West Bend – Geocaching Capitol of the Midwest

4-5-14 and 8-9-15

West Bend sign

West Bend is a vibrant community of 30,000  in Washington County that is quite beautiful and is quite active in the arts and recreation. It is also the county seat.  In fact, the city proudly proclaims themselves to be “Geocaching Capitol of the Midwest”™   We have not at this point taken up that activity, so we explored some of the other fine points of the city.  Just outside of the city we found a historic marker explaining an important fact about the rivers in the area.  In 2015 Al returned to West Bend to take a look at the new marker that was put up in 2014.  This marker is dedicated to their famous West Bend Aluminum Company. Just beyond the sign is the former West Bend building, converted into River Shores Point Luxury Condominiums.

Great Divide MarkerWest Bend Aluminum Company marker WM

West Bend River Shores Condominiums WM

Our first stop upon arrival was the former train depot.  Running next to it is The Eisenbahn State Trail which is 5  1/2 miles long. We saw many people using it that morning.

West Bend Depot

On a bench at the depot there were two cute frogs 🙂

West Bend frogs

The white building to the left of the depot is the new Museum of Wisconsin Art.  All of the art inside has been created by only Wisconsin artists.

Museum of Wisconsin Art

Just across the street is the Milwaukee River that once provided power to the community.  The river bends to the west here, hence the name  “West Bend”  was given the community. It was incorporated in 1885.

West Bend in Milwaukee River

After crossing the river on a bridge (behind this view, we explored their beautiful historic downtown.

West Bend downtown

West Bend downtown 2

The go-to outdoor store is Mountain Outfitters, they have equipment for a variety of sports for all seasons.

Mountain Outfitters

Candy Man and Theater

Also on North Main is  Candyman on Main and a two-screen movie theater, dating back to 1929.

After exploring downtown we headed up the hill to 320 S. 5th Ave to visit the historic Courthouse and Jail. It is the tall spire on the right.

West Bend Courthouse on right

West Bend Historic Courthouse

This beautiful courthouse is now a museum, the Washington County Historical Society has worked hard to make this a great place to visit.  We took about 90 minutes to tour the courthouse.  If you have enough time (45 minutes), you can also tour the equally impressive Jail to the left of the Courthouse.

West Bend historic jail

Here is a marker in front of the courthouse.

Court House Square

After our tour, we looked at the former house across the street from the court house, first owned by James Kneeland. It is now The Popular Inn.

The Poplar Inn-Freeland House

Kneeland House plaque

We really enjoyed our visit to West Bend and plan on returning again to tour the jail since we ran out of time. It was time to visit Port Washington!

Hot Website Links

* West Bend Chamber of Commerce

* City of West Bend

* Downtown West Bend

* Visit West Bend – A Living Masterpiece

* Museum of Wisconsin Art

* Washington County

4 thoughts on “West Bend – Geocaching Capitol of the Midwest

  1. Pingback: West Bend Court House Museum | Adventures in Travel

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