Tag Archive | Fox River

De Pere – City on the Fox River


Downtown De Pere

De Pere is a city of over 23,000 located in Brown County and is a suburb of Green Bay.

We enjoyed lunch here with our friend Melinda who writes the blog, Wisconsin Historical Markers. We help with content for each other’s blogs with information and photos and it was great to finally met in person.  She is gracious and we had a good visit. Our lunch was at Chateau De Pere, a beautiful restaurant on the bank of the Fox River. The food was great too.

Chateau De Pere outside

Chateau De Pere dining room

Chateau De Pere patio

Selfie With Melinda Roberts

Loved the view at the waterfront too. People were out enjoying the beautiful weather of the beginning of summer.

Riverfront in De Pere

The view looking left from here.

Fox River and dam in De Pere

The Fox River State Trail is accessible from here as well.

Fox River State Trail in De Pere

Also docked here is the Fox River Tours boat, looks like fun! Maybe on our next visit.

Fox River Tours in De Pere

After lunch we went around the corner to Voyageur Park to enjoy the view.

IVoyageur Park sign in De Pere

Voyager Park in De Pere

Cute Polo Resto building restored and maintained by the De Pere Historical Society. Under that grey block is a time capsule, due to be opened in 2057.

Polo Resto historic building in De Pere

Inside of Polo Resto in De Pere

Also a new historical marker is ready for  viewing.

Voyageur Park historical marker

A well-designed and beautiful community, a repeat visit is planned for next year.

Pelicans in De Pere


Portage – Where The North Begins!

11-27-12 & 1-19-14

Portage sign

Downtown Portage

Portage is a city of 10,000 with a fascinating history going back to June 14, 1673.  Fr. Jacques Maquette and Louis Joliet “portaged” here, making their way to the upper Mississippi to map and explore.  Portage is in a unique spot, the Fox and Wisconsin rivers meet here, making it easy for explorers to go to the Mississippi from here. This settlement was dubbed “la portage” by the French, latter anglicized to Portage.

The city has many markers showing the approximate spots where  many of these events took place.  If you enter town on Hwy. 51,  you encounter a red granite monument that was dedicated in 1905. It is close to where Marquette and Joliet entered the Wisconsin River, which is across the street.

Marquette and Joliet Marker

At nearby Pauquette Park, you see the marker showing the location of the Ferry landing at the  Wisconsin river.

Ferry Landing place

Bridge over Wisconsin River

Another important historic site in Portage is the Historic Indian Agency House.  It was built by the Federal Government for John Kinzie and his wife Juliette in 1832.  It is situated at the portage point between the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers.  Many events take place here throughout the year, the main season between May-October 15.

Indian Agency House in Portage WI

Other historic buildings have also been preserved,  Fort Winnebago and the Surgeon’s Quarters is another seasonal site open May through October 15.

Surgeons Quarters Portage

In town there are just as many interesting sights.  Portage was also home to playwright Zona Gale. Her former home is now called Museum at the Portage and is also open seasonally.

The Zona Gale house had a fire  April 13 and is closed until further notice.

Museum at the Portage

After achieving success, she bought a home for her parents. It is now the headquarters of the Women’s Civic League of Portage.  It has been an active organization for over 80 years.

Women Civic League Gale Home

To further honor Zona Gale’s achievements,  The Zona Gale Theatre is the  arts center in Portage.  Zona was very active in Portage until her death in 1938.

Zona Gale Theatre

The museum and this house are part of the Society Hill Historic District, where the wealthy and leadership of early Portage lived.

Society Hill Historic District sign

Many of the mansions are constructed of yellow “Portage brick” , similar to the “Cream City (Milwaukee) brick from Milwaukee but made in Portage in the 19th century. Read more about this brick on pages 15-18 of this document.

Society Hill District Yellow Brick house


A historic canal also runs through Portage. It was completed in 1876, connecting the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers for easy access in town.  It now has a recreational path alongside. Friends of the Canal have been working to revitalize the area around the canal.  Look directly ahead in the photo and you see Canal Feed and Seed mill, constructed in 1861. No longer a mill, the property is now The Big Chicken Resale and antique store, since 2011.

Canal Seed and Feed 1861

All this exploring can build up an appetite!  We have enjoyed meals at three establishments in Portage. One is The Red Apple. Another is The Levee. Also the big truck stop Petro off of I-90/I-94/I-39, Exit 108A (Hwy 78S). Their Iron Skillet Restaurant is wonderful!

The Red Apple Restaurant in PortageThe Levee Restaurant in PortagePetro Iron Skillet  in Portage

It’s time to work off that great meal you ate!  In the winter, if you are into winter sports, you are close to Cascade Mountain. Its just around the bend on 90/94 if you continue past Petro. You can’t miss the large billboard on the side of one of their buildings. Here is video taken by someone snowboarding down.

Cascade Mountain sign

Cascade Mountain


Ski Hill

Cascade Mountain cut out with us

We have enjoyed our visits to Portage. Come for the sports, come for the rich history!

Related Articles and Sites

* Cascade Mountain

* City of Portage

* Chamber of Commerce

* Amtrak in Portage

* Portage Daily Register newspaper

* Museum at the Portage

* Portage WWII History Museum

* Portage Canal Society

* “La Portage” Gets a Visit From the British

* Fort Winnebago Surgeons Quarters

* Indian Agency House

* Gretchen Willis Photography

* Downtown Portage Walking Tour pdf

Montello (Mont L’eau) – Granite Waterfall City

11-6-11 and 8-12-15

Downtown Montello

Montello mural

Our first trip to Montello, WI was not a complete view, so we returned August 2015 for updates and to see it on a sunny day.  This town is famous for its granite waterfalls, formerly a quarry  in the 19th century.   The granite in Montello has been proven to be especially durable over time. Near the falls is a small parking lot with some historical signs. The one in the middle has been repainted. Here is the early history of the community and the city clock.

City Clock in Montellomontello history park

Montello History

Montello History 2

Montello History 3

Also this beautiful piece of artwork by the signs. Painted by Pamela (C.J.) Sell.  The frame by Tom Stickler. Visit her website here and buy her artwork too!

C.J. Sell Jacob Ladder Quilt and Heron Art in Montello

There is another small waterfall close to the street, maintained by the Montello Lions Club. This was their first community project in Montello.  The falls were dedicated June 25, 1966.  Learn more from the Montello Historic Preservation Society.

Montello Lions Club Waterfall


The falls in action.

The west side of the larger falls on our 2011 visit.

Montello falls


 Here is the same view in 2015, a large bird alighted atop the cross on the chapel. It turns out it was an Osprey.

Montello Falls West ViewBird of Prey on cross in Montello

 Pieces of the quarry equipment are still around in this area.

Mining Equipment in Montello

The front of the falls as seen from Daggett Memorial Park, this historical marker posts are made from the Montello granite.  Along the path are several benches for viewing the falls. Enjoy video of both sides of the falls.

Daggett Memorial Park sign in Montello

Panoramic Montello Falls View from Daggett Park

Granite Falls of Montello


We were prepared for this trip, bring a tripod if you want a real good selfie in front of the falls.

Greetings from Montello selfie

After exploring the falls in 2011 we had lunch in town at Jeff’s River’s Edge restaurant. We had a good view of the Fox River through the window there. On our return visit in 2015 we went to Drews Lakeside Bar and Grill. Kory Drew and Marci greet you like family when you walk in the door. Such a warm and inviting place to relax. The food tasted great after a morning of exploring beautiful Montello.Drew's Lakeside Bar and Grill in Montello

Drews inside in Montello

Buffalo Lake from Drews Lakeside Bar and Grill pier in Montello

Drews is on the edge of Buffalo Lake, they are on the high side so you have to walk down a long flight of stairs first to get to the pier below.  The view is worth it though. You can see the Montello water tower from here.  We also saw the lake from a view across from here in the morning.

Buffalo Lake from launch in Montello

We also visited the dam on the other side of the lake at Krakow Park. It was restored after the floods of 2208, which also damaged the dam. A fine job was done, and it now is a great place for people to fish or just enjoy viewing the water.

Buffalo Lake Krakow Park in Montello

Montello Dam and fisherman in Montello

You can hear the power of the water rushing over the dam. There is a two-sided sign there.

Buffalo Lake sign side 1

Buffalo Lake sign side 2

Let’s see some of the other fine businesses in Montello.

Shirley’s Old Time Barber Shop is across from the River’s Edge.

Shirley's Old Time Barbershop in Montello

Jeff's River's Edge in Montello

View out our Rivers Edge Window in Montello

This view has changed a bit. You are seeing the back of More Healthy Foods and Café outdoor patio.

More Healthy Foods and Cafe between River in Montello

And the front of More Healthy Foods.

More Healthy Food and Cafe

The beautiful Montello Movie Theatre used to be the Opera House, built around 1878. Read about it’s history here.

Montello Theatre

Granite Falls Supper Club for night dining. The front was being repainted when we came back in 2015 by Kel’s Painting.

Granite Falls Supper Club in Montello

B & B’s Country Store for old-fashioned treats.


On our right is Fox Antiques and Nostalgic Gifts. We stopped inside,  what a lot of great items here for the home, including furniture.

Fox Antiques and Nostalgic Gifts in MontelloFox Antiques hours


Historic Vaughn Hall, built in 1912.  On the right side is a mural too.

Vaughn Hall plaque in MontelloVaughn Hall in Montello

Vaughn Hall Mural in Montello

Fairbanks Emporium, it is no longer here in this spot, this building is now undergoing renovation. We believe it moved just outside of downtown, across from the courthouse. There was no identifiable sign on the new building naming the business that I could find.

Fairbanks Emporium in Montello

Fairbanks Emporium in Montello in 2011

Fairbanks Emporium New Building 2015

2011 view from Vaughn Hall looking towards the falls.


And in 2015.

Downtown Montello 2015

While we are at this end of the street, we took a look at the Courthouse.

Montello Courthouse

The Courthouse is on a hill, and just around the hill from here is the historic Charles Samuel Richter House. He was the president of the Montello Granite Company.

Charles Samuel Richter House in Montello

From here you can see the huge historic Cottonwood tree, between 200 and 300 years old. It towers over the landscape. Beautiful! There is a place you can pull over your vehicle to get out and take a closer look. It is Wisconsin’s largest tree.

Historic Cottonwood in Montello

We had a great visit in Montello, a very family-friendly community. Be sure to go to Observatory Hill nearby for a great view of the countyside from above.

Observatory Hill near MontelloObservatory Hill view

Observatory Hill plaque near Montello

Observatory Hill near Montello

Famous Naturalist John Muir grew up near Montello, and you can also visit John Muir Memorial Park to learn more about him. Also watch this video.

11-6-11 John Muir Land of My Youth

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Ennis Lake. The Ice Age Trail goes through this park also.

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