The Show Must Go On In Baraboo

4-16-16 and other visits

Baraboo signBaraboo Water Tower

Lower Narrows

Baraboo Lower Narrows_10-20-12

Baraboo is the county seat of Sauk County with a population of over 12,000. A city with a rich history in the circus, the Ringling family’s influence is woven into the city’s fabric and has been for over a century. Also Delavan, where we also have visited. You can also fly into the Baraboo Airport.

Baraboo Airport

Before you come into the city proper, be sure to stop at Man Mound Park on the outskirts of town.It was a little hard to find, the coordinates are N43°29.309’W089°40.278′   Man Mound Road.  On YouTube a short video about the mound.

Man Mound and signs

 

Man Mound Park marker in BarabooIMG_4679

Legs and feet that are missing are marked with white paint on road.

Legs and feet on man mound

There is also a small playground and a picnic bench at the park.

Man Mound park playground

 

Circus Heritage in Baraboo

Baraboo has been a special place for Al and I since we met in 1997. We scuba dived at Devil’s Lake State Park and even were married there in 1999.

There is so much to see and do here in all seasons of the year.  Summer and fall are the busiest seasons. Come in April or May or after Labor Day for less crowds.  However, some attractions are only during the summer season. for example, Circus World Museum.  We enjoyed a visit there in late August 2013, they have a free admission day at the end of the season.

Circus World Museum

Ringling Brothers plaque at Circus World

Ringling Winter Quarters plaque at Circus World

Baraboo is also home to the International Crane Foundation, which we joined and visited last summer.

ICF sign in Baraboo

Cudahy Visitor Center at Crane Foundation

 

Downtown Baraboo sign

As charming as these places are, you should see the historic downtown, looking much like it did when the original Ringling family were alive.  Downtown Baraboo has its own website to keep us informed of all the great happenings there all year round. The Courthouse Square and nearby has many great businesses to patronize for shopping and dining. The Courthouse is beautiful and it’s chime at 12:00 noon echoed around the square.

Baraboo Courthouse 10-20-12

This plaque is on a rock outside of the Courthouse.

Circus Plaque outside of courthouse in Baraboo

Enjoy the Baraboo Farmers Market too from May through October.

Baraboo Farmers Market

For even more fresh produce in the fall, stop by Ski-Hi Fruit Farm. The fall colors in October are beautiful too.

Ski-Hi Fruit Farm

Apple processing at Ski-Hi in BarabooBaraboo Hill fall color

Baraboo also has its own radio station that we enjoy even in Madison, WRPQ.  You can even download their app to listen to it anywhere.

WRPQ Baraboo 10-20-12

The Corner Drug‘s distinctive red front makes it easy to find on the square.

Corner Drug in Baraboo

Also on this street is the beautiful Al. Ringling Theatre which was restored last year and still a work in progress. We hope to tour that on a future visit.

Al Ringling Theater in Baraboo

On the corner of the square left of here is the Little Village Café, a historic building in journalism. You can just see the AL. Ringling mansion to the left down the street.

Village Cafe in Baraboo

Village Cafe Journalism plaque in Baraboo

A block or so from the square is the AL. Ringling Mansion, a beautiful red stone building you can’t miss seeing! Also, we highly recommend taking their tour to see the inside.  Photos of the inside are permitted inside but not allowed to be posted on Facebook or other social media. The owners Joe and Carmen Colossa and family also live there and are working hard to transform this beautiful home into a Bed and Breakfast.   They purchased the home only in 2013, it seems longer though! The Elks Lodge used to own the mansion, but now just lease out parts of the space.

Joe also gave us an additional tour around town in the afternoon, I will elaborate in the next post.  That tour included the cemetery, houses members of the Ringling family owned, and other circus lore.

AL. Ringling Mansion in Baraboo

Al Ringling Home sign

Meanwhile,  the Charles Ringling mansion already is a Bed and Breakfast, called the Ringling House. Such a cheerful yellow in the spring sunshine!

Ringling House Bed and Breakfast in Baraboo

Directly across the street from the AL. Ringling mansion is another historic site, the first church in Baraboo, long gone.

First Church in Baraboo site

Baraboo likes visitors and offers plenty of free parking.  In this lot you can see a new set of mural panels painted by local citizens in 2015. Also another one across from WRPQ. Also an older one from 2013.

Baraboo Murals

Baraboo Mural

As you can imagine, Baraboo citizens has preserved a great many historic buildings and homes.  We did our own tour to see them after lunch on our April visit.  This city is one of the lucky ones, it has a Carnegie Library. We have seen those in some of the other places we have visited over the years. Visit the Baraboo Public Library to find books on Baraboo’s rich history.

Baraboo Library Carnegie

Badgerland Financial sits on the historic site where the Ringling Brothers put on their very first circus show on May 19, 1884.

First Circus Performance site in Baraboo

Ringling Brothers Circus Plaque

The Jacob Van Orden House is now the Sauk County Historical Museum, one owned by the Sauk County Historical Society.

Sauk County Historical Museum in Baraboo

The House of 7 Gables owners used to give a tour but doesn’t at the present time. They have lived they for 50 years, moved in as newlyweds. Owners Ralph and Pamela Krainik have put a lot of pride into restoring their home for the last 50 years. It was built in 1860. Read more about heir home here.

House of 7 Gables in Baraboo

The Baraboo School Administration building.

Baraboo Schhol Administration Building

All this exploring can make a person hungry, never fear though, there are a great many restaurants in Baraboo to choose from. Around the corner and to the left from the building above is the Broadway Diner. FANTASTIC food, they also are the official caterer to functions of the AL. Ringling Mansion.

Broadway Diner collage

The Log Cabin Restaurant and Bakery, we have been there a couple times, they celebrate 20 years in 2016!

Log Cabin Restaurant in Baraboo

The Farm Kitchen on the outskirts of town by Devil’s Lake has been a favorite place of ours since were dating almost 20 years ago, we often ate there after scuba diving.  We had our wedding rehearsal dinner there too. This is how it looked in 2009, it has been under new ownership since 2015.

The Farm Kitchen in Baraboo Collage 2009

Baraboo offers a wide range of shopping, including the essentials. For groceries, the Viking Express Market has a lot of variety, great store! Even a red pig for the kids to ride!

Viking Market in Baraboo

Red Pig ride at Viking Market in Baraboo

Another favorite place we like shopping is St. Vincent de Paul‘s, or Vinnies, just down the hill on  100 South Blvd. within sight of the Broadway Diner. They also have a food pantry.  Our tour that Joe Colossa took us on included some Circus Museum train cars and the longest train car building in the USA. They are located BEHIND Vinnies.

St. Vincent de Paul Baraboo 10-15-05 341

Tired from walking around downtown, let someone else do the walking, er, pedaling. We spotted a rickshaw parked, make an appointment for a relaxing tour of downtown Baraboo, $20 for 20 minutes.

Wildside Tour in Baraboo

Baraboo is host to many parks, Nanny Park even has a Little Free Library that looks like a circus wagon, cute!

Baraboo Little Library

Nanny Park in Baraboo

Also Devil’s Lake State Park, where we honed our scuba diving skills and got married there underwater on July 24, 1999.

Al and Laurie Kutil vows at Devil's Lake

Climb the East Bluff Trail for beautiful fall color views of the Baraboo Hills below. This was October 9, 2010. Watch the turkey vultures soar above the lake, especially in summer.

Devils Lake Fall 2010

Enjoy Ochsner Park and Zoo near downtown. The zoo opened in 1926 and has a great many visitors.   The adjacent park is alongside the Baraboo River and has two pavilions for large groups to gather.  We found a plaque at the park by the pavilion closest to the zoo, the first home in Baraboo was built on this site.

Ochsner Park and Zoo sign

Ochsner Zoo view

Ochsner Park in Baraboo

First Permanent home in Baraboo plaque in Ochsner Park

We had a great visit to Baraboo today and will be back soon to see more. Our parting shot is the swiftly running river going under the Manchester Street Bridge in this park.

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