Black River Falls – Deer Capitol of Wisconsin

Last Visit  – 7/25/04

10 years later….

9-15/16 – 14


Black River Falls means a lot to us, and it had been too long since our last visit. The last time here consisted of two scuba dives in mid-summer. This time we were here to explore the town and  discover more of the history of this friendly community.  It is located in Jackson county and is the county seat as well. Jackson County is cranberry country, and we went by many bogs as we traveled here after a brief stop in Wisconsin Rapids. Also saw a historic marker.

Branberry Culture marker in Jackson County

Jackson County is also home of the rare Karner Blue butterfly, and Black River Falls has a Karner Blue Festival every July. If you travel south Black River Falls on I-94 E, take exit 53 to see a historic marker on “Sphagnum Moss” and the Winnebago Indians (Ho-Chunk), the most prominent tribe in Central Wisconsin. Also a sign about the Karner Blue, it was badly damaged by water and hard to read. And a sign about “The Barrens”, describing the landscape of the area.

Sphagnum Moss Marker in Jackson CounttyWinnebago Indian marker in Jackson County

Barrens sign in Jackson County

Karner Blue sign in Millston


We reach Black River Falls as we continue up 94, you see the sign “Black River Crossing” (Oasis) and a view of the Best Western Arrowhead Lodge with a pond. You can take your picture with a big Orange Moose and mouse with cheese here (top photo). They are accessible from the parking lot at the oasis. Also a leaping deer.

Black River Crossing sign in Black river Falls

Arrowhead Lodge in Black River Falls


Another smaller moose leading to the hotel, where the Orange Moose Bar and Grill is.

Smaller Orage Moose in Black River Falls

In this area is also The Mocha Mouse, a coffee house that also has Wisconsin gifts to remember your visit here.

The Mocha Mouse in Black River Falls


We continue up the driveway and turn left, heading toward downtown. We go past the Pilot Flying J  Travel Plaza, another place we enjoyed stopping at in the past. Ten years ago they had their own restaurant called The Cookery, it has since been converted into a Denny’s. We used to enjoy a great buffet there back then. We didn’t eat there this time. We ate lunch at the Norske Nook in Osseo, a favorite of mine for over 25 years.  I introduced Al to this restaurant over 10 years ago and he loves it too!

Flying J in Black River Falls

Let’s head downtown to see the sights.

Black River Falls downtown sign

Let’s head downtown, crossing the Black River bridge, to our right is the dam, generating power for the community. It was completely rebuilt  by 2010.

Back River Falls Dam


Our visit downtown had many nice stores and the lamp poles had flower baskets hanging from them.

Black River Falls downtown

We turned right after crossing on the historic 1924 bridge and went to the Chamber of Commerce to get more publications on the area. The staff there are happy to answer your questions.

Black River Falls Chamber ofCommerce


Across from the Chamber is a monument marking the site of the sawmill near the power plant.

Sawmill Monument in Black River Falls

Sawmill plaque in Black River Falls

Back downtown was noticed how well kept the buildings are and there were even murals on the sides of many of the building walls. They profiled BRF early history. Here are a couple of them.

Black River Falls Dam Mural

Black River Falls Players theater mural

Our favorite place downtown was The Merchant General Store. You felt like you were walking into an 1800’s General Store.  It housed the original general store in 1912! We really had a lot of fun here looking around at candy we enjoyed as kids, also toys. Even a corner by the stove to play checkers, just like the old days. The basement level has antiques and more knickknacks. We got a vintage potato ricer and mug rack.  We recommend any visitor stop here 🙂

The Merchant General Store


Checkers Corner at The Merchant in Black River Falls

Other historic buildings downtown. This used to be Union High School, now an apartment building.

Former Union High School in Black River Falls

Former First National Bank building, now Rural Mutual Insurance.

Former First National Bank in Black River Falls

Mary J’s, an interesting building.

Mary J's Clothing building in Black River Falls

Moe’s Hardware Hank

Moe's Hardware in Black River Falls

It was getting late and we were tired, so we headed to where we were staying for the night, the Fall’s Motel. We had stayed there once before in 1999. In the morning we had a free breakfast there and it only cost $60 for the night.

Fall's Motel in Black River Falls

Our last stop before heading home, our favorite deep lake for scuba diving, Lake Wazee. A former quarry, it is the deepest inland lake in Wisconsin and even has a shallow beach at one end. We have dove as deep as 100 feet here, the max depth is 355 feet. Tech diver students from all around come here for training. Keith Cormican of the Wazee Sports Center has the certification to provide this training. We have known him since 2000, when we made our first dives here.

Wazee Sports Center in Black River Falls

lake Wazee in Black River Falls

This concludes our visit to Black River Falls, we enjoyed seeing the old sights and plan on coming back to dive next year after getting back in shape again. One last look at the Black River Crossing sign, we will be back orange Moose!


Greetings from Black River Falls



One thought on “Black River Falls – Deer Capitol of Wisconsin

  1. Pingback: Velkommen to Osseo! | Adventures in Travel

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