Tag Archive | Wisconsin Dells

Have Your Photo Struck at H.H. Bennett Studio in the Wisconsin Dells


7-25-18

Our last old-fashioned picture was in 2008, also on Broadway but not here. It was at Professor Samuel S. Porter’s Old-Time Portraits.

To treat ourselves for our 19th wedding anniversary that occurred the day before, we arranged to get a tintype picture at the famous H.H. Bennett Studio on Broadway in the Wisconsin Dells.  Our Photographer was David Rambow, expert in wet-plate photography since 2001. He is also Site Director for Wisconsin Historic Sites under the umbrella of the Wisconsin State Historical Society. We booked it well in advance at the H.H. Bennett website, deposit is $50. From there you can choose your package and complete your payment during your sitting.

We arrived at 10:30 for our 11 AM sitting, ready to be impressed! I had picked out clothing we had that looked sufficiently “period”, late 1800’s. My lace collar that I wore over my blouse was crocheted by my Grandma Tauchen when they were in style in the 1980’s!

Dave greeted us warmly and invited us to the very studio where Bennett made the Dells famous in the 19th and 20th centuries. This is how the backdrop looks in color.

Behind the chairs are head braces to help you hold still while the picture is taken. This is a long exposure photo.  The darker the studio, the longer the exposure. Since it was a bright sunny day, it only took 6 seconds.

 Photographer Robert Squires was there too and documented our visit. Thanks for the great photo!  He got a picture of Dave installing the prepared wet plate into the camera.  It takes 3-minutes to get it camera-ready after exposure to the chemicals. There is no going back once it is preparing!

 

Dave graciously allowed us to shoot video of getting our photo “struck” so we could show everyone how it’s done! See it below.

We had a great time doing this amazing photo, and they said Al looked like a Civil War vet. We were sent a digital copy ahead of the photo that would be sent in the mail to us.

On August 1st we received our photo in the mail.  It was varnished to help protect it from scratches.  It was beautiful! On the back was David’s info about the photo.

Also some information on how the photo was made.

I already had a frame to put the photo into that looked good with it.

Don’t pass up your opportunity to get a tintype photo taken by David at THE H.H. Bennett Studio!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

River Dawgs-A Taste of Chicago in the Wisconsin Dells!


Closed October 18, 2018

In 2017, Chicago came to the Dells in the form of a great new restaurant called River Dawgs, just off Broadway on River Road. We went for the first time on 7-7-18 and had a great meal! We saw their gyro special posted outside the door and couldn’t pass it up.

 

We went in and it smelled so delicious! Inside is small but not a problem in the summer. Owner Ken Nelson’s only goal is that you leave happy with a great meal that will make you want to come back for more, and we will!

 

Our lunch was ready in about 10 minutes, yum!  The fresh-cut fries were great too.

On another visit, I enjoyed Polish Sausage and Al had a lobster roll, both delicious!

Ken is from Chicago originally. He knew the Dells needed a restaurant with great Chicago tastes, and he filled that niche very nicely, as well as many hungry tummies! View the rest of the menu, we can’t wait to try the many other offerings on future visits!

Stop by River Dawgs, tell Ken we sent you!

 

Stand Rock Indian Ceremonial Reawakened


8-22-15

Stand Rock Indian Ceremonial SignCrystal Grande Music Theatre sign 8-22-15

Stand Rock0001Stand Rock0004Stand Rock0002

This event has a proud history, going back 80 years. This used to be a nightly performance at Stand Rock in the Upper Dells until the 1990’s, when it was discontinued.  We first heard about this special event when we visited H.H. Bennett Studio in June, they gave us this flyer.

Stand Rock0008

This event ties together all the journeys we experienced this summer. Many of our experiences touched upon Native American events and places. Especially our trip to Lac du Flambeau in July. Now in August, we got to see a performance that has not been done in years for the public. Photos without flash were allowed during the show, no video.

We arrived at the Crystal Grand Music Theatre at around 1:00 to see some of the native crafts for sale and perhaps enjoy some of the food they provided for guests.

Stand Rock Indian Ceremonial Marketplace

The food tent was especially busy, they couldn’t keep the fry bead in stock.  Al got one piece of fry bread that we shared. Being a cook has its advantages though, a few days later I learned how to make the Indian tacos at home following this recipe. See result above. It was delicious!

Went inside to see more exhibits and crafts and people. Saw two familiar faces there, H.H. Bennett’s Great-granddaughter Betsy Grant was there, whom we met at the June event.  Angela R. Davis was also there, we met her at the State Historical Museum in Madison when we went to visit.

Betsy Grant, H.H. Bennett Great-grandaughterWisconsin State Historical Museum

Crystal Grand native art display

It was now 3:00 and time for the performance after being introduced by Melanie Tallmadge Sainz, Director of the Little Eagle Arts Foundation. Also by Cheryl Boehmke,  President of the Friends of H.H.Bennett Studio.  She also is a colleague of Ms. Sainz and together they produced this historic program.  Thank you!

Stand Rock Indian Ceremonial Introduction

The show begins, three drummers form the framework and provide the beat for each of the dances performed.

Ho-Chunk Drummers

Each of the dances were more exciting than the last, the audience of nearly 500 was mesmerized.

Indian Ceremonial Dance

The Sunrise Call of the Zuni was beautiful.

Sunrise Call of the Zuni

It was sung during the performance.

This is the Eagle Dance.

The Eagle Dance

We also heard a rare recording of Chief Evergreen Tree imitating birds and other animals.

Chief Evergreen Tree

The performance concluded with the performers exiting the stage with the crowd enthusiastically cheering. In the lobby we got to talk to them and take pictures.

Indian performers

You could tell the performers were having as much fun as the audience.

Indian Dancer Feather headdress

We had a great time and hope it will be repeated.  This would be a great tradition to bring back to the Wisconsin Dells, which is far more than water parks.

Hot Website Links

Little Eagle Arts Foundation

H.H. Bennett Studio

Wisconsin Historical Society

Crystal Grand Music Theater

Ho-Chunk Gaming

Lower Dells Boat Tour – Wisconsin Dells


6-17-15

After our Upper Dells Boat Tour, it was time for the Lower Dells. It begins at the place where we caught the shuttle earlier. We were on the 2:30 tour on the Chief.  This tour is about 1/2 hour-long. The Upper Dells tour is just over 2 hours.

Dells  Boat Tour ticket Office

Dells Boat Tour Schedule 2015

Waiting area before coming aboard, we are ready for part 2 of our adventure!

Lower Dells Boat Tour entry WM

The landing, time to get aboard!

Lower Dells Boat Landing WM

Lower Dells Boat Landing  WM

We are on our way, the dam is on our left. It separates the Upper and Lower Dells.

Lower Dells Boat Tour launch in Dells WM

We soon reach the area of the rock formations and this is the first one, Cow in the Milk Bottle. And the whole rock face.

Cow in Milk Bottle Rock Face WM

Cow in the Milk Bottle Rock at Lower Dells WG

Shortly after this we were shown the last known “rafter’s hook”. A man would drift down the river on a raft of logs to be sold further downstream. He lived on this log raft and when he needed a rest,  he would tie up to this hook to keep stationary.

Rafters Hook inset at Lower Dells WM

 

Here are a couple of rafter photos from back then.

Rafter on WI River H.H. Bennett 1886

Next we saw the Baby Grand Piano rock structure. It sure looks like one! It’s the lower rock on the right.

Baby Grand Piano rock in Lower Dells WM

 We didn’t just see great rock structures, we also saw development along the river. This is Rivers Edge Resort.

Rivers Edge Resort in Wisconsin Dells WM

 

We come across a Streamflow Gaging Station, used to measure water levels in the river. Nothing unusual so far this year.

Streamflow Gaging Station in Lower Dells WMStreamflow Gaging Station sign

Here comes the Sugar Bowl, and we go right between them. Ahead of us is a Jet Boat about to do just that!

Sugar Bowl and Jet Boat WM

 

Here is Lone Rock, the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) believe a spirit of the Dells live in a cave inside this rock.

Lone Rock in Lower Dells WM

We conclude our tour with a look at the Ink Stand. That green growth is called lichen.

The Ink Stand in Lower Dells WM

 We made our way back to shore and thanked the crew, Captain Trent and Kaylee and the other young man for the great tour.

Captain Trent and Kaylee-Chief Crew

 

This is classic Dells fun, we hope you get to take both tours when you come here to visit.

Upper Dells Boat Tour – Wisconsin Dells


6-17-15

Dells Boat Tour – Tickets and Pricing

The last time we took this tour was June 30, 2002 and it was time we did it again. This time we were armed with a better camera (mine) which also shot HD video. Al also had his own camera and he sat in the lower deck, giving another point a view. We arrived at the Lower Dells Dock parking area, the first Upper Dells ride was at 10:00, a shuttle bus took us to the dock stairs to catch it. These are the boat rides available in summer this year.

Dells  Boat Tour ticket Office

Dells Boat Tour Schedule 2015

The view from the top of the stairs of the boats. Our boat is the Red Cloud, on the left back.

Upper Dells Dock watermark

Before you board, you have the chance to get a souvenir picture taken, available upon return. It is $20, includes a 8 x 6″, 2 – 4 x 6″ and three wallet-sized prints, plus a photo key chain for the wallet picture. What a good deal, here is our picture. You can get the same done at the Lower Dells. Just like what H.H. Bennett used to do over 100 years ago.

Upper Dells Al and Laurie Kutil  6-17-15

Now we are on board and on our way!  We were lucky to have such a beautiful day. We are visible from the bridge to passersby as we go around the bend to the left, heading to the Gateway up ahead.

Bridge View 2852 WM

Upper Dells Boat Tour leaving WM

We approach the “Gateway of the Dells”, Romance Rock and High Cliff.

Romance Cliff and High Rock - Upper Dells Watermark

The dignified Chief Black Hawk’s Profile.

Chief Black Hawk's Profile watermark

The Giant’s Shield

Giant's Shield watermark  in Upper Dells

This majestic rock is called “Signal Point”, the entrance to Witches Gulch.

Upper Dells Rock formation WM

It is time for our first stop at Witches Gulch. We disembark and walk the path between tall rock formations, you can see the forest above you. Very beautiful!

Red Cloud boat at Upper Dells

Witch's Gluch Path WM at Dells

On our left is Witches Bathtub.

Witch's bathtub in Witch's Gulch in Dells WM

Spooky Lane,  and then…

Witch's Gulch Narrow Passage WM

It opens up to a wide area and concessions/restrooms are available.  We had 20 minutes before we had to get back on the boat.

Concession Stand at Witch's Gulch at Dells WM

There was also this plaque attached to the side of the rock on our right.

Witche's Gulch Plaque

Back on board, we crossed the river to our next attraction, the dog jumping across Stand Rock to re-create Ashley Bennett’s jump that made the Dells famous.  We assembled in the small amphitheater with this great view.

Stand Rock in Dells WM

The picture on the sign showing the jump.

Stand Rock Jump in Upper Dells

The dog jumping is a German Shepherd named Radar. Let’s watch!

How exciting that was!  Radar is perfectly safe, there is a net below to catch him if he fell.

We continue along the trail, seeing other beautiful rock structures and scenic views of the river.

Toadstool Rock Upper Dells WM

There is another concession building at the end of the trail.  There is another sign explaining how this area came to be.

Concession Building collage at Stand Rock in Dells WM

Sign at Stand Rock in Dells

Scenic View of the river, on our way back to the boat, now docked on the other side opposite of where we dis-embarked.

Scenic View  3187 WM

Pointed ledge at Stand Rock WM

Path to boat in Upper Dells from Stand Rock WM

Stand Rock area  - Upper Dells WM

Tall Rock formation 3204 WM

It was regretfully time to go, so beautiful here.

Back on the boat after Stand Rock 3210 WM

On our way back to port, what a wonderful ride! A last look at The Palisades rock formation.

The Palisades at Stand Rock 3212 WM

As we headed back to our home port, Brendan offered us copies of the Dells Boat Tour Official Guidebook for sale for $5, a great memento of our tour.

Official Guidebook of Dells Boat Tours

Saw a PT-109 shark boat on the way back, cool!

PT-109 3251 WM at Dells

Also saw a Jet Boat.

Jetboat Upper Dells Coming Back Al Kutil WM

Almost back, view from the bridge.

Upper Dells Boat Tour  Returning WM

Returning to dock Upper Dells WM

The crew secures the boat to the dock at the building.  On the dock is the stand where we pick up our picture.

Upper Dells Boat Tour Station Building WM

Photo Pickup at Upper Dells Dock 3292

Captain Bob and Brendan wish everyone a great day and hope you enjoyed your tour!

Captain Bob and Brendan Upper Dells Red Cloud crew frame WMDells Boats Come Back in Fall

Hot Website Links

Chamber of Commerce

Dells Boat Tours

Wisconsin Dells Information

Dells.com Deals

Explore Downtown Dells

City of Wisconsin Dells

Travel Wisconsin

H.H. Bennett Studio in the Wisconsin Dells – A SESQUICENTENNIAL Celebration!


6-14-15

H.H.Bennett Studio at Dells

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

This was  a very special weekend at H.H. Bennett Studio, they were celebrating their 150th Anniversary and we had to be a part of it. It was our first time visiting and we were in for a treat! Admission is $7 for adults, but waived on this weekend. They always accept donations. There were costumed interpreters, even Ho-Chunk music and dancing since H.H. Bennett was kind to them and allowed him to photograph them. Just outside of the right-side building is a rotating picture display.

Bennett Studio Rotating Pictures at Dells

H.H. Bennett was a pioneer in photography, he invented the “snapper” in 1878. You no longer had to sit perfectly still for 5 minutes or more to get a portrait taken. He took pictures all over the Dells with his new technique. His most famous shot was his son Ashley jumping at Stand Rock. It took him 17 tries to get this shot. Bennett’s work helped bring people to the Dells and the tourism industry was born there!

Stand Rock Jump in Upper DellsAshley Jump at Stand Rock

Just before a Dells Boat Tour left the dock, Bennett would take a picture of the group in the boat and have the picture developed and printed by the time the group came back. It took A LOT longer to do the tour in the 1880’s, you had to help row the boat! Now it only takes two hours and the crew does all the work.

Photo by H.H. Bennett

Photo by H.H. Bennett

The tradition continues now, we got our picture taken just before the tour we did three days later.

Upper Dells Al and Laurie Kutil  6-17-15

We went inside, you could get many souveniers, including prints of Bennett’s famous photos.  The docents near the museum entrance greeted and welcomed us. We knew this was going to be fun! The studio continues to support the Ho-Chunk Nation by selling their jewelery and books.

Inside H.H. Bennett Studio at the Dells

Ho-Chunk Indian Jewelery at Bennet Studio.

I hear drums!  A couple of representatives of the Ho-Chunk are going to be performing some dance and song for the guests. Two talented children showed us what they have learned so far about their culture’s traditions.

There was much to see inside the museum, new displays and really liked how the older building showed how his studio probably originally looked. Also the history of cameras and what ordinary people used in times past, including myself!

Bennett’s descendants are still involved with the museum today. Betsy Grant, Bennett’s Great-Granddaughter, was on hand to tell us about his many accomplishments. It was great meeting you Betsy!

Bennett Legacy Lives OnBetsy Grant, H.H. Bennett Great-grandaughter

Bennett Legacy Lives onsign

3-D display using Bennett’s photos

Bennett Display at the Dells

Bennett Studio display

Stereo viewers, precursor to Viewmasters.

Stereo Viewers ar Bennett Studio in the Dells

The Bennett Studio, and displays inside.

H.H. Bennett Studio in dells

Bennet Studio Collage

I had my picture taken with H.H. Bennett himself  🙂  Al wasn’t nearby at the time.

Selfie with H.H. Bennett at Bennett Studio

On the 2nd floor they showed 40 minutes of silent film that Miriam Bennett shot from the 1920’s through the 60’s. These excerpts are Broadway Street scenes from the 20’s, 50’s and some Ho-Chunk dancing. I added some music to the movies.

Miriam Bennett Films at Bennett Studio

We had a great time learning about this great Photographer. Nearby is the house where he lived, on 825 Oak Street. The season for visiting here is usually early May through late October.

H.H. Bennett House in the Dells 2

H.H. Bennett Original Studio in the Dells

Wisconsin Dells – Part 2 – Attractions and More!


1-15-15 , 8-6-16 and other visits

Wisconsin Dells sign

We are fortunate living within 50 miles of this great area of Wisconsin with so much fun and beauty.  Here I am going to touch on other parts of the Dells,  Broadway being the main focus of our first excursion.   We have been to some of the attractions and hope to get to more of them when summer comes back around.

Our first trip together to the Dells was the Dells Boat Tour.  We enjoyed this trip on 6-30-02.  This is one of the oldest attractions and most popular. It’s two parts, Upper and Lower Dells. You can choose just one or do both in a day. We did both and sure had a lot of fun! This view is where you begin the upper Dells tour. We did the tours again on 6-17-15.

Upper Dells boatlanding

 The Lower Dells, this is Kilbourn Dam.

Lower Dells view and Kilbourne Dam

At the top of the landing you get a great view of the boats below.

Lower Dells Boat Landing in the Dells

The boat tours and many other attractions are located on the Wisconsin Dells Parkway.  This is one of the Wisconsin Ducks, another tour venue, this time on an amphibious vehicle enabling it to traverse both water and land.  There is also an Army Duck tour.  We have not taken those tours yet. You can take a selfie by an Army Duck on the Parkway.

Wisconsin Dells Parkway

Army Duck selfie at Dells

Also on the parkway is Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty and recently added, the Lumberjack Show. We ate there once (yum!) but not yet seen the new show. The food was great! Open spring through fall.

Paul Bunyan in the Dells

We enjoyed a great lunch at Sprecher’s on 6-17-15 before out Lower Dells boat ride.

Sprecher's in the Wisconsin Dells

 Also on the Parkway is Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park. This is quite a big theme park. Complete with a Trojan Horse.  They also have a hotel too.

Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park in Dells

Top Secret is a thrill-based attraction.

Top Secret at the Dells

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In 2012 we enjoyed a long-time music venue since the 1970’s, The Wisconsin Opry.  If you like Classic Country music with a bit of gospel, you will enjoy coming here. We plan on returning this summer.  Before the show, you enjoy a turkey dinner.

Wisconsin Opry Sign back at Dells

Wisconsin Opry in Dells

Wisconsin Opry Ensemble at Dells

 There is more to see here than the Wisconsin Opry though.  There is also Cindy’s Café (we’ve eaten there), also an antique and craft store. You will have a great time here! The Dickinson Family welcomes you!

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Not far from the Opry is one of the  Ho-Chunk Gaming resorts. We don’t gamble, we go there to have a great meal, also entertainment! Something for everyone there, including a hotel. They often have live music performances as well. Summer of 2016 we went back to watch Wasira Ho-Chunk dancing for one hour. It was a free show it was great! Enjoy an excerpt here.

Ho-Chunk Casino in the Dells

Inside Ho-Chunk Casino

Inside Ho-Chunk 2

wasira-poster-at-ho-chunk-summer-2016

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 There are many themed hotels in the Dells to give your overnight stay a special touch.  Our favorite one on 223 Wisconsin Ave, the Parkway Motel with a train theme. You can stay in the 1966 Soo Line Caboose ($85 per night, $105 weekends), or the main hotel.

Antoni Wolan (owner) passed away on June 20, 2015.  We are not sure if the stand or motel will be re-opening.

Parkway Motel in the Dells

Soo Line Caboose hotel room in Dells

 Take a look inside, very nice!

Inside Soo Caboose in Dells

Spring through fall, you can also get a Vienna Hot Dog and other great food at their Raildog stand, served from a historic 1956 caboose. We plan on coming back in the spring for a great lunch here!

Parkway Motel and Raildog in Dells

Listen in on their low power radio station, it may not be on the air any more.

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You can even get married  Las Vegas-style at the Dells Bells Wedding Chapel. Located across from the Amtrak station.

Dells Bells Wedding Chapel

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On our visit in January, we went bowling and had pizza for lunch at Knuckleheads Bowling and Indoor Amusement Park. We sure had fun and the pizza was delicious!

Knuckleheads at the Dells

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If shopping is your thing, there is plenty to be had here.   On Broadway is plenty of shopping, though some stores are closed in the winter. Another store near Broadway is Aunt Jenny’s Got It All Store.

Aunt Jenny's Got It All Store in Dells

 If you like the name-brand stores, stop by Tanger Outlets mall.

Tanger Outlets Mall in Dells

 We hope you enjoyed this brief overview of the Wisconsin Dells.  There is much to see and do here. Wave goodbye to the Sinclair dinosaur in Lake Delton as you leave Tanger Outlets at this nearby Citgo Dino Stop. View more Dinos around the country here.

Citgo Dino Goodbye in Dells

Hot Website Links

Wisdells.com

Explore Downtown Dells

Dells.com

Chamber of Commerce

Wisconsindells.com

Dells Country Historical Society

Parkway Motel and Raildog

Ho-Chunk Gaming – All Locations