Tag Archive | Octagon House

We Stop for Octagon Houses and Barns!

If there is any building structure we have found interesting and unique in our travels the octagon design has topped our interest list. It was a popular design in the 1800’s and some of these buildings have become tourist attractions. here are the ones we have seen in our travels.

The Milton House

Milton House


Watertown Octagon House

Octagon House



An Octagon barn near Hillsboro, a common sight there.

Octagon Barn near Hillsboro


Another barn was seen on a trip out to Argyle.

Octagon Barn Near Argyle


Sometimes the octagon shape was only visible from the inside and just a portion outside. The Larson House in McFarland is an example. It had a room in that shape, three sides visible from the outside. It was the upstairs Master bedroom.

Larson House Master Octagon Bedroom windows


Octagon Room Larson House

Lastly, we even saw the Langworthy Octagon House during our trip to Dubuque, IA

Langworthy Octagon House


There are many more to see in and around Wisconsin and our neighboring states. We’ll add them here as we see them!


Genoa City – Gateway to Wisconsin

4-21-12 and 2-2-15

Genoa City SignGenoa City Info

The Village of Genoa City is only 2 miles from the Illinois border in Walworth County, giving it the distinct honor of being called “The Gateway to Wisconsin.”   The village is best known as the fictional setting of the soap “The Young and the Restless.” Genoa City is a small community of 2,766, we received a warm “hello” from passersby as we explored downtown. It was first known as Genoa Junction  and first platted in 1841. Many of the early settlers immigrated here from the Italian Alps.  We also discovered that the first Swedish settlers in Wisconsin made Genoa City their home. In Veterans Park is a marker in a beautiful shelter and had a Swedish flag flying outside.  The park also had a mural painted under a bridge that goes over Nippersink Creek.

Swedish Settler Marker in Genoa City


Genoa City Mural 2003

This was downtown in 2012.



Downtown Genoa City

And in 2015.  The village has changed a little since our last visit. Some building improvements have been made or new businesses started.

Downtown Genoa City 2015

Genoa City Public Library – They were very helpful answering our questions about Genoa City and locating the former Paiser Pickle Factory, in the process of being torn down.  This is the last building remaining. Thank you for helping us find it! It may be gone the next time we come by.

Genoa City Public Library


Paiser Pickle Factory in Genoa City with pickle jar

The American Legion

Genoa City American Legion

This beautiful Victorian is the Haase-Lockwood Funeral Home.  It was was built in 1899 and 1900 for $8000.  It was a private residence until 1943 when it was made into a funeral home.  The Haase family bought it in 1953 and added on in the late 1950’s.  Bruce Haase and his family were born and raised in that building and his mother still lives upstairs.  They have done some landscaping since 2012, new steps on the right and the post lights.

Haase-Lockwood Funeral Home in Genoa City


Haase-Lockwood Funeral Home 2015 in Genoa City

Lost Sock Laundromat in 2012, then in 2015. What a big change in 3 years!

Lost Sock Laundromat in Genoa CityLost Sock Laundrymat 2015


The historic Citizens State Bank building, now State Bank of the Lakes.

State Bank of the Lakes in Genoa City


Next we turn right onto Walworth street.

Straight to Curly Haircare

Streight to Curley Haircare in Genoa City

Next door is Keller’s Food and Spirits

Kellers Food and Spirits in Genoa City


After talking to a nice lady at the Police station, I found out the location of the former Opera House, currently vacant. It’s right next to Keller’s.

Genoa City Opera House


The post office. They helped us find the former movie house in this red building.

Genoa City post office


Former Genoa City Movie House


Get groceries at Genoa City Foods.  One thing I have noticed is how the people in this village are close-knit.  I saw this sign outside of the grocery store. Rick Eklund, a resident of Genoa City, passed away 1-26-15.

Genoa City Foods


Rick Eklund sign in Genoa City

Speaking of food, we enjoyed a great Fish Boil dinner at Fitzgerald’s Genoa Junction restaurant in 2012.

Fitzgerald's Genoa Junction in Genoa City

Stop in Genoa City, you will feel welcome here!


Historic Downtown Dubuque

August 4 & 5, 2014

Downtown Dubuque is a study of 19th century architecture with most of the beautiful buildings still in use.  We will explore some of Dubuque’s landmarks that were quite interesting to see.

The Hancock House Bed and Breakfast, a Queen Anne-style home.

Hancock House Bed and Breakfast


The Carnegie-Stout Public Library

Carnegie Stout Public Library in Dubuque

The Courthouse and Old Jail, the first in Dubuque, now a museum.

Dubuque Courthouse

Dubuque Old Jail


The beautiful Town Clock in Town Clock Plaza, restored in 1971.
Dubuque Town ClockTown Clock plaque

The red Grand Opera House,  providing entertainment for the Dubuque area since 1890.

Grand Opera House in Dubuque


Cable Car Square has many places to shop or relax with a cup of coffee. The Fenelon Place Elevator is also located here in this part of downtown.

Cable Car Square selfieFenelon Place Elevator in Dubuque

Redstone Inn and Suites

Redstone Inn and Suites Dubuque


Monks Kaffee Pub

Monks Kaffee Pub



 City Hall

 Dubuque City Hall

Edward Langworthy Octagon House




Langworthy Octagon House

We saw this building just before leaving town, the former H & W  Brewery. It is an impressive building not in use at this time. Hopefully, someone will step in and restore it.

H & W Brewery


We had a great tour of historic Dubuque and know there is more yet to discover in the future.


Stop and Learn in Watertown

Wilkommen to Watertown


Downtown Watertown

Watertown is a city of 23,000 with a rich history carefully preserved.  It was founded by Timothy Johnson.  He arrived at the Watertown site 12-10-1836. He also co-founded nearby Johnson Creek. If you are heading to Watertown from the west, at Rest Area 13, where you can see a historical marker describing hills left by the glaciers called Drumlins.

Drumlin historic marker near Johnson Creek

 German immigrants built many of the historic buildings all over town.  It’s home to the famous Octagon House (shaped like a stop sign), built prior to the Civil War.  The house is now the base of operations for the Watertown Historical Society, and is open for tours April to October, and some special events Nov-March.

Octagon HouseOctagon House marker in Watertown

Also on site is the first Kindergarten in the US.  The white building is behind the Octagon House along with the an early settler’s farm,  both restored. Watertown has many brochures for self-guided walking tours available.

First Kindergarden and Farm

 A marker commemorating this school is on the side of the building.

First Kindergarden marker in Watertown

 The red barn also has a marker.

Red Barn plaque in Watertown

We also paid our respects at Memorial Park, where a tall Civil War Monument stands, erected in 1899.  Also more recent monuments to soldiers in more recent wars.

Memorial Park Watertown

The downtown is quite beautiful too.  Be sure to stop by the Chamber of Commerce if they are open.

Watertown Chamber of Commerce

The beautiful Watertown Public Library, the present building in use since June 14, 1907.

Watertown Library

The Cole Memorial Bridge is the centerpiece of downtown, the Rock River runs under it.

Cole Memorial Bridge in Watertown


Cole Memorialbridge plaque


We also discovered this site was also important during the Black Hawk War of 1832.

Black Hawk Trail marker in Watertown

Many murals also adorn the sides of many buildings highlighting Watertown’s early history.  Here is a pretty circus mural, picture taken in 2010. It is somewhat obscured now by the business occupying the building.

Circus Mural in Watertown

 Watertown is known also for many buildings constructed of brick made from a special light color clay found near Milwaukee.  Because the clay was so plentiful, Milwaukee was dubbed “Cream City”  The Octagon House is built from this brick.

We have also enjoyed patronizing some of the great businesses here. Berres Brothers Coffee Roasters is our favorite place for the best coffee ever! Not just coffee but a cafe serving breakfast and lunch.

BB Building cropBerres Brothers Billboard in Watertown

Another great place is Mullen’s Dairy Bar downtown.

Mullens Dairy Bar

Another favorite place is Glenn’s Market and Catering. They make their own meat products and so much more!  Even have a selection of gluten-free products. We highly recommend stopping here for your grilling and party needs!

Glenn's Market sign in Watertown Glenn's Market and Catering in Watertown

 We also enjoy shopping at the Bethesda Thrift Store when we stop in Watertown. We always find great stuff here!

 Photo by Bethesda

Photo by Bethesda

Across the street from Glenn’s is the former Railroad depot, now Garden Path Floral Garden and Gifts.

Garden Path Florist depot in Watertown

If you look right of the depot, you see an impressive large building up on a hill. It’s Maranatha Baptist University, since 1968. One hundred years earlier in 1872, it was Sacred Heart College, then Sacred Heart Military Academy in 1955. Read about the early history here.

Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown


There is much more to learn in Watertown and will be back again soon!

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