Verona‘s nickname was coined in 1966 since it was chosen by a detachment of men fighting in Vietnam as “the perfect example of Hometown, U.S.A.” It was originally a Native American settlement, it was ceded to the US government between 1829-32. It 1844 had a mill called Badger Mill, the first in Dane county. It was named after Verona, NY by some settlers from there. It was incorporated into a city on April 18, 1978. Today Verona is a vibrant community of over 10,000 a short distance south of Madison.
What first caught our eyes on the way was this covered bridge. It is located here.
The Ice Age Trail runs through this part of Verona and you can pick it up here. The trail is essentially following the edge of the glacier boundaries when it was in Wisconsin thousands of years ago.
Another trail running through Verona is the Military Ridge Trail. We stopped at the trailhead in Verona and also saw this historic marker.
For more information about Verona we stopped at their Chamber of Commerce downtown. We learned plenty from the friendly staff there.
One thing we learned was a large house near here is the oldest standing house in Verona. It was the Josiah H. B. Matt’s home, built in 1848.
The building is for sale and also needs to be moved. It is the first brick house built in Verona, and the last remaining original building left.
The house was not sold or moved, thank goodness. The latest plan is to restore the home and open it as a museum. Many funds need to be raised first before this is done. Read here the plan to make this dream come true!
The Matts House is now in the process of being restored. We attended at meeting in town about the house, presented by the Verona Historical Society. You can watch the meeting and slide show below. The picture I took is at 13:46. It is now part of Verona’s historical archives.
This is the house now, looking good!
Downtown yielded another historic building, The Auditorium. Now its Cahoots Bar. This was once a stagecoach stop and many performances were held there, hence the nickname “Auditorium”.
You might call this grocery store in Verona historic also, Miller & Sons Supermarket. It has been in the same spot for 112 years, it has expanded larger more than once! A real nice store with 5 generations of the same family passing the torch. They also have a 2nd store in Mt. Horeb.
In this same block are two other stores, Hometown Pharmacy and Greg’s Card Locker.
Our other favorite businesses in Verona, besides Miller’s, is The Sow’s Ear. The Sows Ear is a combination of a café and knitters’ yarn shop. My friends who knit love the place. It has been in Verona for 14 years. Stop in, even if you don’t knit.
We enjoyed a wonderful lunch on today’s visit at Pasqual’s Cantina, great Mexican food in a new restaurant at the north edge of town.
These businesses are located in the heart of downtown Verona, and so is the Hometown Junction shelter, a shelter right on the Military Ridge Trail. A Veteran’s Memorial is also here.
Make yourself at home in Verona, Hometown U.S.A.!