Tag Archive | logging

Pioneer Park Historical Complex in Rhinelander


Pioneer Park Sign in Rhinelander

There is much to see in Rhinelander and this museum is a must-see if you only have one day.

The Pioneer Park Museum Complex is America’s oldest Logging Museum and was once an actual logging camp. It is only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, closed Mondays except for open and end of the season.  During September, open Fridays and Saturdays.

Pioneer Park Historical Complex in Rhinelander WM

This is a self-guided tour, and upon arrival you are greeted by a docent and given a sheet describing each building and exhibit in order so you don’t miss anything. Page 1 and following exhibits.

Pioneer Museum Self-Guided Tour 1

Red's Sawmill  in Rhinelander

Rural School House in Rhinelander

The Civilian Conservation Corps provided jobs during the Depression in the 1930’s.  It also helped build the infrastructure of the National and State Parks throughout our country.

CCP Camp Building

The Fire Barn had a beautiful mural painted on two sides.

Fire Barn Mural in Rhinelander

Three trucks on the inside.

Fire Trucks in Barn

There was a teepee outside of the Fire Barn too. Here we are for scale.

Teepee and us in Rhinelander

Now we head to the Blacksmith Shop, very interesting! when you walk in they have a cross section of Wisconsin trees at the Nicolet National Forest on display.

Blacksmith Shop in Rhinelander museum

Trees in Niccolet National Forest in Wisconsin

Pioneer Museum Self-Guided Tour 2

Duke's Outboard Motor and Boating Museum in Rhinelander

In the main building are many treasures to be seen, some of them animated. We first see a logging camp setup for their dining room.

Logging Camp Dining Room in Rhinelander

As you can see up ahead, this is the door leading to the “captured” Hodag. Also a Hodag “roar” and a mini-sawmill model with moving figures inside. Also Hodag art.

Hodags at Rhinelander museum collage

I just heard the roar from the Hodag on the left. A docent at the museum will press a button to play  the roar.

The Model Sawmill is amazing, its 75 years old! It used to run on steam, now its electric.  Here is some information about the builder. Lets see it in action!

Model Sawmill Info at Rhinelander

This concludes Part 1 of the museum, the half on the right side of the complex.


Part 2 – The Railroad Museum

On the left side are all the railroad cars, the Rhinelander Depot and other artifacts of interest.  Click on pages to expand.

Pioneer Museum Self-Guided Tour 2Pioneer Museum Self-Guided Tour 3

First off is the Steam Hauler, which used to pull logs on a sleigh with ease. It helped cut down the cost of logging and wear and tear on horses!

Steam Hauler in Rhinelander

The Rhinelander Railroad Association has been involved here, and a fine job they have done! They also have a model railroad in the basement level of the depot. I hear the train now! This is simulated, the train is really stationary and does not give rides.

 If you want to ride a real steam train, you need to go to Laona to ride their Lumberjack Steam Train.  Its about 45 minutes west of Rhinelander.

Rhinelander Depot and #5 Engine

Number 5 Thunder Lake Locomotive in Rhinelander

The #5 Engine is still in the process of being restored.  The caboose has been completely restored by the Northwoods Woodworking Club.

Soo Caboose in Rhinelander

 We enjoyed getting the grand tour of the displays by a volunteer from RRA.  He first showed us the model railroad, filling the entire room. How impressive!

RRA Volunteer in RhinelanderModel Railroad at Rhinelander

There were many good displays on the top floor too, even a train stained glass window.

Train Stained Glass window

Depot Displays in Rhinelander

And the grand finalé, we recieved a tour of the car currently off limits to visitors, the “Thunder Lake Company Car”, or President’s Car. Our guide showed us the work still had to be done here, and the need for donations. $10,000 is the goal and there is still a LONG way to go. While you are there you can either put money in the donation box or send a check here.  Interior of car and restoration photos exclusive here.

Pioneer Park addressSave Rhinelander Railroad History

The President's Car in Rhinelander

Restoration in progress description Presidents car in Rhinelander

Thanks very much for showing us so much, you take pride in your work and it shows.  Now to wrap up our tour. here are a few more exhibits.  It was an enjoyable 2 1/2 hours of exploring and we learned a lot!

Pioneer Museum Self-Guided Tour 4

Other Exhibits at the Pioneer Museum

Near the entry take a picture with the hodag and/or a carving of Tom Skubal, a former CCC participant.

Hodag and Deacon's Seat Tom Skubal at Rhinelander

A great time to be had by people of all ages here, especially railroad enthusiasts.  Around the Corner With John McGivern was here in 2014.

Locomotive #5 and us

Stevens Point – Gateway to the Pineries

7-6 and 8, 2015   Portage County

An introduction to the Stevens Point area.

Stevens Point sign

Stevens Point is the Portage County Seat, with a population of 26, 717 with a rich history in the logging industry in the 19th century. We stopped at Pfiffner Pioneer Park  and found out why it’s called the “Gateway to the Pineries”. there is a marker there about that, as well as a marker dedicated to George Stevens, whom the city was named after.

Pfiffner Pioneer Park sign WM

Stevens Point Gateway to the Pineries marker WM\

George Stevens Plaque in Stevens Point

There are other signs at this park describing the interesting history of Stevens Point. They even made pearls buttons!

A Point in Logging History sign in Stevens Point

Before Refrigerators sign in Stevens Point

Buttons From the River sign in Stevens Point

The Riverfront Arts Center is in this park also. You can see the Pineries and Stevens marker in this view.

Riverfront Arts Center in Stevens Point WM

The view across the Wisconsin River shows the water  tower and New Page Paper Mill company.

New Page Paper and watertower in Stevens Point

My husband lived here for one year while he went to college at the University of Wisconsin in 1980.  Former Gov. Lee Dreyfus was inaugurated here on 1-1-79. He relates his experiences here when we last visited in 2001. It’s on that rock in front of the building.

UW Stevens Point Lee Dreyfus WM

Stevens Point is also home to a rather rare and unusual water feature, The Boy With a Leaking Boot. Here it is in operation.

The Boy With The Leaky Boot in Stevens Point WM

Boy With Leaking Boot sign

Many of the early settlers in Stevens Point were Polish, and to honor that heritage, they have a statue of Casmir Pulaski.

Casmir Pulaski Statue in Stevens Point WM

At St. Peter Catholic Church, Cardinal  Karol Wojtyla from Poland came to this church during its Centennial. Two years after this visit he was elected Pope John Paul II.

St. Peter Catholic Church in Stevens Point WM

Stevens Point also has a sister city in Poland.

Stevens Point sister city in Poland

Stevens Point also pays homage to its railroad history, still very active. This is the depot with a train present.

Stevens Point Depot and train WM

Across the street is the Southside Railroad Complex, complete with steam engine and Soo caboose.

Southside Railroad Complex Marker in Stevens Point

Southside Railroad Complex WM

Southside Railroad Complex Front and Back WM

Funds are still being raised for continued renovations of the cars.  Go to SOO2713.org to learn more. There will be an open house here on Sept. 19.

Southside Railroad Complex Open house

For those wishing to arrive in Stevens Point, the Municipal Airport is there to serve your needs.

Municipal Airport Collage in Stevens Point

Downtown is beautiful, having preserved many historic buildings still in use with many businesses. The Mathias Mitchell Public Square has been a gathering place for the community for over a century.

Public Square in Stevens Point WM

Public Square Markers Stevens Point

In the square is also a fountain, complete with a performance schedule.

Public Square Fountain and schedule in Stevens Point

Other features downtown, the former Opera House, “The Fox on Main” is currently vacant. Donations are being collected to refurbish this historic building.

The Fox on Main Opera House in Stevens Point WM

The Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum can also be found on Main.

Central Wisconsin Children's Museum

At the back of the Portage County Public Library parking lot is a marker, it was the site of the first public building in town.

Stevens Point First Public Building marker WM

All this exploring can make you hungry, and we had lunch at two top places. On July 6 we went to the Hilltop Pub and Grill on 4091 Main Street. What a beautiful building too! The food was also delicious, I had the beef brisket sandwich and Al had the Chicken Flippers from the appetizer menu. Yum!

Hilltop Pub and Grill in Stevens Point WM

Beef Brisket Sandwich and Chicken Flippers at Hilltop in Stevens Point

On July 8 we went to Al’s Diner, tucked away in a residential neighborhood on 3324 Jefferson St. We felt welcome from the moment we walked in, and left as friends with the owner Gail Guzman.  Also one of the local ladies were there and we chatted with her as well. We will be back next year on our return visit!

Al's Diner Collage in Stevens Point WM

The menu, also the place mat!

Al's Diner Menu in Stevens Point

We saw one final marker before our visit concluded, the Jordan Dam and Power Plant and marker at Jordan County Park. It is a little hard to find, is was hidden by a large bush in a circle turn-around area. It is on the right side of highway 66 as you leave town.

Jordan Dam marker in Stevens Point

Jordam dam and power Plant marker in Stevens Point WM

Jordan Dam in Stevens Point

It was a great visit to Stevens Point , we are so glad we had a chance to look around!