11-11-15 (Veteran’s Day) 2-1-16, 3-18, 5-28
Fort Atkinson is a city of of over 12,000 with a proud history. Fort Atkinson was built around the site of Fort Koshkonong during the Black Hawk War. It was also named after General Henry Atkinson. The site has a marker, a monument and a cannonball. This is the historic Eli May House on 407 East Milwaukee Ave, built in 1866.
This is a peaceful community now with many activities for visitors and residents to enjoy. Our first stop on our November visit was to Evergreen Cemetery to see the Bellman Carillon Tower and Veterans Memorial.
The Chamber of Commerce is another great place to stop for info on Fort and the rest of Jefferson County. See their video.
We headed downtown to see other historic sites and markers. Nearby the Eli May house is the historic water tower. During the summer you can climb the stairs to have a good view of the city. Here is a view provided by a previous visitor.
Long before Europeans lived here, Native Americans did. The have many mounds in this area. There is a marker and a partially-preserved VERY rare Panther Intaglio on 1228 Riverside Dr. You can see it here.
A famous poet also spent most of her life here, Lorine Niedecker. We found where she lived at Blackhawk Island near Ft. Atkinson.
The larger house near the Rock River is further down the driveway, we didn’t trespass to see it, just zoomed in.
Fort Atkinson also has a re-creation of their original Fort Koshkonong and stockade at Rock River Park. It was built between 1966-68 and hosts the Koshkonong Rendezous on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. We went on May 28, 2016.
Another historical park we visited in March was the Jefferson County Indian Mounds and Trail Park. Be respectful of the mounds, as they are burial sites and to please stay on the marked trail. See map here.
Bring your bike along or take a walk along the Glacial River Bike Trail. Take a break at the depot/shelter. This is part of the Rails to Trails programs to convert old rail lines to recreational trails.
Fort Atkinson is also host to many businesses that provide good jobs and a fun night out. On our 2015 visit we went to Capn’s Roadhouse for lunch. It was Veterans Day and since Al is a Navy vet, he got a free steak dinner!
The restaurant is close to the high school, on the grounds is the historic bell that was part of the first high school building. It is in a semi-protective structure.
When we returned in May of 2016, we enjoyed lunch at Fat Boyz. A friend of mine recommended them for their chicken strips and he wasn’t kidding! We ordered one chicken strip basket and we couldn’t even finish it. Great value in a friendly atmosphere, a place fun for the whole family!
A great place for shopping is Nasco. They have discounts on toys and much more. I couldn’t help myself, I got a Duncan YoYo.
Jones Dairy Farm is also a major employer, I see their products in my local grocery stores all the time.
If you like live theater, The Fireside is a favorite destination for Wisconsinites. We have not yet been there yet, but we plan on it. You get dinner before the show for a complete evening out. This a family business, the 3rd generation has now taken up the reins to keep this popular tradition going at Fort (what the locals fondly call their city). They also offer Friday Fish Fry for just the food and no show.
If you just want something light, Beauty and the Bean is a friendly place with great coffee. The “beauty” part is the salon adjoining the coffee shop.
In March 2016, we enjoyed fish fry at the Sunset Bar and Grill in the town of Sumner (part of Fort). The food was fantastic! In the summer they have music outside. Take a selfie by the big anchor like we did 🙂
The VFW Post 1979 is open Fri-Sat-Sunday only. They have a Sunday brunch.
A new restaurant opened up on the Rock River downtown in Nov. 2015, Brook’s River Walk Tavern and Grill.
Enjoy a stop at Tuttle’s Pharmacy, open since 1931. Their friendly service can’t be beat either and are are ready to help with your prescription needs. There are many unique gifts ideas too.
Across the street is Catfish Alley, between two buildings, beautiful art work!
One place you need to make time for when you visit is the Hoard Museum and Dairy Shrine. We stopped there in November and didn’t quite complete our tour. We returned March 18 and saw the Dairy Shrine portion that we didn’t see before.
Behind the museum is the largest Intersectional Peony Garden in the country. On Saturday June 6, 2015, Fort Atkinson was officially declared “Intersectional Peony City of Wisconsin”. On May 28 of 2016, we had a chance to see these beautiful flowers in bloom.
Fort Atkinson is a very interesting community and we plan on returning as often as we can.