McFarland is a village of 7800 just 8 miles south of Madison along the shore of Lake Waubesa. It was founded by William McFarland in 1856. We have been here many times, but never really explored this town in depth.
Before reaching downtown, exit 51 at Sigglekow Rd. for a great meal at the Green Lantern, a popular restaurant on Lake Waubesa for decades. You can even get there by water and dock on their long pier!
One thing we noticed is this town has an “old” and “new” downtown. The new is along highway 51, straight down from Madison.
To my left is the Maple Tree Supper Club, open for breakfast on Sundays also.
Across from here is the popular Babcock Park and campground. A historical marker is also in this park, for Stephen Babcock.
Highway 51 is also a Blue Star Memorial Highway, dedicated to all vets.
The “old” downtown is on Main Street, by the railroad track. Here we find the historic buildings and a brief history of McFarland.
Left of the sign was the McFarland House, now the McFarland House Cafè (closed on Sundays). It was the home of founder William T. McFarland.
We were going to have lunch here. Since they were closed, we went next door to Byrne’s McFarland Tavern. This historic building was built in 1895 and began as a convenience store and has even been a post office before becoming a tavern. Friendly folks and great food made us feel welcome here. You feel like you are a part of historic McFarland.
Another historic building across the street, the Ole S. Olson building from 1897. It was a convenience store and then a grocer later. Now it is McFarland Antiques.
3-7-16 The building was sold.
2017-now Lakestone Properties
Across the street is the Ed Reed Building from 1900. It had been a grocery store, meat market, and has been Spartan Pizza since 1974!
Now the most exciting reason for our visit, the historic John Larson House Museum, open for the first time after restoration this summer! They are open 1-4 on Sundays from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. This is a stained glass window inside the house at the stairway landing. We took a tour here and it was fascinating! We hope to come back for any special events they will have later in the year.
Across from the house is Arnold Larson Park, where many events are held in the summer.
We sure learned a lot in McFarland, but we are not through yet. We plan on returning August 10 to see their other museum, also open on Sundays. We only had time to see one today.