I am now sitting in a hotel room a few miles east of Ste St Marie Michigan. We will head through there and up into Canada in the morning. We drove across upper Wisconsin and Michigan today. It was as it has been for the many time I have been here, all pine trees with not much in between. In some ways that is an appropriate way to start this trip which is intended to be a relaxing one.
Waiting for my dear wife to get ready to go across the way to the local Pizza Hut for dinner gives me a chance to reflect on some of the things we experienced while visiting the in-laws. We spent one day on a trip to Wausau Wisconsin. Whenever I hear that name I think is insurance. Wausau Insurance was a very recognized product in the 1980s or so. I don’t know what happened to the company. It was probably bought out by someone and just disappeared. But I am getting off track there. One of the places we visited was the Yawkey House in the downtown area. According tot he brochure we were given it was built by a prominent member of the Wausau group around 1900 at a cost of $35,000. That was a lot back then. It was recently renovated at a cost of $3 million (if I remember correctly).
It is nice to see some of these old mansions restored. It give us an opportunity to understand some of the times in the past. Being a “blue collar” person at heart I often look at how the servants of these rich people lived as much as the owners. Unfortunately at this mansion the guide told us that the designer of the restoration didn’t choose to spend much money on redoing the kitchen or servants quarters so that part was missing from this tour. But the mansion was very well restored.
We also found a booklet there about the agricultural heritage of Marathon County, which was the area around Wausau. It pointed us to areas where there were old barns still standing from many years ago. We drove around and found the round barn that was built around 1899. It has been moved about 650 feet and is undergoing a full restoration and will evidentially be turned into some kind of social center in the area. I image for weddings and that sort of thing. It is nice to see old building being re-purposed instead of torn down.
Part of the booklet talked about how the area around Wausau was originally totally forested and tells how logger in the middle 1800s came in and pretty much stripped the place of its very old virgin forest and then left the stumps for the farmers who came later to remove. This reminded me of what is happening to the Brazilian rainforests today. Back then stripping the land was considered progress; now it is something else. 🙂
And the journey continues…