Rhinelander- Home of the Hodag

July 6 to 8, 2015

Rhinelander sign WMRhinelander Water Tower

Rhinelander is a city of almost 8,000 in Oneida Co. It’s also the county seat.  We have been wanting to come here for a long time, this gateway to the Northwoods of Wisconsin.  We also wanted to see the mythical creature, the Hodag.  It was “discovered” by Eugene Shepard in autumn of 1893. This is the famous picture that he used to prove it was real.  He showed the hodag at the first Oneida County fair in a dimly lit tent.  People were skeptical about this creature, but believed it just enough to run out of the tent screaming when Eugene made it move, marionette-style. The hodag is still part of Rhinelander mythos today, now turned from a scary monster to a cute mascot for the community.

hodag_capture in Rhinelander

The first place one should stop is the Chamber of Commerce, where you can take your picture with the Hodag and pick up area information. It is at 450 Kemp St. We did just that! Don’t worry, this one is tame and LOVES posing for pictures 🙂  There are many more scattered throughout town, we saw as many as we could. This is a sample, we counted about 20 but probably missed some. You can get Hodag souvenirs here too.

Hodag and us 1500x WM logo

Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce Gift Shop

Hodags downtown, such works of art!

Hodag Collage

This video is a good summary of Hodag lore.

Lets take a look at the historic downtown, it was filled with many beautiful buildings.

Historic Downtown Rhinelander sign

City Hall-1908/9

Rhinelander City Hall WM

 District Library-1898  This is an Andrew Carnegie library.

Rhinelander Library WM

The Merchants and Trust Building, the library was in a room there before the current building was built.

Merchants Trust Bank Building in Rhinelander WM

My favorite building is the Courthouse, beautiful day or night! This is the view shortly after sunrise, then 2 AM on July 8. The night is short there this time of year. The dome is Tiffany glass, VERY unusual. It glows green at night.

Rhinelander Courthouse day WM

Closeup of the glass panels within each square that makes up the dome.

Courthouse Dome closeup FB

And at night, my favorite!

Rhinelander Courthouse night WM

There are also historical markers on site.

First Rural Zoning Ordinance Marker In Rhinelander WM

Onieda County Pioneers marker in Rhinelander WM

This sounds strange, but we often make a cemetery one of our stops. We stopped at Forest Home Cemetery to see the sites of two notable people buried here. This cemetery is large and it was a challenge finding them.  The hardest one was Eugene Shepard,  the man who “found” the first Hodag in fall of 1893. For someone who is largely responsible for Rhinelander’s identity, his gravesite is very humble. Here it is, plus it’s coordinates.

Eugene S. Shepard Gravesite in Rhinelander

N45º 37.867′  W089º 23.912

The other gravesite is John W. Heisman, founder of the Heisman Trophy. His is even more humble, it’s a flat marker. This is how we found it. Look for the Donaldson large monument, it is in front of that.Donaldson monument at Forest Home Cemetery in Rhinelander

John Heissman grave and trophy in Rhinelander

N45º 37.867′   W089º 23.973

——————————————————————————————————————–

We also saw a Packer house on 224 Sutliff Ave.

packer-house-in-rhinelander.jpg

Rhinelander also has two museums. The Rhinelander Historical Society Museum on 9 South Pelham St. was not open, despite the sign saying it was open when we arrived at 2 PM on a Tuesday.

Rhinelander Historical Society Museum WM

We were fortunate however to see the Rhinelander Logging Museum.  It is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day.  the museum is located at 135 South Stevens Street at Pioneer Park. See next post to read about our experience there 🙂

Pioneer Park Historical Complex in Rhinelander WM

We also had a great visit at Hodag Park, on the shores of Boom Lake. Here you will find the Hodag historical marker and several shelters and playground. There are also Hodag Water Shows in the summer.

Hodag Marker in Rhinelander

Hodag Park collage in Rhinelander

Rhinelander has many restaurants. We ate at two of them. We had a dinner and breakfast at the Friendship House on 2260 Lincoln St . They open early which was great for our busy day of exploring.  We were treated like regulars, the staff takes great pride in their work.  Our coffee cup never had the chance to get empty. Chris told us proudly he made the pies, you know we had to have a piece! Al and I shared a piece of Strawberry Cream. Selection changes daily.

Friendship House in Rhinelander

Friendship House Strawberry pie in Rhinelander

The other place is where “Around the Corner With John McGivern” visited, Joe’s Pasty Shop. We wanted a simple meal after spending Tuesday exploring all over town. The have four flavors ready-to-eat and many more you can bring home frozen ones to cook later.  Delicious! View John’s entire visit to Rhinelander last summer.

John McGivern pic at Joe's Pasty Shop

Joe's Pasty Shop in Rhinelasner

Joe's Pasty Shop Menu in Rhinelander

Joe's Pasty Shop Collagein Rhinelander

We stayed two nights at the Days Inn downtown, only a block from the courthouse which made my night photo of it a short walk away. The only drawback is there is not a free continental breakfast. It was a good excuse to go back to the Friendship House after a fine dinner there the night before.

Days Inn in Rhinelander

We didn’t get the chance to go to this, but the Hodag Country Festival held every July is probably their biggest event of the year.  In 2015 it was July 9-12. The local radio station Hodag Country 97.3 FM WHDG is your official source of information and even a webcam of the festival. They stream so you can listen anywhere, download their app too for your mobile device.  Their sister station is Hodag Legends 101.3 FM or 1240 AM WOBT.  Rhinelander’s Public Radio station is WXPR 91.7 FM.

WXPR 91.7 FM in Rhinelander

On our way out-of-town as we headed to Lac du Flambeau on July 8, we saw a caboose on the outskirts of town outside of Evergreen Acres. On our right as we headed north.

                N45º 41.535    W089º 30.457

Soo Caboose in Town of Newbold in Rhinelander

Thanks for the great time Rhinelander, we enjoyed our visit!

Keep Calm and Love Hodag selfie

5 thoughts on “Rhinelander- Home of the Hodag

  1. Pingback: Pioneer Park Historical Complex in Rhinelander | Adventures in Travel

  2. Pingback: Lake Tomahawk – Home of Snowshoe Baseball | Adventures in Travel

  3. Pingback: Lac du Flambeau – Refresh Your Spirit | Adventures in Travel

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