Wisconsin - Some of my favorite photos

When you take your own photos, the tendency is to love almost all of them, though there are some you deep six right away. It can get hard to select favorites. But I’m going to try. I’m not doing this to pat myself on the back. My purpose is to show you shots I think reflect Wisconsin best among the photos I have taken thus far. I began this section on April 2, 2014, though the photos date back a few years, to 2005 when I arrived to live in Wisconsin.

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I took this shot in Genesee Depot while straddling the rail line across the street from The Union House restaurant, a first class restaurant in the town. It traces its lineage back to 1861. Frankly, I thought when I took this photo that I was dealing with a building that either now or back in the day dealt with the Milwaukee and Mississippi Railroad. When I came home, I researched it and discovered the building is much larger than it looks here, and is the home of the This & That Craft Mill. It features the work of a multitude of local artisans and conducts creative classes to help you paint, knit, crochet, scrapbook or more.

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A barn and much more. This great old red barn is located on CH DL in eastern Sauk County, west off Hwy 78, and between Bluff Road and Parfrey's Glen, and close to Devil's Head resort. But here is the added wonder that goes with this barn. On the same property is, I guess, a very old gas station being used as a sort of museum piece these days.

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Awe man! Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal North Pierced Light. Established in 1882. It connects the main part of Lake Michigan to Green Bay, cutting through the narrowest part of the Door Peninsula. Located at the end of the breakwater on the north side of the canal entrance. Accessible in good weather by walking the pier from the Coast Guard station at the foot of Utah Street. Views from adjacent Portage Park.

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Just hanging out. The building to the left is the old Neshkoro Feed Mill which now hosts the Coffee Mill. It overlooks what is known as the Neshkoro Mill Pond, which is a nice sized lake created by a dam located between the feed milll and the red brick building, which is a hydroelectric plant. The dam is holding the White River. Some people have gathered to do some fishing here and just hang out.

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Working’ the fields. A great October day, I entered Iowa County from the south, from Lafayette County, and hopped on CH K north to an area north of Hollandale. During the course of this ride, I came upon marvelous landscape and a rural farm scene with this farmer working his field.

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Where’s it going? The answer is no where. It is closed, but still standing, spanning the Chippewa River in Eau Claire. I worked hard to get this shot of the old bridge, from First St. on the west side of the Chippewa.

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Old yes. Run down, a little. Beautiful, absolute! Spotted this old guy on Hwy 161 northwest of Nelsonville in Portage County. She has seen her better days, but she still presents a wonderful photo and memory.

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The Rising Star Mill. It is one of the oldest in central Wisconsin and the last of its kind in Portage County. Built around 1860, it operated as a business until 1984. It sits right adjacent to the Tomorrow River, and offers a kayak put in point.

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Sunset over Manitowish Waters Chain of Lakes. Manitowish Waters is an ideal spot to “get away from it all.” It is up in western Vilas County deep in the Northwoods, not far from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is known for its quiet, less stressful surroundings perfect for a family vacation, reunion, romantic getaway, hunting or fishing excursion, or leisure day trip.” That is certainly true of the Chippewa Retreat and Resort, a spectacular spot. Drawn from “Manitowish Waters, quiet, peaceful, soft and subdued.”

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The Old Forest View School. The Forest View School was built in 1912 and went out of use in the 1960s. There was a man mowing the lawn. His father bought the school and converted it into a home. The family lived in it until “the bricks started falling.” The son, fearing the grandkids might get hurt, bought a trailer. Drawn from “Disrupted Dreams

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The old bar next to Tichigan State Wildlife Area. This is part of a complex of old barns that is just fantastic to wander through. Drawn from Classic Barns.

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Gills Rock, not New England --- it’s Wisconsin! Gills Rock is up on the northern section of Door County, just west of Northport. One citizen of the town told me that Gills Rock is one of the few towns left that reflect the old Door County. Drawn from “Door County --- Our ‘Cape Cod’ and better.”

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Elkhart Lake, “a legendary getaway.” Elkhart Lake is in the Kettle Moraine State Forest. The town is a buzzing’ place, with lots of activities always underway somewhere nearby. Drawn from “Elkhart Lake, one each buzzing’ town.”

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An eye-catcher in Calumet. This is a most interesting home we spotted in Calumet County on Schmidt Road off of Hwy 32/57. There’s something about this home and its surrounding landscape that are an eye-catcher. “Wisconsin’s Culture --- Neat Buildings and Homes.”

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The scene, the green. I fell in love with this barn and the whole scene instantly. She is on CH K outside Oconomowoc, Waukesha County. This barn is in the region of the Kettle Moraine Scenic Route and the Moraine itself. Drawn from Classic Barns.

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Bayfield harbor in winter. This is a view of Bayfield Harbor and the town was taken from out on the city dock, looking back toward the town. This looked to us like the place from which the serious fishermen launch out when the weather improves. This is postcard stuff. Drawn from “Northern Wisconsin's Bayfield Peninsula, what fun!”

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Willow Springs Garden, a love to preserve our past. In 1895, Carl and August Tisch built a large round barn on their property outside Wausau, on what is now 60th Ave. Building round barns was very much in vogue during the period 1880-1920. The view at the time was that the round barn offered greater efficiency when compared to rectangular barns: greater volume, they required less materials, they were structurally more stable, their construction was more simple, and the cows could all face the center, saving the farmer steps when feeding. All that said, they never really caught on. Fast forward to 2001. I'm not sure when, but the Town of Maine decided it needed a new Town Hall. So something had to be done with the old one. Right about at this same time, Dennis Griffin and his wife Peggy purchased property on the corner of 60th Ave. and Hillcrest Drive with a view toward establishing it as a site that would preserve local history. The Griffins' first preservation project was to move the old Maine Town Hall to the new site. The site they bought had been known as Willow Springs, so the Griffins retained that name. The Christian family owned the property that had a round barn on it, just up the street from Willow Springs. In 2006, the Christians agreed to move the barn to Willows Springs, and she sits there in all her splendor, under renovation. Drawn from “Willow Springs Garden, a love to preserve our past and have fun.”

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Eagle Bay on the Bayfield. We went exploring in the eastern side of the Bayfield Peninsula and traveled roads that would bring us close to multiple bays. It was quite an exciting exploration. After dealing with Blueberry and Raspberry Roads, we came upon Eagle Bay Road. Once at the end of Eagle Bay Road, it looks like there is nothing to see. But there is a neat little path that led us down to this breathtaking beach area. You are looking to the northwest and you can see one of the Apostle Islands in the lower right quadrant of the photo. Drawn from “Northern Wisconsin's Bayfield Peninsula, what fun!”


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Amnicon River State Park. Quite by chance while touring Douglas County, we came upon one of the great finds of our explorations, Amnicon Falls State Park, about seven miles east of Superior. The Amnicon River flows here in an area where the state’s geography is switching from the Northern Highlands Geographic Province to the Lake Superior Coastal Plains Geographic Province. The Douglas Fault is in this area as well. In any event, the geography makes a dive down toward Lake Superior and the Amnicon River dives with it. This is a spectacular park. We were mesmerized by it. Drawn from “Amnicom Falls State Park, a “must visit.”

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Blue Vista Farm, Bayfield. When we visited, Eric Carlson and Ellen Kwiatowski were the owners of the Blue Vista farm in Bayfield, Wisconsin. They say this: “This land is more than just fruit and flower plantings, a beautiful old barn and remarkable view. Something unexplainable comes together in this spot to create an unforgettable experience. Over and over again, customers tell us that they feel like they are in heaven and we feel that way as well. We consider ourselves privileged to be caretakers of this land and we want to share it with you.” It can't be said any better. This photo is of the barn, which hosts a retail shop. Fruit crops and flowers beautify the land here on both sides of the wide path. Drawn from “Northern Wisconsin's Bayfield Peninsula, what fun!”

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The Trillium in my backyard. Each spring, we get an increasing number of Trillium flowers in our backyard. I have been told we are not to pick them, so we don't. In order to protect them, I allow the grasses to grow high in the yard, which is quite large. The whole area ends up looking terrific. But in early August, the Trillium have gone their way and I mow down the grasses and all the other stuff. That seems to be spreading the Trillium as each year we get more than we had in the previous year. It's great fun in spring to see them roar out of the ground.

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The coffee shop in New Glarus. We visited New Glarus on a sparkling September Wisconsin day in northern Green County. The town itself is wonderful. The town is named after the town of Glarus in Switzerland, and therefore has a distinctive European flavor. I was taken by the color of this building, and took a shot. I love it, a man sitting inside relaxing, and you can see the coffee urns through the windows. Friends have told me this would be an award winning shot if some pretty women were sitting outside! Drawn from “New Glarus, a ‘Little Switzerland’ in southern Wisconsin.”

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Pattison State Park, Manitowoc Falls. After coming across Amnicon River Falls State Park in Douglas County quite by accident, we then came upon Pattison State Park and Manitowoc Falls in about the same way. I took multiple shots of this magnificent falls. This one was taken from across the gorge to get the full falls. But if you look to the upper left quadrant, you can see an area where you can get within spitting distance of the falls and feel its power and breathe in its spray. Drawn from “Big Manitou Falls, the highest in the state.”

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"The CH X Barn" in Monroe County. We call this the CH X Barn, located on, yes, CH X in Monroe County, west of Cashton. CH X west out of Cashton is a “must drive” on a bright wonderful day. This is a dazzling area of hills and greens. This was April 2008. Much of the wonder of this barn is its setting. You want to buy it and live in it right away. Drawn from “Wisconsin’s Culture --- Classic Barns, or ones I just think are neat.”

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That Norwegian look. This is, I believe, an example of Norwegian or Norse Architecture for a home on CH P at Trastad Lane just northeast of Coon Valley. I show this shot to give you a feel for the magnificent surroundings and setting for this home. Drawn from “Wisconsin’s Culture --- Neat Buildings and Homes.”

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Cornucopia's lakeside shops. Cornucopia by the Lake Superior has a group of neat old-time shops. The one on the left here was marked, “River's End” which we understood offered work by local artists, used items, and organic produce in season. The one to the right was marked, “What goes round.” It offered quality used books, drawn from a shop in Bayfield. Both buildings abut the harbor. Drawn from “Northern Wisconsin's Bayfield Peninsula, what fun!”

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22nd Annual PRCA Pro-rodeo "North Central Rodeo Days.” In June 2010, I attended the Professional Rodeo and Calf Association “North Central Rodeo Days.” This was my first rodeo in decades. I was taken by the manner in which they kicked it off. They started with horsemen riding around carrying the flags of each military service, followed by this lady swinging through the area carrying the American flag. The crowd loved it and so did I. Drawn from “North Central Rodeo Days, a blast in Medford.”

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Hollister-Antigo landscapes. Having driven around the state, I could easily fall into the trap of thinking th Antigo-Hollister area is kind of boring. Not so, as is evidenced here with this terrific view of an old barn nestled in a rolling hill. Drawn from “Wisconsin’s Culture --- Classic Barns, or ones I just think are neat.”


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Old Fish Dry House. I was driving around the area of Kempster in Langlade County on a nice April day and spotted this shed I just could not pass by. It was adjacent to a home named “Grandpa's Cottage” on a small lake I think the locals named “Dorch's Lake.” It was on Forest Rd off Hwy 45 lat Summit Lake. The smaller building to the left appeared to be an outhouse, while the larger building was an old fish dry house. All of its was neat!

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The old outhouse in Birnamwood. The Dan and Margaret Higgenbotham family own about 75 acres on Pine View Rd. just west of Birnamwood, between CH Z and X. While walking around the land, which is mostly forested, I took a shot of this old outhouse. I think this is neat.

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Two Iola homes. It was a gray, icy and cold day in January 2009 and I spotted these lovely homes all dressed up for the holidays, both of which improved my morale quite a bit. This home was on West Fulton Street, Iola, Waupaca County. Drawn from “Wisconsin’s Culture --- Neat Buildings and Homes.”

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The 'lil Red Shed. I admit this does not classify as a barn. It is a shed, what I call “The 'lil Red Shed.” I spotted her in August 2010 on 72nd Ave, I believe, just south of CH A, Marathon County. I love her. Drawn from “Wisconsin’s Culture --- Classic Barns, or ones I just think are neat.”

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Grant County greenery. On our trip home from St. Louis to Wausau, we decided to make a run through Grant County along Hwy 133. We were in the area of Bloomington and Beetown. The landscape here is really something. I need to study it more and go back again. It was April and the grass was as green as one could ever imagine. And the green was marked with many small streams flowing down the hill, such as this one. I could drive by only so many before I pulled over and took this shot. Grant County is a wonderful place to visit.

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St Anns RC Church. St. Ann's Church, Greenwood, Wisconsin was constructed in 1888 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The church and its cemetery are located just south of Rib Lake, Taylor County, on the corner of Brehem Ave and Wellington Lake Road, in a most picturesque setting. Local volunteers keep working to preserve the building and its contents.

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Little Brick House, Minocqua. The Little Brick House, Minocqua can be a multi-hour expedition, there are so many things to see, admire and buy. The house has many rooms, each crammed with stuff like this. The aisles are so narrow and filled with so many interesting things there's room only for one way traffic! Drawn from “Minocqua's Little Brick House, and more.”

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Chateau Boutin. The Bayfield area is one of our favorites. This is the Le Chateau Boutin, part of the Old Rittenhouse Inn. They allowed us to stay here with our puppy, whereas puppies are off limits at the marvelous Old Rittenhouse. Frankly, we loved this place because it was beautiful, well preserved, and had a fabulous porch overlooking the town and the bay. Its grounds are magnificent. “Wisconsin’s Culture --- Neat Buildings and Homes.”

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A Cornucopia boat. Cornucopia, or “Corny” to the locals, is located on Siskiwit Bay on the northern side of the Bayfield Peninsula. This is a fascinating place. It has just turned 100 years old. We wish we would have had more time to explore it. The town has several of these old lake boats on display. There is beauty in age. This is the Eagle. Drawn from “Northern Wisconsin's Bayfield Peninsula, what fun!”

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Rib Mountain, Wausau. I have many shots of Rib Mountain in Wausau, but I like this one the best. It's winter, the snow has fallen, the Granite Park Ski slopes are open and busy, and the day was simply beautiful. She is not the highest elevation in the state. That honor belongs to Timm's Hill in Price County to the north. She looks to be the highest because she is surrounded by level plains.

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Abbotsford, small but packed with industry. Abbotsford straddles western Marathon County and eastern Clark County off Hwy 29. She is a small town, but as I drove through her, I was amazed at how many industrial companies were packed into this small area. Because I am 66 going on 6, of course I was enamored with the rails. This old storage building straddles the main rail line through Abbotsford. Drawn from “Strolling through Abbotsford, packed with businesses.”

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Berlin, Wisconsin, architectural wonderland. This is a view into the Nathan Strong Park in Berlin, Wisconsin, that also Provides a nice glimpse at a beautiful Victorian house, one of many in the town. Jason and Sirenio, and then Kendra and Shy, provide nice descriptions of each, drawn from “Country Mouse, Country Mouse,” written by Mrs. Debbie Coats and her second grade class, Berlin, Wisconsin. Monument: “Nathan Strong set aside this park in 1848. It was first called City Park and then East Side Park. The name of the park was changed to Nathan Strong Park in 1976.” House: “There are many Victorian houses in Berlin. This one was built in 1882 and is 124 years old! Susan B. Anthony slept in this house when she visited her friend, Lucy Morris.” Drawn from “Berlin, delightful, splendid architecture, terrific history.”

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Historic Schoolhouse Museum. Historic Wabeno School House Museum on River Street (Hwy 32) in Forest County. You can look inside, so we did. That's a display of a huge log on the right. We've tried to get more information on this but have not found anything credible.

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The old Hutchins dairy farm barn. Hutchins, Wisconsin in Shawano County is a very small township, less than 600 people. But it hosts a super neat old-time home and barn complex on private property, with much of the barn down, but much of its interior in place. Structures like this are a central part of Wisconsin's culture and heritage. Frankly, viewing it gives you a sense of security, because you are reminded of how our nation was built, our roots, and how we need to hold all that together even with all our modern-day challenges. Drawn from “Wisconsin’s Culture --- Classic Barns, or ones I just think are neat.”

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Washburn Iron works. This is a mural painted by local art students on the side of the building housing Washburn Iron Works. This is a small company in town that is central to the town's future: it is basic industry that exports products and brings new dollars into the community. Indeed the community is assessing ways it can attract companies to piggyback off Iron Works products. Founded in 1976 by Otto Rusch, Washburn Iron Works started life producing Apostle Island barrel stove kits for area hardware store chains. It then established itself as a quality foundry with the capabilities to pour gray, or ductile irons ranging in weight from ounces up to 250#. Drawn from “Northern Wisconsin's Bayfield Peninsula, what fun!”

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The Old Ashland Ore Dock. Ashland is located at the south end of Chequamedon Bay and was identified early on as the port of choice for the Gogebic ore. This was the only ore dock left standing Ashland, and it has since been almost fully destroyed because of an ownership dispute, a real shame, like ripping a page out of history. This shot shows where the wooden portion of the trestle, on land, meets with concrete structure, heading out into the water. Remember that the concrete structure is resting on the wood piling dock basin. Trains filled with ore would go over the trestle down to the concrete structure, where they would dump their haul down chutes into the hulls of waiting lake ships that would take the ore to the steel mills on the Great Lakes. Drawn from “Ashland's iron ore docks, a fascinating history.”

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A collapsing old home near Birnamwood. On Pine View Road, between CH Z and X just west of Birnamwood stands, I don;t know for how much longer, an old, old wooden house that is tumbling down slowly and painfully. I peered in a window and got this shot.

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The barn resting in he corn field. This barn, and photo shot, is among my favorite, a small barn facility nestled among a corn crop, on Kate Ave. off Hwy 27 near Leon, Monroe County. The ride on Kate is a lot of fun. I recommend it. Drawn from “Wisconsin’s Culture --- Classic Barns, or ones I just think are neat.”

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The pilings for an old Ashland Ore Dock that is no more. These are the wood pilings that formed the basin for an ore dock in Ashland. It took some 7,000 piles to form a dock basin for Dock Nr. 1 built in 1884-85. That comes to 576,000 cu. ft. or 4,500 cords of wood along with 10 million pounds of rock for filler. The wood was harvested around Chequamegon Bay and sawn at the old Union Mill in Ashland. Drawn from “Ashland's iron ore docks, a fascinating history.”

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A glimpse of Lake Superior as we enter Bayfield Town. We took Hwy 13 up to Bayfield from Ashland and spotted this truly remarkable view of Lake Superior in this area in winter. The blending of different colors and hues is, well, I’m running out of descriptors to adequately reflect the emotions this conveys. Drawn from “Northern Wisconsin's Bayfield Peninsula, what fun!”

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Jackie II at Halvorsen’s Fishery. There is a harbor inlet from Lake Superior into Cornucopia and here we found Halvorsen's Fishery, with a distinctive Norwegian look. “Jackie II,” a fishing tug. Drawn from “Halvorson's Fisheries on Lake Superior.”

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Newago's Fish Market, Bayfield. As you enter Bayfield Town, among the first buildings you see is Newago's Fish Market, in this case closed for the season, but ready to go when the season opens. Oly's barber shop is attached. Newago's features fresh and smoked fish. Kathy and Alan Newago have been involved with commercial fishing in Lake Superior for over 20 years. Alan owns a fishing tug and has a crew to get the product. Alan's brother, David, owns the shop. Kathy makes specialty fish spreads. Drawn from “Northern Wisconsin's Bayfield Peninsula, what fun!”

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Richfield Barn. I am a soft touch for rivers, bays and barns. Heading north on CH A in Wood County, in the Village of Richfield, south of Hwy 10, I came across this old barn. I had never seen one like this. It sure caught my attention. So much so I pulled into the drive, dying to see what was on the other side. A man emerged from his home, I explained who I was, apologized for bothering him, but asked him if I could see the other side of the barn. He walked me over to it, shut the garage door, and I saw that the barn was built on a small knoll. On the opposite side, it has a full garage door and entry door at the bottom of the knoll. Drawn from “Wisconsin’s Culture --- Classic Barns, or ones I just think are neat.”

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Berlin, Wisconsin, architectural wonderland. “Berlin, Wisconsin's town clock was purchased in 1913 from the E. Howard Clock Company in Boston. The clock tower is 42 feet high. The clock used to be wound by hand every week, but now it runs on electricity.” Text by Hailey and Jordan R., from “Country Mouse, Country Mouse,” written by Mrs. Debbie Coats and her second grade class, Berlin, Wisconsin. Drawn from “Berlin, delightful, splendid architecture, terrific history.”

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Hardwood Hills, part of Hardwood Hills, part of the "Rib Mountain Threesome.” Hardwood Hill is one of three ridges outside Wausau, Marathon County, that I call the “Rib Mountain Threesome," the other ridge called Mosinee Hills. This is a view of Hardwood Hill is is a bit southwest of Rib Mountain, and you are viewing it from the south, I believe along CH O and Rock Dr. All three are made up of quartzite monadnocks. A monadnock is an isolated rock hill, knob, ridge, or small mountain that rises abruptly from a gently sloping or virtually level surrounding plain. A monadrock is formed when the outside of the geology is soft, such as limestone, while the inside is hard. The softer erodes away while the harder resists and remains longer.

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Bass Lake near Timm's Hill. Timm's Hill is the highest point in Wisconsin and is near Ogema in Price County. When looking at her, it's hard to believe she is that high. That is because you climb up to an elevation that is already high in order to get a view of Timm's Hill itself. It is winter, and that's Bass Lake, at the foot of Timm's Hill. I took the shot from High Point Village which is a marvelous cabin resort across the street from the lake. In the photo, you can see a father and a couple of kids ice fishing out there. This is a fantastic area. Drawn from “Timm's Hill, Wisconsin's highest.”