fertile prairie soil. Major G.M. Price, a land speculator, platted the town in 1837. He was persuaded to name it Lancaster by a homesick relative who emigrated from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Grant County Courthouse - 1905 / Civil War Monument - 1867

130 West Maple Street.
(Political Beginnings, National Register of Historic Places)
The courthouse's octagonal copper and glass dome sparkles over downtown Lancaster. Open during business hours. Self tour information available. The first Civil War monument ever erected in Wisconsin stands on the northeast corner of the square.

Grave Site of Governor Nelson Dewey

South Jefferson Street.
(Political Beginnings)
Learn about the tragic life of Wisconsin's first governor from the marker at his modest grave site.

Cunningham Museum

129 East Maple Street, (608) 723-2287 or (608) 723-4925.
(Museums and Recreation)
African-American historic exhibits and a remnant of the original oak survey marker from the Point of Beginning. Open Monday-Saturday afternoons or by appointment.

Pleasant Ridge Cemetery - 1860s

Slabtown Road, 5 Miles West of Lancaster.
(Religious Beginnings)
See the Tombstones of the Shepard and Green families in this scenic ridge top cemetery located near their former farmland. Historical marker. (Also see display at Cunningham Museum). This area was one of the first African-American settlements in Wisconsin.

Grant County Fair Grounds

County Road A (Elm Street), (608) 723-2135.
The Grant County Fair Grounds is the site of numerous activities, including the Grant County Fair, and the Wisconsin High School Regional Rodeo.

University of Wisconsin Reasearch Station

Highway 81 and 35, West of Lancaster, (608) 723-2580.
(Agricultural Beginnings)
Tours are available.

For general tourism information about Lancaster call (608) 723-2820.

Livingston

Rural Route One Popcorn

Rural Livingston, (608) 943-8283.
Popcorn is grown and packaged at rural Livingston with the good earth all around. Visitors can buy popcorn in 2# bags or 25# bags, as well as microwave, and be delighted with caramel corn or white chocolate popcorn with almonds. Group tours by appointment.

Montfort

Rural Route 1 Popcorn Retail Store

Website: www.ruralroute1.com

101 Hwy 18 Montfort, 1-800-828-8115.
Visitors can buy a wide variety of popcorn flavors. Open daily.

Muscoda

In 1835, William S. Hamilton, founder of Wiota and Hamilton's diggings, built a lead smelter along the Wisconsin River near present day Victora Park. Although Hamilton was active in securing Wisconsin's territorial status, he eventually left to pursue California gold in 1849. Muscoda's business district moved from the river to its present location after the arrival of the railroad in 1856. Most of downtown Muscoda's buildings date to this post-railroad economic boom period.

Tanner Drug Store - 1898

139 North Wisconsin Avenue, (608) 739-3218.
This old fashioned working drug store has its original oak and white pine counters, and drawers full of herbs and other old-time remedies. Antiques.

Victorian Rose - 1897

323 South Wisconsin Avenue, (608) 739-3218.
(National Register of Historic Places)
Along the river, lumber baron John Young built this mansion of the finest virgin oak, bird's-eye maple and walnut. Antiques.

Spurgeon Vineyards and Winery

5 miles south of Muscoda on County Highway G to County Highway Q, Then 7 Miles East to Pine Tree Road, Turn North One and One-half miles, (608) 929-7692. Spurgeon Vineyards & Winery, 16008 Pinetree Rd., Highland, WI 53543. Free samples and tours year-round.

Ellis Nelson Sculptures

Muscoda, (608) 739-3067.
See scraps of iron and pieces of steel come to life in the form of animals, prehistoric dinosaurs and moving contraptions. Local welder Ellis Nelson had earned a reputation as a creative welder and artist.

Patch Grove

"Old Military Road" Historical Marker

Highway 18.
View the beautiful scenery.

Cheese Factory Tours

Platteville

Platteville began as Platte River Diggings in 1827. It is said that the Native Americans smelted lead and put it into "platts" or bowl-shaped masses which usually weighed about 70 pounds. Look for the world's largest "M" located east of town, at the top of the Platteville Mound. Constructed of limestone and measuring 214 feet by 241 feet, the letter represents the first Mining School in the United States. Platteville's newly renovated Main Street business district provides visitors easy access while maintaining the same picturesque, historic downtown feel.

Mitchell-Roundtree Stone Cottage - 1837

North East Corner of Jewett Street and Lancaster Street(Highway 81), (608) 348-2287.
(Geological Beginnings, Museums and Recreation, Political Beginnings)
A standout in the lead region, this limestone building is patterned after a distinctive Tidewater Virginia style. It contains original furnishings. Tours offered Memorial Day - Labor Day or by appointment.

Mining Museum and Rollo Jamison Museum

405 East Main Street, (608) 348-3301.
(Geological Beginnings, Museums and Recreation, Admission Fee)
Tour the 1845, Bevan's Lead Mine and ride the above-ground 1931, mine train. Experience turn-of-the-century life with exhibits of farming, business and homes located in historic school buildings. Mine tours are offered from May - Oct., or by appointment year- round. Changing exhibits are open November - April, M-F.

Roundtree Hall (Platteville Academy) - 1853

30 North Elm Street, (608) 348-3301.
(National Register of Historic Places)
Established in 1839, the Platteville Academy was one of the earliest educational institutions in Wisconsin. Students were taught to teach in the state's first "Normal School." The Academy eventually became the University of Wisconsin- Platteville. Now private apartments. Historical Marker.

Area Research Center (Wisconsin Room)

University of Wisconsin - Platteville, Basement of the Karrmann Library, (608) 342-1719.
The source of genealogical records, histories and archives for southwestern Wisconsin. Open Daily, Monday-Friday.

Ipswitch Prairie Natural Area

3 Miles South of Platteville on Ipswitch Road (Off of Highway 80).
See rattlesnake master, coreopsis, lead plant and other prairie plants at southwestern Wisconsin's last piece of mesic prairie. State owned.

Center for the Arts / University of Wisconsin - Platteville

University of Wisconsin - Platteville, (608) 342-1491.
Modern educational facility which traces its origins to 1866. In its early years it was prominent in mining engineering. UW-Platteville provides over 100 music performances,Shakespeare Festival, Summer Music Festival[(608)372-1298], art exhibits in the Harry Nohr Gallery, and hosts the Chicago Bears Summer Training Camp.

For general tourism information about Platteville call (608) 348-8888.

Potosi / Tennyson

Native Americans and the French were mining lead here as early as 1690. More than a century later, Willis St. John staked a rich claim at the bluff-top cave which still bears his name. The twin communities of Potosi and Tennyson grew up as rival mining villages, the called Snake Hollow and Dutch Hollow.

Holiday Gardens Event Center

Serving dinner daily and Sunday buffet. Schedule your next business meeting, conference, class reunion, wedding reception, or family event at the Holiday Gardens Event Center. The banquet hall has a seating capacity of 500. We can provide state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment for your conference or business meeting, or a perfect social setting for your wedding party or class reunion. Call 608-763-2822.

British Hollow Smelting Furnace

Take Highway 61, Turn East on Hippy Hollow Road One Mile North of Potosi.
(Geological Beginnings)
This smelter has a 200 foot underground chimney. It stands as the last of its kind in the lead region. Historical marker.

Grant River Recreation Area

Potosi Point.
The Corp of Engineers operates a campground on the Mississippi River. This entire area offers ideal bird watching opportunities.

For general tourism information about Potosi / Tennyson call (608) 763-2078.

Sinsinawa

Sinsinawa means "Home of the Young Eagle" in the language of the early Sioux native settlers. George Wallace Jones bought land here for a lead smelter in 1827, and sold it to Father Mazzuchelli. Mazzuchelli built a men's college here in 1846. He founded the Dominican Sisters in 1847. In 1865, the Dominicans founded a women's college and High School at the Sinsinawa Mound.

Sinsinawa Mound

County Highway Z, (608) 718-4411.
(Religious Beginnings, Museums and Recreation)
The Motherhouse of the Sinsinawa Dominicans sits upon an outcrop of Niagara Dolomite. The complex of buildings date from the 1840s to 1960s, and serves as a conference and educational center featuring a Mazzuchelli exhibit, the Queen of the Rosary Chapel, and a sustainable agriculture farm. Nature trails, gifts, books, bakery goods and crafts. Tours by appointment.

Wyalusing

Wyalusing is a Munsee-Delaware Indian term that means "Home of the Warrior." Wyalusing was once a bustling Mississippi River town of more than 600 people. It is now home to 12 year-round residents and hundreds of summer visitors.

Wyalusing State Park

County Highway C, (608) 996-2261.
(Geological Beginnings)
This large beautiful state park sits atop the Mississippi River bluffs, from which visitors can view the joining of the great Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers. This view was voted "Wisconsin's best scenic view" by WISCONSIN TRAILS readers. The park offers camping, hiking, canoeing, boating, fishing, swimming and nature study. It features Indian burial grounds and a marker commemorating the spot where Marquette and Joliet entered the Mississippi River on June 17, 1673. The park is also used as an outdoor education area for youth and adults.