Monday, June 25, 2007

Horicon, Homes, Cemeteries and the Marsh

I made a mistake and published what should be the first blog below this. So read the bottom one first, then this one. Sorry . . .
Horicon is a very small town with two things that keep it going. One is the John Deere plant that is huge - 1 million square feet! - and employs 1,500 people. All of their lawn tractors and lawn mowers are made there. It is the only viable business that we saw . And the other thing is the Marsh. Birders, canoeists, kayakers, sightseers, and hunters come to enjoy all it has to offer. Even with these, Horicon seems rather sad and doesn't feel as if it is only a short way from Milwaukee. While we were there, we saw no new construction or even any buildings that had been built in the past 15 - 20 years. There is not food store, drug store, fast food restaurants, or shopping center. There is a busy gas station and an "ice cream station" that had lots of people coming and going. Here is the down town:

There are some very old buildings with character but all are boarded up. The were a few bars that were open but not many people in them.
Cindy and I picked up a pamphlet put out by the Historical Society that had a walking tour map of old homes of distinction from the better, by gone days. And we were surprised and pleased to find these gems as we walked the small neighborhoods. Horicon must have seen some boom times. I'm sorry I don't know much about them,or their architectural styles, but there are very pretty. Our B & B was also listed on the walking tour. Also, the pictures came out kind of dark - only the two middle houses are painted light blue-gray. The other two are white with dark trim.

The large maple on the left was planted the day Lincoln was buried!

This is now the home of the Historical Society.

I guess the Garden Club is no more. But this is quite well kept and someone was beginning to replant the garden when we were there.

Cindy and I had originally wanted to take pictures of barns but our route just didn't have many on it. But we did see two very interesting cemeteries. I just love the beautiful etching in some of the head stones. Here are some very pretty examples.
Here are some grave markers that look like chess pieces.

An angelic one and a very old one.

And some sad ones.

Both of these cemeteries were mainly populated by German families and were out in the country. They were both well kept and quite peaceful. I'm sure they didn't mind us visiting.

And yes, we did get to canoe the Marsh. We luckily decided to just paddle around and not take the long trip. Things started out really well and the water was like glass. We saw cormorants, Great Blue Herons, turtles, and pelicans. The water lilies were just coming into bloom and I got a few nice pictures of them.

Notice the flower has holes chewed in it.

This is what a lot of the area looked like. We were out for at least 3 hours and began to turn back when the wind came up and we had to paddle into it on the return trip. Boy, that was too much like work but we laughed and joked and made the best of it. There were lots of kayakers out (mostly women of various ages and levels of fitness) and we decided that this Fall we're going to try that out. The rental lady said it was easier than it looks.

A map of the Marsh taped on the prow of the canoe. I was in front and Cindy had the harder job in the back.

At the Horicon Nature Refuge tourist center we saw all kinds of these swallow nests with birds swooping back and forth. I've never seen this kind. Does anyone know what variety of swallow builds this?

It's built on top of a standard nest.

And, lastly, here is a present I bought for Steve at the Blue Heron Landing canoe rental business. He just loves it and so do I.
It's about 4 feet tall and weighs quite a bit. There is a little metal perch in his mouth if you look really close.
That is pretty much of what we did. We'd like to go back and visit some Native American effigy mounds that are on the west side of the Marsh. There are quite a number of good hiking areas that we didn't have time to travel. So there will be plenty for us to do next time we visit Horicon.
Bye for now,
P.S. Horicon is the home of the world's most beautiful, big smoke bush. Isn't it lovely!


Ziggywigs said...

Hi Alyssa, great post those houses are beautiful. They look so tranquil. Loved all the headstones showing all the dates.

The nest looks like what we would call a housemartins nest but wondered if you get these over there and it may be something similiar for your neck of the woods.

Alyssa said...

Ziggy - Thank you - We had a good time looking for and at the houses. And cemeteries are really interesting. I found out the kind of swallow that is - it's called a cliff swallow. They build "gourd shaped" nests. The martins here are quite a bit larger than the swallows.

Pam said...

Alyssa - Great post...I love the old houses, they have so much character. The Inn you stayed at is endlessly facinating, something new to discover at every turn.

And I liked the grave stones, how unusual. Looks and sound like a wonderful holiday!

Alyssa said...

Pam - Yes there were all sorts of little niceties we'd find each time we explored the rooms. We'll be visiting again - there are still more buildings of intrest left to look for.

Kate said...

The smoke bush is gorgeous, Alyssa! I wonder if the John Deere plant used to employ substantially more people or if there were other factories in town as well. The town has a look much the same as many small communities in Saskatchewan. It is a shame particularly when there are beautiful old buildings that are unoccupied. At least someone is taking an interest in the garden, even though the garden club is defunct.

Alyssa said...

Kate - That Smoke Tree made up for a lot of the tiredness of the town. I'm not sure if there was any other industry there, I have a feeling that Deere doesn't pay too well - unfortunately most manufacturing doesn't offer livable pay anymore. But there were so many well kept pretty little gardens through-out the town. Gardners are forever hopeful!

Kylee said...

Hi Alyssa,

What a great trip you had with your sister! My SIL lives near Waunakee, so maybe we'll have to head over that way next time we're up there! It's been a long time since we've been up there.

Alyssa said...

Kylee - Yes, try for a quick stay at the Inn or visit the Marsh. You'd love both.

Mary said...

This is all so beautiful. If I were there, I'd slink into that pond and steal some lily pads.

Alyssa said...

Mary - I think it's against the law to sneak into the Marsh and dig up the lilies. It's really mucky too.

DeeMom said...

Stunning learned lots, IMPRESSIVE. Love the old homes

Ours is 120 years old...

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