“History’s Crossing Place”
Winneconne is a town of 2,383 in Winnebago County with an independent spirit going all the way back to July 21, 1967, when it SECEDED from the state of Wisconsin for a day. This flag was designed for this great event. The reason why this happened? Winneconne did not show up on the new state map of 1967, only an unnamed dot where it should have been. That made the president of the Chamber of Commerce, Vera Kitchen, VERY upset and set events into motion. The Article of Secession was issued on July 21, complete with this flag and toll booths set up on bridges and border crossing into the new Nation of Winneconne. Vera Kitchen’s position in the new nation was Prime Minister and the head of “Vera’s Kitchen Cabinet”. Their navy consisted of local boat owners amassing in the Wolf River, patrolling the waters for invaders. Gov. Warren Knowles they didn’t wish to fight such a mighty nation and entered into peace talks immediately. At 12:01 AM on July 22nd, the new nation was dissolved, Winneconne becoming a part Wisconsin again, with the promise of being put on the map again the next year. Winneconne still celebrates Sovereign State Days every year, the town’s biggest festival of the year. Read more here.
We could not make it to the festival this year, but knew we still could have a great time. The Chamber is located in the Municipal building, as well as the as the library. They had a cute mascot just outside the door. Dr. Alfred Winston, Dept. of Fun Science.
Armed with information and a warm welcome into town, we set off! Just behind the library is a large public pier, there are many here to accommodate visitors and residents alike. If you need repairs done on your pier or boat engine, Marine Systems can do that for you! The view is across the Wolf River and you can see the water historic water tower.
We turn left and see the famous Winneconne Bridge connecting both halves of the town.
We made our way to the Winneconne Bridge, this bridge is the only state highway bridge where it’s legal to fish. Enjoy these views, because we heard from a source that this bridge MAY be taken down and traffic rerouted. What you see here is the Fin ‘N’ Feather Showboats, a great restaurant that looks like a riverboat. They also give rides on a showboat docked on the other side of the restaurant. We had lunch here, and a great riverside view!
After lunch we explored downtown, we had fun talking to the locals. We learned the Arrowhead restaurant was owned by famed Vera Kitchen, she ran it for 24 years, selling it in 1972. We will eat there next time we visit!
We did return there for lunch in 2018. Good thing we did since it closed on August 27, 2019. The owner Jim Brooks was ready to retire. The sign is now at the museum in Marble Park.
We continued walking downtown, and stopped at this gas station.
We were lucky enough to run into Doris Esch, a member of the Winneconne Historical Society. She said one this site was the former Lakeview House. The historical museum complex was not open that day, but we could still look around. We thanked her and first stopped by Lake Winneconne Park after crossing the Winneconne Bridge.
Fishing is ubiquitous here.
We proceeded to our final stop, the museum complex at Arthur Marble Park. At this time, no train runs through town.
It was a great visit to Winneconne. We hope to come back year for their Sovereign Days festival next year.