H.H. Bennett Studio in the Wisconsin Dells – A SESQUICENTENNIAL Celebration!


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H.H.Bennett Studio at Dells

H.H. Bennett Plaque at WI DellsOliver and Jean Dyer Reese plaque in the Dells

This was  a very special weekend at H.H. Bennett Studio, they were celebrating their 150th Anniversary and we had to be a part of it. It was our first time visiting and we were in for a treat! Admission is $7 for adults, but waived on this weekend. They always accept donations. There were costumed interpreters, even Ho-Chunk music and dancing since H.H. Bennett was kind to them and allowed him to photograph them. Just outside of the right-side building is a rotating picture display.

Bennett Studio Rotating Pictures at Dells

H.H. Bennett was a pioneer in photography, he invented the “snapper” in 1878. You no longer had to sit perfectly still for 5 minutes or more to get a portrait taken. He took pictures all over the Dells with his new technique. His most famous shot was his son Ashley jumping at Stand Rock. It took him 17 tries to get this shot. Bennett’s work helped bring people to the Dells and the tourism industry was born there!

Stand Rock Jump in Upper DellsAshley Jump at Stand Rock

Just before a Dells Boat Tour left the dock, Bennett would take a picture of the group in the boat and have the picture developed and printed by the time the group came back. It took A LOT longer to do the tour in the 1880’s, you had to help row the boat! Now it only takes two hours and the crew does all the work.

Photo by H.H. Bennett

Photo by H.H. Bennett

The tradition continues now, we got our picture taken just before the tour we did three days later.

Upper Dells Al and Laurie Kutil  6-17-15

We went inside, you could get many souveniers, including prints of Bennett’s famous photos.  The docents near the museum entrance greeted and welcomed us. We knew this was going to be fun! The studio continues to support the Ho-Chunk Nation by selling their jewelery and books.

Inside H.H. Bennett Studio at the Dells

Ho-Chunk Indian Jewelery at Bennet Studio.

I hear drums!  A couple of representatives of the Ho-Chunk are going to be performing some dance and song for the guests. Two talented children showed us what they have learned so far about their culture’s traditions.

There was much to see inside the museum, new displays and really liked how the older building showed how his studio probably originally looked. Also the history of cameras and what ordinary people used in times past, including myself!

Bennett’s descendants are still involved with the museum today. Betsy Grant, Bennett’s Great-Granddaughter, was on hand to tell us about his many accomplishments. It was great meeting you Betsy!

Bennett Legacy Lives OnBetsy Grant, H.H. Bennett Great-grandaughter

Bennett Legacy Lives onsign

3-D display using Bennett’s photos

Bennett Display at the Dells

Bennett Studio display

Stereo viewers, precursor to Viewmasters.

Stereo Viewers ar Bennett Studio in the Dells

The Bennett Studio, and displays inside.

H.H. Bennett Studio in dells

Bennet Studio Collage

I had my picture taken with H.H. Bennett himself  :)  Al wasn’t nearby at the time.

Selfie with H.H. Bennett at Bennett Studio

On the 2nd floor they showed 40 minutes of silent film that Miriam Bennett shot from the 1920’s through the 60’s. These excerpts are Broadway Street scenes from the 20’s, 50’s and some Ho-Chunk dancing. I added some music to the movies.

Miriam Bennett Films at Bennett Studio

We had a great time learning about this great Photographer. Nearby is the house where he lived, on 825 Oak Street. The season for visiting here is usually early May through late October.

H.H. Bennett House in the Dells 2

H.H. Bennett Original Studio in the Dells

Wonewoc -The Midpoint of the 400 Trail


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IMG_1968Downtown Wonewoc

Wonewoc is a small community of 816 people in Juneau county that plays an important role in the bicycling community by being the half-way point of the 400 State Trail.  The community was originally settled by Yankee colonists from New England. The name Wonewoc means “howling hills”. This is the “driftless area”, untouched by the glacier. George and Lucinda Willard settled here in 1851. The railroad helped build this community, it is no longer here though.

Lets begin by exploring downtown Wonewoc, most buildings are made of red brick here.  I also noticed nearly every storefront was occupied too, a good sign of a healthy economy.  The town keeps the residents informed of local events and supports their business with their Facebook page, Wonewoc Main Street Merchants.

Downtown Wonewoc

The first store on our left is Beyond Boundaries, LLC (formerly Talg’s Feed Mill, over 100 years old!). They rent canoes, kayaks and bikes. The Baraboo River flows through town a short distance from here and helped power early industry. Across the street from Beyond Boundaries is the Veterans Memorial.

Wonewoc Vets Memorial

The other business on this side of the block is Degner’s Corner Bar, also serving food.

Degner's Corner Bar in Wonewoc

We begin the 2nd block on the right side.

2nd Block of downtown Wonewoc

The side street is Washington Street, where we find the original City Hall building.

1916 City Hall building in Wonewoc

I even found a plaque recognizing all the people and organizations that helped re-vitalize downtown. Also a great mural.

Center Street Renovation in Wonewoc

Wonewoc mural

We come to the other end of the street and Old Blue’s Pizzeria and the Wonewoc Bakery. I stopped in the bakery and got 6 doughnuts, only $3.60 and very good!  The owners are very friendly and would love it if you stopped by. Here are their hours.

Wonewoc Bakery and Old Blues Pizzeria

Wonewoc Bakery insideWonewoc Bakery Hours

On the other side from here are:

 Blossoms and Bouquets FTD Florist, Britnics Café, The Mayer’s Off Ice, Center Street Coffee and Treats, The Silent Rooster, the Post office, and Bernie’s Wagon Wheel II.

Downtown Wonewoc 2nd block

As you see, a great many stores and restaurants.

Wonewoc was also home to noted Dode Fisk, gravestone monument located in Pine Eden Cemetery at the edge of town. He owned a circus and traveled the country.

Fisk Monument in Wonewoc

Now for the 400 trail. Just behind downtown is the trail, with a depot, restrooms and signage listing the downtown businesses. Hungry bikers will have plenty of options for refreshment at this convenient midpoint.

The 400 Trail in Wonewoc

Wonewoc sign on 400 Trail

Wonewoc History and Map sign

Our final destination here is the Canoe Landing. This used to be where the mills were located, powered by the Baraboo River. It is now called “The Lost District”, where Wonewoc Began.

Canoe Landing in Wonewoc

Wonowoc Lost District sign

That summarizes our visit to Wonewoc. We look forward to our return, perhaps at one of their many festivals.

Maple Bluff-A Village Within the City of Madison


6-12-15 and other visits

Maple Bluff Signtree city usaBird City Wisconsin sign

Incorporated as a village in 1931,  Maple Bluff is a community with beautiful homes and where the home of our state Governor is located. Learn more about Maple Bluff’s early history here.  Also about activities in the village in their newsletter. It is also a certified Tree AND Bird City too!

Governor's Mansion in Maple Bluff

In Maple Bluff is also the historic home of Robert M. LaFollette, still occupied today by a private citizen.  You can see more about his life at the State Historical Museum in downtown Madison.

Bob LaFollette house in Maple Bluff

For the golfers, the Maple Bluff Country Club. They also have an on-site restaurant.

IMG_1841

There are many beautiful parks too in this village. here are a few of them.

 John A. Johnson Memorial Park has a gazebo and disc golf course, and a water fountain.

John A. Johnson Memorial Park Plaque

 

John A. Johnson Memorial park in Maple Bluff

Neal H. Stoddard Park

Neal H. Stoddard Park in Maple Bluff

Beach Park

Beach Park in Maple Bluff

Also Maple Bluff Marina for boats and other water craft.

Maple Bluff Marina

Maple Bluff Marina

The houses here are pretty too, I especially like this pink stucco. A few more.

Maple Bluff pink house

Maple Bluff Houses

One of my favorite reasons for coming here is the beauty of the changing seasons. This is how it earned the designation of Tree City. Here are the trees in spring.

Spring in Maple Bluff

And autumn, my favorite!

Fall in Maple Bluff

Take a break in Maple Bluff,  fun in any season!

Water Sports off Maple Bluff Marina