7-6 and 8, 2015 Portage County
An introduction to the Stevens Point area.
Stevens Point is the Portage County Seat, with a population of 26, 717 with a rich history in the logging industry in the 19th century. We stopped at Pfiffner Pioneer Park and found out why it’s called the “Gateway to the Pineries”. there is a marker there about that, as well as a marker dedicated to George Stevens, whom the city was named after.
There are other signs at this park describing the interesting history of Stevens Point. They even made pearls buttons!
The Riverfront Arts Center is in this park also. You can see the Pineries and Stevens marker in this view.
The view across the Wisconsin River shows the water tower and New Page Paper Mill company.
My husband lived here for one year while he went to college at the University of Wisconsin in 1980. Former Gov. Lee Dreyfus was inaugurated here on 1-1-79. He relates his experiences here when we last visited in 2001. It’s on that rock in front of the building.
Stevens Point is also home to a rather rare and unusual water feature, The Boy With a Leaking Boot. Here it is in operation.
Many of the early settlers in Stevens Point were Polish, and to honor that heritage, they have a statue of Casmir Pulaski.
At St. Peter Catholic Church, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla from Poland came to this church during its Centennial. Two years after this visit he was elected Pope John Paul II.
Stevens Point also has a sister city in Poland.
Stevens Point also pays homage to its railroad history, still very active. This is the depot with a train present.
Across the street is the Southside Railroad Complex, complete with steam engine and Soo caboose.
Funds are still being raised for continued renovations of the cars. Go to SOO2713.org to learn more. There will be an open house here on Sept. 19.
For those wishing to arrive in Stevens Point, the Municipal Airport is there to serve your needs.
Downtown is beautiful, having preserved many historic buildings still in use with many businesses. The Mathias Mitchell Public Square has been a gathering place for the community for over a century.
In the square is also a fountain, complete with a performance schedule.
Other features downtown, the former Opera House, “The Fox on Main” is currently vacant. Donations are being collected to refurbish this historic building.
The Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum can also be found on Main.
At the back of the Portage County Public Library parking lot is a marker, it was the site of the first public building in town.
All this exploring can make you hungry, and we had lunch at two top places. On July 6 we went to the Hilltop Pub and Grill on 4091 Main Street. What a beautiful building too! The food was also delicious, I had the beef brisket sandwich and Al had the Chicken Flippers from the appetizer menu. Yum!
On July 8 we went to Al’s Diner, tucked away in a residential neighborhood on 3324 Jefferson St. We felt welcome from the moment we walked in, and left as friends with the owner Gail Guzman. Also one of the local ladies were there and we chatted with her as well. We will be back next year on our return visit!
The menu, also the place mat!
We saw one final marker before our visit concluded, the Jordan Dam and Power Plant and marker at Jordan County Park. It is a little hard to find, is was hidden by a large bush in a circle turn-around area. It is on the right side of highway 66 as you leave town.
It was a great visit to Stevens Point , we are so glad we had a chance to look around!