Tag Archive | cow

Hoard Historical Museum and National Dairy Shrine in Fort Atkinson

11-11-15 and 3-18-16

Hoard Museum signHoard Museum and National Dairy Shrine

A visit to Fort Atkinson is not complete without exploring the Hoard Historical Museum and National Dairy Shrine. Suggested donations are $5 for individual or $10 per family.  A painted cow and stained glass art greet you upon entering the building.

Hoard Museum cow

The first room we entered is the Mounds Gallery. We learned a lot about the Indian Mounds in Wisconsin.  We saw a short film made my members of the tribes involved.  In the same room are arrowhead collections by Raymond Thomas Lawton.

Increase Lapham display

Thomas Lawton Indian Collection

The adjoining room has a Native American diorama and more artifacts.

Indian Diorama at Mound Museum

A close up.

Indian home display at Hoard Museum IMG_7563

Inside of the home.

Indian home IMG_7559

And the food they ate, either growing naturally or their own plantings.

Indian Food display at Hoard

Food sign at Hoard

The museum also encourages visiting Aztalan State Park, which we had!

We headed up to the 2nd floor where there was a display dedicated to their local famous poet, Lorine Niedecker.

Hoard 2nd Floor Exhibits

Lorine Niedecker display

The William Dempster Hoard room, where resides a large portrait of him and his magazine, Hoard’s Dairyman is displayed. The magazine still exists today, in production since 1885!

William Dempster Hoard and magazine

He also went to the Wisconsin State Fair in 1859 and Abraham Lincoln was a guest speaker. Here are his impressions.

The Bird Room has MANY birds in display cases,  some over a century old. This Bald Eagle is from 1904.

Taxidermy room at Hoard

Bald Eagle display at Hoard

Another room upstairs is dedicated to Ft. Atkinson’s Police and Fire Department.

Police and Fire Room at Hoard

The Lorine Niedecker Room in addition to the display near the stairs.

Lorine Niedecker room at Hoard

The Duck Hunting Room showed hunting around Lake Koshkonong.

Duck Hunting Story sign at Hoard

Canoe information, it may have been owned by William Hoard himself!

Duck Hunting Room at Hoard

Boll Hoard canoe at Hoard

Duck display at Hoard

In the Play Room were toys from days gone by.

Play Room display at Hoard

We went back downstairs to see a representation of how the Hoard house may have looked while occupied by him and his family. Displays are rotated occasionally to display different pieces.

Frank and Luella Hoard House sign

Hoard Dining Room

Hoard house parlor

Kitchen at Hoard house

The last part we saw in November was the Lincoln Era Library and Exhibit room at the back on the museum on the first floor. It spotlighted Lincoln artifacts, Fort Koshkonong and the Blackhawk War.


Lincoln display at Hoard House

Fort Koshkonong as it originally looked in this display.

Fort Koshkonong exhibit IMG_7716

Here is what the site looks like NOW.  It is presently a residential neighborhood.

Fort Koshkonong site in Ft. Atkinson

A great visit to this museum had to be cut short by lack of time to finish it.



We’re back!  Winter is over and it was time to complete viewing this amazing museum.  Flowers were beginning to push up in the garden in front of the museum. These are Iris Reticulata, planted by museum volunteers. Beautiful!

Hoard Museum in Spring

Iris at Hoard Museum

We never got to see the dairy shrine side of the museum in November so we got back today.  It took about 2 hours to see this part, it occupied the main floor and downstairs.

Dairy Shrine entrance

We entered into a large octagon-shaped room with a variety of displays and dioramas.  Going around the perimeter of the inside of the room was a timeline history of the Hoard Museum and dairy technology developments.

Hoard Museum Volunteer of the Year Joe Slaney frame

Volunteer Joe Slaney (Volunteer of the Year!) began the presentation in the room, we moved from exhibit to exhibit in a clockwise direction, everything was cued to audio and video, a 3D presentation!


The presentation began with a video introduction about the Hoard Museum, then it instructed us to move left to the next panel.

#1 – Hoard Farm Replica

Hoard Farm model

#2 – Modern Milk Marketing

Milk Marketing

This panel showed the many ways milk products were marketed to the consumers from 1 to 92.  One of the most successful was the “Got Milk” campaign. Al and I participated in this when we went to Cows on the Concourse. Here is our milk mustache photo.

Got Milk Campaign photoGot Milk Ad Campaign

Milk use pie chart.

Milk use breakdown

#3 – Daily Farmers of the 1800’s

A display depicting the dairy farmer in the 1800’s, also a room where ice blocks are stored that were cut from a nearby lake in the winter.

Milking cow in 1800's

Milk Storage and ice blocks

#4 – Farm Wife Makes Butter With the Milk

IFarm Wife Churning Milk into butter

After her husband (or farm hand)  milks the cow, she is responsible for processing the milk into butter or soft cheese. She often has a custom butter mold with her own unique design inside, marking it as her “brand”.  She then sells the butter to her town’s general store for store credit or cash. Here are a couple of butter molds on display in the museum.

Butter Molds

#5 – Modern Cheesemaking

Milk is now delivered to the cheese factory in large trucks, from there all kinds of cheese are made. We saw that in Arena and Rudolph.

Modern Cheese Making

salting cheese in Rudolph

#6 – Summary

Dairy Industry Summary

Milk Presentation Sponsors

That was an AMAZING presentation! In the center of this room is a library with dairy industry books and magazines.

Hoard Museum library

We completed our visit by seeing the other MANY artifacts, too many to count. Here is an array of butter churns.

Butter Churns

We will close our visit with a painting of the 7 Wonders of Wisconsin, the 7 cow breeds predominant in this state. This museum was well worth the time to see and we will return again to see any new exhibits, as they rotate some of them.  Thank you Frank Hoard for this gift to the community.

& Wonders of Wisconsin cow painting


Janesville-Wisconsin’s Park Place

12-12-15 and 5-13-16

Janesville sign

Janesville is a city of 63,575 with a rich history as well as being beautiful with having more than 2,500 acres of parks. Abraham Lincoln had even been here. He stayed at the Lincoln Tallman House on October 3, 1859. It is now a museum along with several other buildings on the campus.

Lincoln Tallman House IMG_8888

Next door is the Helen Jeffris Wood Museum, with its Parker Pen collection.

Helen Jeffris Wood Museum in Janesville

On the Tallman house lawn there was a plaque denoting the “witness trees”, large Burr Oak trees that were present when Lincoln was visiting.

Witness Tree Plaque

Witness tree Burr Oak at Tallman

Across the street is the John Peters House, another historic home built in 1857.

John PetersHouse in Janesville

Janesville is proud of its history and offers several Self-Guided Walking Tours. You can install an app on your phone to guide you on the tour.

We headed downtown to The Armory.  It was built in 1930 and is now an event facility. Contact them here to book your event.

The Janesville Armory

Janesville Tank Company marker

We took a break for lunch and went downtown to O’Reilly and Conway’s, an Irish Pub. Great food here!

O'Riley and Conway's restaurant in Janesville

Another great place to eat is the Milwaukee Grill, we enjoyed Friday Fish Fry there.

Milwaukee Grill in Janesville

 Janesville is in the process of establishing historic districts though building rehabilitation and restoration.  This beautiful building is part of the Kent Block on 52 S. Main,  it now has apartments.  Read more about it here and other buildings.

Kent Block historic building MG_9073

Janesville also has a train depot and four-faced clock nearby. No longer being used for passenger trains, it is now a bus station.

Clock and Depot in Janesville

Janesville Depot IMG_9043

Janesville Depot Plaques

We continued past the depot and found RiversEdge Bowl  with a real cool sign.

RiversEdge Bowl in Janesville IMG_9056

Reversing course, we head to the heart of downtown. This was a Carnegie Library, now a senior center.

Former Carnegie Library in Janesville IMG_9088

Across from here is the Marvin W. Roth Community Pavillion and amphitheater. This is part of their downtown revitalization project.

Pavillion in Janesville IMG_9092

It turned out we were in the Courthouse Hill Historic District and there were many beautiful homes and churches in the block.

Courthouse Hill Historic District IMG_9133

Al pointed out a window style I had not seen before, an Eyebrow Window. It is designed to get natural light into an attic.

Courthouse Historic District house with Eyebrow window

We also found a historic marker that mentioned Janesville as being the site of the first Wisconsin State Fair.

First State Fair in Janesville IMG_9145

Another interesting house, Barnes Double House.

Barnes Double House in Janesville IMG_9175

Barnes Double House Plaque IMG_9171

We head back toward the car, we had a bit more to see outside of downtown.  We saw a photo shoot taking place across the river, they saw us too!Bridge in Janesville IMG_9240

Photoshoot IMG_9231

We went to the “Janesville Oasis” area near the 90/94 exit to see Bessie the Cow.  It is in the area near Arby’s, you can park in the lot nearby. Here is an archive photo from 2005. The oasis sign is no longer there, but the Arby’s is. This area was changed by the new owner Tom Lasse shortly after this picture was taken. You can even pretend to milk Bessie.


Janesville Oasis 2005

Bessie the Cow in Janesville

After paying homage to Bessie, we had another historical marker to see on Janesville’s south side. This marker is dedicated to the Blackhawk War and Black Hawk Grove.  It has two sides.  Blackhawk Credit Union sponsored this important marker.

Blackhawk Grove and War marker

Black Hawk Marker in Janesville

Relax at Palmer Park nearby Rotary Gardens.


It was soon going to be dark, and it was time to go to our final destination, Rotary Botanical Gardens to see their Holiday Light Show. It was fantastic, the largest Christmas Light Show we ever went to.

Rotary Gardens sign IMG_9266

Rotary Pond IMG_9396 brighter

Since there is so much to do in Janesville, staying overnight is a good idea.  One hotel that helped some friends of ours after a fire was the Baymont.  They gave them shelter while they looked for another place to stay.


Janesville was a lot of fun and has many activities for young and old alike. We plan on returning to the garden in May 2016  to see it in bloom.

New Glarus – Wisconsin’s Little Switzerland

11-6-10 and other visits

Wisconsin is a state diverse with many cultures, many from parts of Europe. New Glarus was settled by immigrants from Switzerland in 1845 from the canton of Glarus.  People have continued to immigrate here since then and kept the Swiss culture forefront in the city’s atmosphere.  It’s a great place to visit when a trip to Switzerland is not possible.

New Glarus sign

One of  the first views upon entering town is two flags and a sign.

New Glarus sign


And the great view looking up the  street.

New Glarus downtown


New Glarus  is also the trail head of the Sugar River Trail.

Sugar River Trail sign

It used to be a railroad track.  The Trail  goes all the way to Brodhead. The restored depot is now a gathering center for visitors and residents alike.

New Glarus Depot


New Glarus also is known for the beautiful “Cows on Parade”.  Beautiful painted cows are all over town in front of businesses.

New Glarus Hotel Chef cow


This cow is in front of the New Glarus Hotel Restaurant, a huge Chalet-style building like many downtown. We enjoyed a great lunch there once.

New Glarus Hotel



Across from the New Glarus Hotel is The Maple Leaf Cheese and Chocolate Haus will make your mouth water upon entering.

Maple Leaf Cheese and Chocolate Haus


A bit further up the street is the famous New Glarus Bakery. Their Stollen pastry is in big demand.

New Glarus Bakery



At the end of the street is the beautiful Swiss United Church of Christ. In front is a statue dedicated to the early settlers of New Glarus.

Swiss United Church of Christ and statue


What was formerly Robert’s European Imports and Gifts, is now Esther’s European Imports. Among their wares are Swiss Army knives and much more.

Esther's European Imports


The New Glarus Primrose Winery is also a great place for wine and gifts. Most made from Wisconsin grapes.

New Glarus Primrose Winery


Open during the summer is the Swiss Historical Village.

Swiss Historical Village sign


Swiss Historical Village building


For a great visit to the Old World without needing a passport, come to New Glarus!



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Summer Fun at the Dane County Fair

3rd Wed-Sunday in July

Nothing says summer like the Dane County Fair. Its held at the Alliant Energy Center.  Many events we enjoy in Madison take place here including Bratfest and The WHA Garden Expo.

Welcome to the fair


There is so many things to do here. There is the carnival with lots of rides.

 Dane county Fair Midway

Bumper cars

Exhibits from the 4-H club in many categories. I especially like the food-related displays.


Dane County Fair cakes


Small Animal Exhibits

Dane county fair chickens


It’s not Wisconsin without cows either.  You can stroll through the barn where they stay before being shown. And you can watch that too.

Cow barn

Cow showing


Don’t Forget the fair food!

cream puffRoor Beer Barrel

Wild West Soda

One of my favorites is Wild West Soda. They made the most refreshing chocolate soda that reminded me of an old-fashioned soda fountain. The flavor was great!

Come to the Dane County fair for a great day with the farmers representing Dane County!