Tag Archive | Amtrak

Village of Sturtevant-On the Move


sturtevant logo



Sturtevant is a village of 6,970 and is a suburb of Racine, which we visited in 2015.  This community is right on the Amtrak train route which makes it easy to get to if traveling here that way.  The traffic is frequent as well, this video shows two trains within 5 minutes of each other.

Before we arrived in Sturtevant, we went to the community of Caledonia first. The reason for that was the original depot was moved there to Linwood Park, a historical building complex. Find it at 7430 5 Mile Road, Franksville, WI 53126. They are maintained by the Caledonia Historical Society.  Hopefully we can visit sometime when they are open.

Old Sturtevant Depot in Caledonia

The new Sturtevant Station is beautiful and incorporates some elements of this design, just larger. It was dedicated on August 1, 2006.

Sturtevant Depot img_2643

Sturtevant Station img_2637

The pedestrian overpass makes it easy to cross to the other side of the track to catch a train on the opposite side.  We were in town to see the Canada Pacific Holiday Train which was a lot of fun!


Other points of interest in Sturtevant, the historic Klinkert Hotel building, now privately owned.  A video about it was produced by Thom Peterson.


Across the street from the Klinkert is the Caboose Railroad Museum. On the site is a sign explaining the railroad’s role in more detail.


Caboose at museum in Sturtevant

Rail cars at Sturtevant

We enjoyed dinner at the Castlewood Restaurant next to this display, great food there! Open since July 2o, 1989, it is a mainstay here for a satisfying meal.


Even though our visit here was short, it was quite enjoyable with the holiday train’s visit as the centerpiece.


Wisconsin Dells – 7 Blocks on Broadway

6-20-12 and 1-15-15 and 6-3-15 and many more

Wisconsin Dells sign

The Wisconsin Dells was founded as Kilbourn City in 1857. The name was changed in 1931. The Dells has been a vacation destination for over 150 years and you can see pictures and postcards of the early years here.    The site of one of the early theme parks called Fort Dells is marked by a sign, a Walgreens is there now.

Fort Dells marker at Wisconsin Dells

What you will see when you drive into the Dells along the Parkway and Broadway.

The population of the Dells is 2,678. Even though it is known as “The Waterpark Capital of the World”™  now, it is so much more.   My own Dells experiences goes back to my childhood in the 1970’s and 80’s.  Al’s family went to Jellystone Park, still going strong.   History is still an important part of the Dells and is the foundation for their continued relevance in the present and future.

We are going to explore 7 blocks on what is called “The Strip”, or Broadway Rd.  We start at the top of Broadway on the 100 block, just after we pass under the Amtrak (Empire Builder route) and Canadian Pacific train overpass.  The CP train carries freight, but during the Christmas holidays they host a Holiday Train. On the left side attached to the concrete bridge support is this plaque. We had to carefully walk under the bridge when the road was clear of traffic to get a picture of it.

Amtrak  and Canadian Pacific Train bridge in Wisconsin Dells

Wisconsin Dells Bridge plaque

 We took a look at the charming depot. It was built in 1989 after the original was damaged beyond repair in 1982. It resembles many historic depots we have seen in other towns.

Wisconsin Dells Amtrak Depot

 Close to here, also a right turn off Broadway are two other historical markers and a very tall flagpole, the long driveway leading to them identified by a brown “historical marker” sign. The first one is a history of the Wisconsin Dells. The other marker is on a large red rock in front of the flagpole, honoring Stanton Peter Helland.

Wisconsin Dells MarkerStanton Peter Helland plaque

Broadway – 100 Block

This is the view of the 100 block from  halfway up the hill near the railroad track. Each block has many great businesses to appeal to both visitors. and residents alike.   Downtown Dells has a website of its own since there is so much to do. Since we tend to be frugal travelers, the free parking downtown from October 15-May 15 appealed to us too.  The drawback of winter, not all of the businesses/attractions are open.

Broadway Ave in WI Dells

Showboat Saloon in the Dells

The first place on our right is the popular Showboat Saloon, styled to look like a river showboat. More than that, it is said that a ghost named Molly lives in this over 100-year old building in the upstairs apartment.  The building owner no longer rents it out due to the ghostly disturbances.

 Other businesses on that side are Vintage Photos, Wisconsin Dells Fudge, Professor Porter’s Old Time Portraits and Haunted Mansion. We had a saloon picture taken at Old Time Portraits in Nov. 2008. That was fun!

Broadway 100 block businesses

Old Time Photo 11-15-08 in Wisconsin Dells

 Wizard Quest was on the other side of the street on this block.

Wizard Quest at Wisconsin Dells

 In the summer you can stop at this booth for all the boat tour information and tickets. There are several booths available on Broadway. Next to it is Dairy Queen, Ripley’s Believe it Or Not,  The Candy Connection,  and Yuval Wear clothing.  Across from here is Swiss Maid Fudge.  This ends the 100 block.

Dells Boat Tour ticket booth

End of 100 Block of Broadway at Wisconsin Dells

Swiss Maid Fudge in Wisconsin Dells


Broadway – 200 Block

We cross River Rd. and the first place is Nig’s Bar,  Souvenir City, Uptown Trading Post, the H.H. Bennett Studio and History Center, and Old Abe’s Old Time Portraits. Coincidentally, our visit on January 15 also happened to be H.H. Bennett’s birthday too! We visited the studio on June 14, 2015 to celebrate the 150th Anniversary.

Broadway 200 Block Businesses in Wisconsin Dells

H.H. Bennett and Old Time Pictures

H.H. Bennett Museum in the Dells

The Bennett studio is the actual one he worked out of, and we saw two historical plaques on the courtyard gate.

 H.H. Bennett Plaque at WI DellsOliver and Jean Dyer Reese plaque in the Dells

 Rounding out the block on this side is Cheese Cake Heaven®, open seasonally.

 Cheesecake Heaven in Dells

 From this side we look across the street to a wide variety of businesses, both old and new.  At the right end is T-Shirt Factory. Right next to it is the new Dells Distillery (2013), then MACS-Macaroni and Cheese Shop for great meal choices. We had lunch at the Distillery on 6-14-15. Great food here.

Buy clothes at Alpha Beta Karma next to Macs. Left of this store is another clothing store called Too Cute. Next in line is Wisconsin Dairyland Fudge, here since 1962.  Next is Scent-Sations. More great food at Monk’s Bar and Grill,  serving the Dells since 1947.

In the tan building next to Monk’s is Xpressit.  Then the popular Winnebago Gift Shop, where you can get moccasins and other apparel made by Winnebago (Ho-Chunk) Indians.  They have served the Dells since 1949 in a historic 1860 building.

Finishing up this block is the Dells Fudge Company, Animaland for toys and games.  Last is the High Rock Cafe.  This block is the most dense for businesses on this historic street.

Right side of 200 Block of Broadway  in Dells


 Broadway – 300 Block

300 Block of Broadway in the Dells left side

We cross Oak Street to see what’s here, still plenty of places to see.  This is the left side, beginning with Wally World Arcade, a popular place since opening in 1998. It houses the Dells only antique carousel. Next is Elements Skateboard Shop, then the Dells Discount Outlet.  Rounding out this side is Book World, Wisconsin Dells Realty, Subway, Paintball Target Shooting and Best Bargain. A new Great Harvest Bread Co. recently opened here on the end cap of this row.

Great Harvest bread Co. in the Dells

On the right side we have Native Sun Resortwear and Gifts, Shirts R-Us (closed) and KDC Traders.  On the left is the historic Stroud Bank,  now The Wild Fun Zone.

300 Block of Broadway Right side in Dells

Stroud Bank plaque in the Dells

Wild Fun Zone Stroud bank in Wisconsin Dells on Broadway

Stroud Bank building on Broadway

This block concludes with Colotlán Mexican Restaurant and The Frozen Bear Frosty Treats.

The Frozen Bear on Broadway


Broadway  – 400 Block

We are now at the halfway point of exploring this fascinating street in downtown Dells. But wait, there’s more! After crossing Elm St., continuing on the left side is the Goody Goody Gumdrop store. next is Unique, a t-shirt store.

A Dells Visitor Center is next to Unique. This side of the block concludes with Eagle Wings Sportswear, Dells Mining Company and Famous Dave’s BBQ. The right side is even more interesting.  We begin with Chalet Lanes and Lounge and the Bavarian Village with German Glockenspiel.  Let’s watch it tell the Pied Piper story!

Left side

400 Block of Broadway in Dells left side

It was so interesting inside, so much candy and treats!

Goody Goody Gumdrop store inside on Broadway

Right side

Chalet Building in Wisconsin Dells on Broadway

400 Block of Broadway Bavarian Village on Broadway in Dells right side


Broadway – 500 Block

 At this point we are heading out of the heaviest shopping and attractions part of the street.  There are still some places yet to see though.  On the last long shopping strip on the left side are several shops.

500 Block of Broadway left side in Dells

The first is a BMO Harris Bank on the left corner, then an Italian restaurant called Carvelli Pizza and Pasta House.

500 Block of Broadway Carvelli

Next is Affordable Leather and More, Cutting Edge Fitness,  Paint It! Pottery Shop and Clothing Company for women’s clothes. The last business on this side of the street is a women’s boutique called Flirts.

500 Block of Broadway-Flirts

On the right side is Fitzgerald’s Motel.

500 Block of Broadway Fitzgerald's Motel


Broadway- 600 Block

On the right side of this block is the Colonial Motel.

600 Block on Broadway Colonial Motel

This house on the left is Screnock & Field Law Office.

600 Block of Broadway Screnock & Field Law Office in Dells


Broadway – 700 Block

On our left is the Roadhouse Saloon. And the Starlite Motel.

700 Block of Broadway Roadhouse Saloon

700 Block of Broadway Starlite Motel in Dells

We reach another historic site on this block in Bowman Park.  This is the Dells Country Historical Museum.

700 Block of Broadway Dells Country Historical Museum

The yellow metal lion in front of the Bowman House is itself historical and has a plaque.  it is possibly over 200 years old.

Dixon Lion Plaque at Bowman House in Dells

700 Block of Broadway Dixon Lion

It was a nice day to explore this famous street in the Dells and see all it has to offer. We will be back soon!

Columbus – The Red Bud City


7-4-12 & 1-16-14 & 5-5-16

Redbud Tree and City Hall and sign

Welcome to Columbus! Also known as “The City of Distinction”, this community of 4,991 has many interesting landmarks and historic structures.  Featured above is the City Hall,  built in 1892 and still serves in this capacity. The living landmark as seen in the sign above the Redbud Tree.  They provide a great color accent to the downtown and resident yards in May when they bloom.  Columbus so reveres the tree they have a festival called, “Redbud Days”.

Red Bud days sign at Library

 In 2016 we were not able to come to the festival  but we did stop in to see their beautiful red bud trees. They were EVERYWHERE.  This city really earned it’s monicker “The Red Bud City”.  The sign above was on the lawn of the Columbus Public Library. It is no ordinary library though, it’s a Carnegie Library.  We have seen those in many of the towns we have visited.

Columbus Public Library

We begin our exploration of Columbus with the historic home of former Governor James Taylor Lewis.

Governor Lewis Mansion in Columbus


Governor Lewis home side view in Columbus

Governor James Taylor Lewis marker

The mansion is located in a historic district and we took a look at the other beautiful houses on this block and nearby.  Across the street on 147 North Lewis is the Wheeler House, 1870.  Louis Sullivan stayed here while the Farmers and Merchants Union Bank was being built.  President Taft once made a speech from the front balcony of this house too.

Wheeler house in Columbus IMG_6969

The Bellack House, 1897.

Bellack House 1897 IMG_6976

The beautiful Farnham House from 1867 dominates the corner on 553 West James St.

Farnham House IMG_6964

This is the Queen Anne/Tudor Revival House on 314 South Charles, built in 1900.

Chadborne House 1929 IMG_6930

This house that looks like a castle is the Albrech House on 334 South Ludington, built in 1930.  There are a great many more houses, be sure to get the guide book in the Farmers bank to find them all!

Albrech House 1930 IMG_7046

On a hill across the street from the Governor’s mansion is the Columbus historic Chapel Street Water tower,  a prominent landmark.

Columbus Historic Water tower


The whole downtown is a designated Historic District.  This fact did not escape Hollywood. They chose to film part of the movie “Public Enemies”, released in 2009. Here is a corner panorama of these beautiful buildings.

Downtown Columbus corner panorama

The Farmers and Merchants Union Bank is a special centerpiece of Columbus. It is only one of 8 “Jewel Box” banks in the entire United States designed by Louis Sullivan.  The outside of the bank was also featured in the movie Public Enemies. The inside was breathtaking!  One of the associates who was worked there a long time, Anita, gave us a tour of the bank!  On the upper floor is a small museum of bank artifacts.  We found out the beautiful molded “stonework” on the outside is terra cotta, less expensive than carved stonework.  The water fountain no longer works but it is still beautiful.

Farmers and Merchants Union Bank in Columbus

Farmers and Merchants Bank plaque


Farmer and Merchant Bank plaque in Columbus

The meeting room.

Farmers and Merchants Union Bank meeting room

Lobby and museum in Historic Mezzanine.

Farmers and Merchants Bank in Columbus collage

The bank also sells a few souveniers to visitors.  You can find the list next to the lamp that Louis Sullivan presented to the bank upon completion. We got the Columbus History and Architecture Tour booklet for $3, proceeds benefiting the Columbus Historical Society.  Thanks Anita for the great tour!

Louis Sullivan Bank gift lamp

A monument across from City Hall pays homage to Civil War soldiers.

Civil War Memorial in Columbus IMG_7274

A piece of personal history, the Town Tap was one of the sponsors of my husband’s sister’s Softball team in the 1970’s.

Town Tap in Columbus

Joretta Town Tap Columbus Softball Team

Kurth Brewery  building is also a landmark here.  They no longer brew beer but its still owned by the family and run a small bar and restaurant there.  The brewery burned down on July 20, 1916 and was not rebuilt. Prohibition began in 1919 and that didn’t help in trying to recover either.   They are open Wednesday and Friday evening from 6-10:30 PM only.

Kurth Brewery building IMG_7090

Kurth Brewery sign in Columbus

Kurth Brewery

The John Henry Kurth House on 902 Park is a 1897 Queen Anne style home.

John Henry Kurth House in Columbus

Columbus is known for its great shopping also, especially antiques.  The largest store in Wisconsin is here, the Columbus Antique Mall, a former canning factory. They are open 8-4 daily, and feature the Christopher Columbus Museum.

Columbus Antique Store Museum

Many artifacts in the museum, including models of the Nina, Pinta and the Santa Maria. Also, 18 rooms of antiques for sale.  Get there early to see everything, the place is HUGE!


Columbus Antique Mall inside

We had a great July 4th there in 2012.   People liked getting dressed in their patriotic finest.  We had our picture with this man we met there just before the parade.  The celebration was held at Fireman’s Park afterwards. Lots of fun.  The historic Park Pavilion is 100 years old in 2016.

July 4 in Columbus Patriotic guy

Fireman's Park in Columbus 7-4-12

Columbus also has one of the few Amtrak train stations in Wisconsin.  It once was the Milwaukee Railroad Depot. When we visited in 2016 we were lucky enough to see the train stop by.  The depot was built in 1906. It was the 2nd depot built in Columbus. Notice the brick path?  They may have been laid there at the same time this depot built.  The company that made these brick pavers may have been Purington Brickyard in East Galesburg, IL.  The company that reclaims some of these historic bricks is  Gavin Historical Bricks. Not longer in production since the invention of concrete and asphalt, find these originals over a century old was a great find!  See them close up..

Columbus Amtrak Depot

Purington Brickyard path at Columbus Train Station

Inside the depot are benches from the 1930’s or 40’s.

Amtrak Depot 1930's benches

The ticket window at the front of the room.

Amtrak Depot in Columbus ticket window

The schedule, not much but better than nothing.  At least you can get to St. Paul or Chicago. From there you can connect to other trains going to points elsewhere.

Amtrak Schedule in Columbus

Just a little further down the track is the original depot, built in 1864. It was used for both freight and passengers before the newer one was built.

1864 Columbus depot

We also enjoyed a great Mexican meal at The Columbus Family Restaurant on our 2014 visit.  Our dinners were delicious, it was hard to choose since the menu was quite large.

Columbus Family Restaurant

Also stop at Apple Tree Family Restaurant, it is across the street from Kurth’s. We had a great meal there in 2016 and plan on returning.

Big Apple Tree Family Restaurant in ColumbusBig Apple Tree Family Restaurant sign in Columbus

If you want to cook at home, Columbus also has a Pick n’ Save right off the 151 exit.

Pick n' Save grocery in Columbus

Discover Columbus!  They have it all:  great shopping, rich history and friendly people. Stop by!

Columbus Water Tower 2016