Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sluggy's Solo Road Trip......Part 4....The Wilds of WI

So Day 7 began my adventures in Wisconsin with my friend, Blanche.

After a healthy breakfast and some surfing and chatting we set out for the day around noon.
First stop was Applebee's, Blanche's favorite place to eat, where I treated us to lunch.

That's Blanche being silly......

Afterwards I tried to take a selfie......

Still trying to get the hang of this stuff......

That's better but no sign.....lol

Then Blanche drove me around town in her Volkswagen.  Blanche has Danish DNA coursing through her being and is very connected to her heritage so it was no surprise when she played Danish music on her car's stereo system.....Danish music every single time we were riding in her car.
Let me tell you how disconcerting it is to hear "Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree" sung in Danish.  It was like being in a parallel universe or something!

So while riding around town we hit up the local Dollar General for something I wanted(they didn't have it)but I found something else to buy there--sox for #2 Son.   The child goes through sox like nothing I've ever seen before!

Then she took me somewhere special......
We drove to the end of a road past some derelict buildings.....and onto a gravel road with not a soul in sight.
Right before I started fearing for my life, thinking Blanche had joined one of those horribly violent Wisconsin Danish gangs you hear about, we turned onto this street......

And then into a massive parking lot......and in my mind flashed a scene from The Sopranos, only I replaced "Leave the gun, take the cannolis" with "Leave the gun, take the lutefisk" in the
Scandinavian version in my head.......

But Blanche didn't bring me here to "off" me, just to show me the new Wausau Curling Center.

Outside the building are two huge replicas of curling stones.

Man! I've never seen such big ROCKS before!

Of course, it being the middle of Summer nobody was curling.  Not a soul around but us.

Hubs loves to watch curling when they show it during the Olympics.
Me?  I think they freaking YELL too much!!! so I can't get into it.

Hubs had intermittently thought about finding a Curling Club and taking up the sport for fun but of course, we live in PA so he's never found a club.

If we moved up to WI or MN or someplace like that I am sure he could find one to join.
Of course, he hates cold weather though so there is that.


Next we went to the movies on the other side of town.....

And saw a thought provoking documentary by Dinesh D'Souza called "America: Imagine The World Without Her".
It examines the shaming of the US through revisionist history, lies and omissions by educational institutions, political organizations and progressives, with an eye toward destroying America as we know it.
I didn't agree with the whole thing but there were parts that made me go, "Hmmmm".

Next up we took a ride back toward Blanche's neighborhood.
She wanted to show me a tiny little house that someone had made out of a garage.

This little house once was a 1 car garage.  Blanche thought another friend of ours, Anne, would enjoy seeing this one, as she is into that Tiny House Movement.

We passed by some old Victorian era homes too......

But silly me I had my window up so I got my lovely tropical caftan in these shots too.

Then Blanche drove me by a nice big old cemetery......

And she didn't let me stop and take photos of all those great headstones!
Oh well, by this point I was worn out for the day so we headed home for dinner, some tv, some photo scrapbook looking from her trips to Denmark, some surfing, and into bed.

On Day 2 in Wausau we decided to check out the local Historical Society and Museum for Marathon County.

The Historical Society had a newly renovated/restored Mansion so we shelled out some moolah to take a tour inside.

This house behind me is the Cyrus & Alice Yawkey House.  Not quite big enough to be a mansion but had they had more children(they only had one)and expanded I am sure we'd be touring a much larger home. 

At one time back during the Gilded Age in our history there were more millionaires located in Wausau Wisconsin than in any other city in our country.   Exploiting natural resources such as wood and fur which were abundant in this area initially brought about the fortunes of these wealthy men.
Called "The Wausau Group" this band of captains of the logging industry diversified and invested into many companies: among them pulp paper mills(you've heard of the Marathon Paper Company?), lumber finishing and insurance, to keep the economy going in this area.  They also expanded their holdings into the South to take advantage of the lumber resources down there and then into the Pacific Northwest.

If you like history you should watch this video HERE about the Wausau Group.

The barons of such industries were chums and they wanted to live near each other.  This is what brought Cyrus Yawkey to Wausau and spurred him on to build this house in 1901.

The house was built in the then popular Classical Revival architectural style and was the most expensive house built in this area, to that time, costing $35,000 to erect.

Blanche outside the Yawkey House.

There is a slide show of the architecture located HERE if you are an uber-fan of architecture.
Then in 1907 the family moved out for 1 year while the house was completely remodeled inside on the main floor and a second floor addition and a sun porch were added to the structure in the Arts and Crafts style, which Mr. Yawkey preferred over Classical Revival.  They did nNOT redo Mrs. Yawkey's parlor into Arts and Crafts as that was her wish to keep the original style of the home.

The woodwork and stained glass wall in Mr. Yawkey's study.

Can you imagine though.......having this brand new grand home and then, 6 years later your husband wants you to move out for a year and then totally guts the inside and redoes it?  If I was Mrs. Yawkey I might have left his wealthy ass.
Ok....maybe not.

Cyrus Carpenter Yawkey had nothing on these HGTV addicts! lolz

Their only daughter, Leigh, went on to marry Aytchmonde Woodson(who worked for her father)and her parents had a house built for the couple right across the street from them in the Prairie School Style.  This home is now the headquarters of the Marathon County Historical Society and Museum and houses some exhibits.
In 1974 the Yawkey House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
After Alice Yawkey's death in 1953, Leigh Woodson and the grandchildren gave the house to the Historical Society.
Completed in 2008, the home was restored to it's former glory at a cost of 3 Million Dollars.
No wonder they need to charge $7 a pop to tour it!

 Here are photos of the formal gardens outside the house.

These were added in 1910 in anticipation of their daughter, Leigh, getting married in 1911so the house needed a bit of "spiffying up" in time for the reception.

Now here is a glut of photos of the inside of the house.  Some of them came out dark as they didn't allow anyone to use a flash inside the house.

 The staircase stained glass feature.  According to the docent, a young cousin lived with the Yawkeys for a time after his parents died and he and the neighborhood boys used to throw pebbles at the stained glass for fun.  Eek!

 A sitting room in the main parlor.

 The lighting fixture in the main hall/foyer.

 A light sculpture on the newel post of the staircase.

 A telephone in the servant's room.

 An Art Glass lamp.

 Mrs. Yawkey's desk

 What a high tech bathroom looked like in 1901.

 In the daughter's bathroom the entirety was tiled, even the ceiling.

 The daughter's parlor attached to her bedroom and bathroom.

 Detailing on the glass enclosed bookcase in the daughter's parlor.

 The daughter's bed with period dresses.

The upstairs and downstairs hallways seen from the landing.

 A lighting fixture in Mr. Yawkey's Arts and Crafts styled study.  The doors to this room disappeared into the woodworked walls when closed.  The rafter beams gave it the look of being in a ship's cabin.

 The servant's call bell in the pantry.  Mrs. Yawkey had a buzzer hidden under the dining table with which she could silently buzz for the next course of the meal.

 A period stove in the kitchen.  Where are the legs?

My shot of the dining room.  It was SO dark in here, I could only get details when I shot toward the window.  Again, I wasn't allowed to use any flash on the camera.
Here is a shot of the dining room from the Historical Society's Website slide show.

Here is the interior of the horse barn/carriage house.

When they had the house built horses were still the main mode of transportation so they had an adjoining stable built.  The interior of the stable was just as nicely finished as the woodwork inside of the house.  Nice horse digs!

After the house remodel, cars began to take over as the mode of transportation so part of  the carriage house also was fitted for the family vehicles.

Also in the carriage house the Historical Society keeps a 1910 Lamont Steamer Fire Engine.

See that long brown thing, that looks like a hose on the engine?
Well it's not.
The docent took it down and held it.
Looks like a long wooden pole, doesn't it?

With a quick twist at just the right place, it opened up to reveal it's a ladder!

This is a unique totally handmade ladder.  I thought it was pretty cool.....

The Woodson Home. located across the street, was purchased in 1995 by the Historical Society and turned into offices, archives and exhibit space.
 The Woodson House exterior.  Designed by George W. Maher it was built in 1914 in the Prairie School style.

 The walnut staircase in the Woodson House.

 Stained Glass on the staircase landing.  Notice the acorn accents on the bannister.

Blanche had to take this picture of a fainting couch upstairs.

They had a couple of rooms downstairs with exhibits of Wausau history.

 An early amusement park from the area.

 This portable embalming machine was invented by someone in Wausau.


 The history of ginseng harvesting.

The history of fox farms for fur coats in the area.

Blanche said, "Why would you give your herring the name O.K.?  Why wouldn't you give it a better name?"  She's right.
How's the herring?  Oh, it's ok.......lolz

And lots of immigrants from Germany meant many saloons and beers were developed in the area.


And yes, for all you sports fans who are wondering, the Yawkeys of Wisconsin were cousins of Bill Yawkey the owner of the Detroit Tigers and his nephew(later the adopted son as well)Tom Yawkey who owned the Boston Red Sox.

We were getting pretty hungry so off we went to find something for lunch.

 We ended up at Culver's.  Another first for me. 

Though we didn't get any "concrete" today.  The fish & chips platter was enough for us both!

We gassed up my purple car in anticipation of my long ride the next day, then we went out looking for "curds".
Cheese curds to be exact.
And FRESH ones if we could find them.

Alas, only prepackaged curds were to be found.

So we made do with those.....

And then I found a special flavor of Mike's hard lemonade I've never seen before, so I just had to buy me a 6 pack......

I just love the neck label too....lol...

Then it was back to Blanche's for some more visiting, dinner, a little tv and then to bed early as I needed my rest for what lay ahead in the morning.
And thankfully no more Danish "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree".
Though it does grow on you..... ;-)




  1. I love the older homes, but I am with the Mrs--no Arts and Crafts. I like to look at it, but would not want to live in it. That's a neat ladder. That was the most interesting day or two so far of any of your travels. Portable embalming machine? Your husband will not be cold in LA, but he won't find a curling club, either.

  2. That house looks awesome!!! Would LOVE to tour there!
    and pickled herring is not just O.K. It's pretty awesome too...

  3. Curling is the #2 winter sport in Canada (after hockey of course) because who doesn't like to watch 4 men in tight pants yell "haaaard" over and over again!

  4. I'm going to have to go back and read this post in detail (only scrolled through pics today). Sluggy! When taking selfies, instead of holding the camera up and pointing down, try holding the camera at eye level (that's if you don't mind losing some of the background scenery). Hope that's helpful. Anyhow, have a nice evening!

  5. Too much fun! Staircase looks like the one in my mother's 3 story house, i swear I have spent 10 years of my life dusting that dam% thing!

  6. Thank you for taking me along to meet Blanche! What an awesome trip you had and you got to see some amazing sites.


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