Wild Rose-Village of Roses


Welcome to Wild Rose Sign

Wild Rose Service Organizations

Wild Rose is  a small Village of 725 in Waushara County.  We arrived a little early for the roses, but not too early to learn of the fascinating history of this community. Pick up traveler information any time in the little cabin on Main Street.

Waushara County Chamber of Commerce Info cabin

The population is higher in the summer since many people have cabins in the area and enjoy the peace and quiet here. It wasn’t always that way though.  In the late 19th and early 20th century, the atmosphere here was more like the Wild West. Residents are still talking about the famous “Bank Robbery of 1905”.  We didn’t know about this until we stopped and talked to the locals at this friendly BP gas station in town, Lauritzens Sports Shop is inside.

Lauritzens in Wild Rose

They told us of a grave site located behind a fence located just outside of Oak Hill Cemetery in a wooded area. The fence was open and we went in.

1905 Wild Rose Bank Robber grave Site location

Wild Rose 1905 Bank robber gravesite

Patsy Bank Robber Gravestone in Wild Rose

Location is here of AA on Sewer Lagoon Road.

Wild Rose Bank robber Gravesite location

I found out the Wild Rose Historical Society staged a re-enactment of the robbery in 1905 on the 100th Anniversary of the event in 2005.  A DVD was made and you can get it at Jamie’s Photo and Video in Waupaca. Order a copy for $15 here.

Wild Rose 1905 Bank Robbery DVD Jamie's Photo and Video

To learn more about Wild Rose’s history, stop at the Wild Rose Historical Society Museum. It consists of 8 buildings total.  The one behind the sign is the Elisha Stewart House.

Wild Rose Historical Society Museum sign

The Elisha Stewart House in Wild Rose

Wild Rose Museum Buildings

Pioneer Hall was formerly the Bank

Wild Rose as you can see has preserved it’s history quite well, down to the noon whistle on top of the Village Hall building.

Wild Rose Village Hall

The Old Mercantile building.  You can see where the dentist had his office in a room upstairs!

Wild Rose Mercantile Building

Studio 455 Photography.

Studio 455 Photography

There are many businesses downtown for shopping and dining. The Vintage Garden Café has has an antique store.  The property however is up for sale.

Viltage Garden Cafe in Wild Rose

Slugger’s Sports Bar is quite a draw during Packer and other games. Enjoy their Friday Night Fish fry.


Wild Rose is one of only two towns we have encountered with a vintage Pagoda-style gas station buildings. The only other one we have seen is in Cedarburg. This one is called the Pumphouse On the Mill and is now a restaurant. It was built in 1928.

Pumphouse on the Mill former Wadham's Gas Station 1928

The one in Cedarburg.

Cedarburg Pagoda Gas station building

When you enter town is Roseville, where you can play mini-golf, shop at their gift shop or get some ice cream.  We HAD to pose by the BIG strawberry ice cream cone.

Roseville in Wild Rose

There is also lodging downtown in Wild Rose. The Wild Rose Hotel Bar also has a restaurant, located on the banks of the millpond. Love the vintage sign by the entrance. It was also the site of the first original hotel in Wild Rose.

Wild Rose Hotel Bar

Bar Entrace sign at Wild Rose Hotel Bar

Across the street you can stay at Blader’s Dakota Inn.

Blader's Inn Wild Rose Hotel

We finished our visit with a stop at beautiful Springwater Volunteer Covered Bridge Park. The bridge was built by volunteers in 1997. The peaceful Pine River flows over the rocks, creating an idyllic scene any time of the year.  It is on Rustic Road 117.  Take a look!

Volunteer Covered Bridge in Wild Rose

Covered Bridge Park in Wild Rose

We learned a lot today in Wild Rose and enjoyed to peaceful scenery they wish all visitors and residents to enjoy.

Wild rose abandoned barn

The Swan Song of the Town of Burke


Burke sign

The Town of Burke is a community of 3,505 located near the north side of Madison. It was named after  Edmunde Burke, an Irish Patriot and poet. We moved here in 2006, and it has taken me awhile to finally tell the story of this once-prominent town.  Here are the current boundaries, the unincorporated town has slowly fragmented over time.

Lets start at the beginning. The town was first formed in  1847 as one of the four towns of Windsor.  Read a detailed account of Burke’s early history here. Burke has been giving its historical records to the Sun Prairie Historical Society and Museum. I did my research in their research room after calling  608-837-2915.  Historic photos posted are courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society and Sun Prairie Historical Society‘s archives.

The former Town Hall is actually in Sun Prairie, behind McGovern’s.

McGovern's in Sun Prairie

It is now a privately owned house. Good it still stands and is in use.

Former Burke Town Hall in Sun Prairie

We live in and near some of the other Burke fragments. Just down the road from me is the former Sanderson School, District 5. It now is an apartment building.


On what is now the north side of Madison on North Sherman, part of the former Bill Droster Store building remains.

Bill Droster - Droster Store in Burke

Sherman and Logan Street-Former Droster Grocery building

On the other side of our home is the still active train track. It has been rerouted slightly at least a couple of times over the last century and once since living here, partly due to the Dane County Regional Airport being built on former farmland.  I caught the Canadian Pacific train on its return trip to Portage recently. See a detailed map of all Wisconsin railways here.

Fall Train CP to Portage

As we continue up the hill on Highway CV, we see Messerschmitt Rd. going behind the gate of the airport. It was named after the farmer Sam Messerschmitt who used to live in this location before the airport was built.  remnants of his farm remain today, the Ghost Hill Ranch building is now part of the property of Best Buds, a local greenhouse.  In April of 1999, the Messerschmitt stone home-built in 1932, referred to as the “gumdrop” house, was moved to avoid demolition due to an airport runway expansion.


Here is the house today, very unique!


Beyond is a hill that has been quarried since it’s materials were used to build Dane County’s Municipal Airport in 1939. Read more of its fascinating history here. It has been Wisconsin Aviation since 1981, serving privately owned pilots and charter flights. Inside is a restaurant where I used to work between 2007-2009, Pat O’Malley’s Jet Room that is open to the public. Here is a picture of me taken with the staff in January 2009.

Jet Room Team 09 003 copy covered faces 2009

An old stone farm building used to stand the former downtown by the railroad track on 5263 Reiner Road, the same one that goes by our home. The Wisconsin State Historical Society has three older photos of this barn in its archives.


I went to nearby Burke Rd. by the railroad track, the former center of town during its heyday a century ago.

Burke Road in Burke

The train station used to be nearby too.

Burke Depot 1913

And also Burke Station Tavern, from 1929.  Sadly, it burned down in 2007. I never did get any pictures of it myself unfortunately.

Burke Station Tavern 1929

I did get a windbreaker from there at a thrift store a few years ago. At least I have that artifact.

Burke Station Tavern jacket

There is still some business going on here.  Pierre’s Portrait Art Co., which opened in 2014.

Pierre's Portrait Art Co. in Burke

In this area is also a marker for the former Burke Station School.

Burke School marker

Burke Station School District 1 marker

burke school

Burke has three cemeteries. One is at this location.


The 2nd one is Hoepker Cemetery in Sun Prairie. The Hoepker family is buried here.  Also early settler Adam Smith and his wife Mary. He owned a tavern and was a Justice of the Peace.


Hoepker Monument at Burke Cemetery

 Burke Early Settler Adam Smith grave at Burke CemeteryAdam and Mary Smith grave at Burke Cemetery

In what is now Sun Prairie, his house still stands.

 Adam and Mary Smith House in Sun Prairie

Adam Smith marker

The 3rd is at the Burke Lutheran Church


The Reindahl family is buried here. They have a historic site near East Towne in Madison. Also Reindahl Park, complete with a barn and a stone monument across the street.  Knute Reindahl was especially famous.


Reindahl Memorial Park monument in Madison

Reindahl Park barn

Reindahl Park marker in Madison


This town may be small, but it still has two festivals a year.  Lets go to the current Burke Town Hall and the Burke Town Hall Park on the grounds for these festivals.

Burke Town Hall

Burke Town Hall Park monument

The park also has a covered bridge and pond around it.  Very pretty in winter too.

Burke Park in winter

The Saturday before Easter, Burke has an Easter Egg Hunt, and kids can get their picture with the Easter Bunny.

Easter Bunny with kids at Easter Egg Hunt blank faces

Burke’s other festival is the 3rd Saturday in August.  The town holds an annual picnic all residents are invited to.

Burke Picnic flyer

Burke Picnic

We have music from the local group Staff Infection, playing a country mix.

Staff Infection Band at Burke Picnic

Also horse-drawn wagon rides around the park. Lots of fun!

Burke Picnic wagon rides

The food is prepared by the Token Creek Lions Club, brats and corn with Culver’s custard for dessert. What a great evening!

We close our story of Burke at the Sun Prairie Public Library, where they had a Burke artifact display up when I visited in January 2014.

Burke Display at Sun Prairie Public Library

And a sad post-mortem of of Burke’s “future”. It will be dissolved in 2036.

Burke's Future sign

We are sad this town’s peak was long before we were born, but glad we could learn more about its history before annexation into DeForest, Madison and Sun Prairie.

Verona – Hometown U.S.A.

10-9-14 /10-19-17

Verona sign

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.

UW Turfgrass Facility in Verona

Covered Bridge in Verona

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.

Ice Age Trail sign in Verona

Another trail running through Verona is the Military Ridge Trail. We stopped at the trailhead in Verona and also saw this historic marker.

Military Ridge Trailhead in Verona

Dane County Home marker


For more information about Verona we stopped at their Chamber of Commerce downtown. We learned plenty from the friendly staff there.

Verona Area Chamber of Commerce

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.

Joseph H.P. Matt's home in Verona


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”.

The Auditorium aka Cahoots Bar in Verona


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.

Miller & Sons Supermarket in Verona

In this same block are two other stores, Hometown Pharmacy and Greg’s Card Locker.

Greg's card Locker and Hometown Pharmacy in Verona

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.

The Sows Ear in VeronaThe Sow's Ear inside in Verona

The Sow's Ear Mug in Verona


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.

Pasquales in Verona

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.

Hometown Junction in Verona

Veteran's Memorial in Verona

Make yourself at home in Verona, Hometown U.S.A.!

Verona Watertower and banner

Monticello – The Heart of Green County

10-14-13 and 7-26-14

Monticello MonumentMonticello sign

Monticello is a friendly community of 1,217 in the heart of Green county and has plenty to offer in the way of activities or just plain relaxing. A great place to relax here is by Montesian Lake and park.  It has a covered bridge, large gazebo and a LONG grill for community cook-outs.

Monticello Covered Bridge   Large Monticello GrillMonticello Gazebo

Pay a visit to Millie the Whale in the lake too in season, as the lake freezes over in winter.

Millie the Whale in Monticello Lake Montesian

Another great place to relax is nearby Montesian Gardens, a beautiful flower garden tended by green-thumbed volunteers. It was quite beautiful in mid-summer. Much to our surprise, there were pieces of Sid Boyum art here in the gardens.

Montesian Gardens Sign Monticello Sid Boyum Art MonticelloSid Boyum Art 2 in Monticello

 Let’s take in the sights downtown, they have preserved their historic buildings quite well.  We began our walk from the north end of town. Just before going down Main St, we went left to Coates St. to visit the Swiss Heritage Cheese Co. We got some delicious Brick Cheese.

Downtown Monticello Swiss Heritage Cheese Company

Cheesemaking has been an important part of many towns in Green County, and Monticello has a marker in Montesian Park marking the production of Limburger cheese.

Nickolaus Gerber Marker in Monticello

 The first business we see on N. Main is Voegli Chevrolet Buick, co-owner Jack Stenbroten Jr. will be happy to help you! With an A+ rating with the BBB, you know they have your best interests at heart!

Voegli Chevrolet in Monticello

 The Kooler was originally The Chateau Tavern, built in 1933.

The Kooler in Monticello

The Boar’s Nest is a popular place to relax, especially for the farmers in the area. They are only open Friday and Saturday.

Boar's Nest in Monticello

 Gempeler’s Supermarket is full-service, serving the Monticello area since 1972. They even make their own bratwurst and sausage. Stop in! They even have some tables if you want to have lunch there.

Gempeler's Supermarket in Monticello Gempeler's Supermarket inside

The former Bank of Monticello building.   Next to the former bank is The Dining Room restaurant, a dinner-only place open Wed-Sat evenings.


The Dining Room in MonticelloBank of Monticello building


We come upon the historic Barnaby’s Monticello House, the prettiest building on Main St.

Monticello House


Across the street is the Eagle Pass Saloon and in the Woelffer Drugstore is now Monticello’s Historical Society Museum, which is open on Saturdays during the summer. Let’s go in! We are so glad the museum was open today. It’s here because of the efforts of the Historical Society and benefactor Mrs. Ruth Knight Sybers. She bought the building in 2001 and donated it to the Historical Society.  Reach them here.

P.O. Box 463 204 N. Main St. Monticello, WI 53570 Phone: (608)938-4216 Email:

Eagle Pass Saloon and Woeffler Historical Museum

Woefller Monticello Museum Monticello Museum

A special  postmark was created when the building was opened for viewing on May 12, 2007.

Monticello Museum postmark

One of the contributors to this photo display of farm life, Linda Schiesser, told us of the business she and her mother Elda own, Scherenschnitte (Swiss Folk Art) in nearby New Glarus.  She happened to be in the museum today. They have sold their work at Green County Cheese Days in September selling their art. Reach them here.

Scherenschnitte  – The Schiessers

P.O. Box 232, New Glarus, WI 53574-0232


Linda Schiesser photos on farm

Time for lunch at the popular M & M Cafè at the end of the street, across from Montesian Park. We got there just before a huge crowd of bicyclists arrived, filling the restaurant to capacity!  The reason so much bike traffic, Monticello is at the juncture of TWO bike trails. The Badger State Trail and the Sugar River Trail, which we biked on before from New Glarus.

M & M Cafe in Monticello Monticello M & M Cafe inside

We really enjoyed our visit to Monticello and plan on returning.