Mazomanie- Turn of the Century Railroad Town

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Mazomanie sign

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Our first big adventure this year took place in historic Mazomanie.  This is one of Wisconsin’s older villages,  platted in 1855 and was incorporated as a village in 1885.   Edward H. Brodhead, Chief Engineer of the Milwaukee and Mississippi Railroad, named the village. It is an Indian name meaning “Walking Iron”, a perfect name for the railroad town.

We began our day near the Depot and walked around in Promenade Park, a community gathering place for many events in the summer.  A city clock is there too. It’s across from the depot, the track is now for Canadian Pacific freight trains. The Depot is now the village library.

Mazomanie Depot and Clock

Next to the Depot is the former Power Station, now a museum.  The jail was also housed in this building.

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After exploring here we headed toward downtown, the American Flag flying  proudly.

Downtown Mazomanie

It looks like the turn of the last century. That’s because Mazo has 34 buildings on the Registry for Historic Places, a lot for a community of 1,600.  Not all the buildings are occupied at the moment, but soon may be with improvement in the economy.

Mazo also has the distinction of seeing the first circus performance by the Ringling Brothers. A plaque is on one of the buildings.

Ringling Brothers sign

Turn right on Crescent St. and you can see the former Town Hall and Carriage shop.

Former Mazomanie Town Hall

Mazomanie former Carriage Shop

It’s 11:00 and we had lunch at the wonderful Old Feed Mill.  It once was a flour mill and took care of the grinding needs for the community. They still do grind flour, but now it’s used to make bread from scratch at the restaurant.

The Old Feed Mill

Old Feed Mill front side

We actually were here about 9 AM, and owner Dan Viste posed for a picture with us, his wife Nancy (co-Owner) took the picture.  He talked to us for awhile about the history of the mill and the revitalization efforts downtown.  Thanks for your time Dan!

Dan Viste Feed Mill owner and us

He also told us about an exciting new venue for the Mill, Weddings!  Many have taken place the mill, but now they have a 2nd location called Sugarland. It’s huge, includes a large barn for receptions and a Southern  plantation-like home on the grounds.  Also a majestic old Oak tree that many ceremonies are held under.  Its in nearby Arena.

Sugarland book

We enjoyed a fantastic lunch here.  Al had Pot Roast, Mushroom and Barley soup and Raspberry Crisp for dessert.  I had Broccoli Cheese soup, Meatloaf and Carmel Chocolate cake.  Very delicious, and we had to take some home since we couldn’t finish it all 🙂

Old Feed Mill Collage

Just after we arrived, some other guests had arrived, but were having trouble getting up the ramp to the side door because of some melting water that was turning into ice (it was just above freezing).  Al went out and helped them.  We got a surprise as we prepared to pay our bill, the three ladies he helped covered our bill for lunch!  We tried to thank them but they were already gone, we found out right after they left.  We were happy to help them and that was very sweet 🙂

On our way out of town, we happened upon the base of operations for David Bicknase, pianist at The Edgewater Hotel (before closing for renovation).  He is giving piano lessons here in this historic building not on our list, the former Music Conservancy Hall building.

Piano Man Studio - David Bicknase

 

Mazomanie is a great place to visit with friendly people. They invite you to The Gandy Dancer Festival in August, honoring the long-standing railroad heritage of this proud community.  There is live music and fun for the kids. You may even see a train go by!

We were treated to a great shot of a train going right by the depot near the end of our visit. A fitting conclusion to a perfect day.

Train and Mazo Depot

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