River Walk, downtown San Antonio, Sunday, February 25, 2018

River Walk, downtown San Antonio, Sunday, February 25, 2018
River Walk, downtown San Antonio, Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Exploring Madison, Watertown and Chilton, Wisconsin - Thurs, Sept. 25, 2014

Today was a "pack it in" kind of day. For our 10K (6.2 mile) Volksmarch in the capital, we chose the Civil War walk. In order to get credit toward my Volksmarch capital badge, I can walk any of the walks listed in the capital of a state. I would have preferred the Capitol walk, but parking was an issue in the heart of downtown, so we chose to start near the University of Wisconsin where we could park at a Best Western.

The Volksmarch took us through a nice, gently hilly neighborhood and through Hoyt Park. We got a little lost, but kept following trails and somehow ended up where we were supposed to be at a bulletin board. From there, we were supposed to go to an overlook, but no signs pointed the way, and there were multiple trails going in all directions. We asked a lady walking in the park and she pointed us in the right direction.

The walk continued through more neighborhoods and then we came to Forest Hill Cemetery, the northernmost Confederate Cemetery in the United States. The men buried here (in the Confederate Rest section) were among over 1,100 captured soldiers of the 1st Alabama Infantry Regiment CSA (Confederate States of America). They were captured in 1862 at Island 10 on the Mississippi River and were sent to prison at Camp Randall.

By 1868 these graves were being neglected when a Louisiana-born widow, Alice Waterman, came to Madison. At her own expense she maintained the plot until her death in 1897. She had the simple painted headboards replaced with stone markers. She is buried with "her boys."
Confederate Rest in Forest Hill Cemetery, Madison, WI
Historic plaque about Confederate Rest
On the other side of the Mausoleum from Confederate Rest is Union Rest. It contains the graves of about 230 Wisconsin Civil War soldiers, most of whom died at Camp Randall. The soldiers buried here either had no families or families too poor to transport the remains back home. This area was donated to the U.S. in 1866, and is now a national cemetery.

Civil War buffs would probably like to visit individual grave sites for the Harvey family, Fairchild family, Theodore Read (last Union general killed in the Civil War), and Henry Harndon (Brigadier General in command of the unit credited with capturing Jefferson Davis in May 1865).

Also in Forest Hill Cemetery, another section of veterans' graves from WWi and WWII, are clustered around two panther and one linear effigy mound (900-1200 A.D.). Sect. 15 of the cemetery contains an extremely rare goose effigy mound. However, the head of the goose was cut off by the Illinois Central Railroad in the 1880s.

From the cemetery, we again walked through neighborhoods on our way to the South West Bike Path (formerly part of the Illinois Central Railroad) which we followed for about 3/4 mile.

In the following photos are hydrangeas. In the Pacific Northwest, hydrangeas are usually blue or purple, depending on the alkalinity of the soil. This is the first time I've ever seen green and white hydrangeas. Maybe these colors are normal in the Midwest.

Green and white hydrangeas.
House typical of the neighborhood we were in.
Bob on South West Bike Path, Madison, WI
From the bike path, we ended up at Camp Randall Stadium and Memorial on the University of Wisconsin campus. 

Bob wore his University of Wisconsin colors for photos today!

Camp Randall was a Civil War military training camp through which more than 70,000 Wisconsinites and nearly 4,000 Confederate prisoners of war would pass.

Stockade from Camp Randall

Camp Randall Memorial Arch
Our jaunt through a portion of the University of Wisconsin campus was short, but we enjoyed watching the Descendant's Fountain on our way through. An interesting side note is that Bob found out not just one of his grandfathers attended University of Wisconsin... both of them did!
University of Wisconsin
Descendant's Fountain

School of Engineering
From the University of Wisconsin, we entered the University Heights Historic District. Many professors, deans and the University president had their homes in this area. Frank Lloyd Wright's Gilmore house is also in this tony neighborhood.

Ely house - Georgian Revival style
Fall  colors = happy camper.
Turneaure house - eclectic period revival design
Buell house - Queen Anne style home
Gilmore house - Frank Lloyd Wright prairie style house
AKA "The Airplane House"
Olin house - deeded to the University for use as
the President's home

Bradley house - Prairie School house
Upon return to our start point, we hopped in the truck and headed downtown to tour the Madison Capitol. We found two-hour metered parking on the street close to the Capitol, grabbed a turkey pesto ciabatta sandwich at Michelangelo's, ate it, and continued on with renewed energy. (Thanks for sticking with me this far...now comes the good stuff!)

Madison, Wisconsin's Capitol
"Liberty" glass mosaic by Kenyon Cox
We were finally able to go to an observation deck outside one of the domes. Madison's Capitol rocks. Speaking of which, their dome is the only granite dome in the United States.

View from the Observation Deck.
Statues above the Observation Deck.
Happy to be outside on the Observation Deck!
"Justice" glass mosaic by Kenyon Cox
"Government" glass mosaic by Kenyon Cox
Inside the Capitol dome is "Resources of Wisconsin"
painting by Edwin Blashfield of New York
Some facts about the Madison Capitol Rotunda/Dome:
  1. This is one of the largest domes by volume in the world
  2. The painting is 34' in diameter, 200' above the ground floor
  3. What looks like a frame around the picture is actually a balcony
Wisconsin's state animal, the badger, is above the doors to the four second-floor chambers. The "Badger State" got its nickname from Wisconsin lead mining towns in the 1830s. The miners lived in shelters dug into hillsides and were called "badgers" after the burrowing animals.
Badger above door to second-floor chamber
Wisconsin's state animal, the badger
In the following photo, there is a sign pointing to a Men's restroom across two floors of empty space with no way to get across here. We found this highly amusing. Ready, aim, fire!

Beautiful framing for the mosaic art.
I fell in love with all the arches.
Replica of the Liberty Bell made in France.
The statue "Forward" in front of the Capitol
With so much to see here, Wisconsin's Capitol is worthy of a visit. If we had more time we would have taken a tour. But it was time to head off to Watertown, one of the cities where Bob's family has roots. We drove around town just to get a feel for it and found the Octagon House. Unfortunately, it had just closed for the day.

Octagon House invites more exploration

A pretty park by the river in Watertown, WI
This park also invites more exploration.
We then continued on our triangular road trip for today. One of the blogs I read regularly is RVing: The USA is Our BIG Backyard by Karen in the Woods. She and her husband, Steve, visited Travelers World Carefree RV Resort and stayed in the site next to us over a year ago. 
Karen and Steve
Since then, they bought a house in Chilton, Wisconsin. We were in the neighborhood and wrote to see if we could drop in for a visit. And what a wonderful visit it was. Karen and Steve showed us their home. It is just right for them with space for Karen's "loom room," a place to park their motorhome, room for the doggers to run, a lovely sun porch for morning coffee or to watch snow fall in winter, a guest room for grandtots, and an almost-empty room where they could put in the kitchen they wanted. We visited on the sun porch, then walked to Hilde's Deli & Bakery for dinner. 

Hilde's Deli & Bakery
Hilde made fresh chicken pot pies which sounded absolutely lovely. Karen, Steve and I had the chicken pot pies for dinner, while Bob wanted something more substantial and ordered the chicken dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy, coleslaw, and a roll. The pot pies melted in your mouth. Mmmmm. What a good spot to eat! Thanks for the suggestion, Karen! You can read Karen's blog about our visit here.
Chicken pot pie with Sprecher Cherry Cola
Bob's chicken dinner
After dinner, we walked back to their house, chatted a bit more, then said our good-byes before heading back to Derge County Park in Beaver Dam. Such a great day today!

Travel Bug out.


  1. So glad you are enjoying your Wisconsin visit. The hydrangeas are green and then turn white unless people put something in the soil to give them the pink or purple color.

    1. Wow, then there is quite a color variance between white-green-pink-blue-or-purple hydrangeas!

  2. Green hydrangeas are pretty common in Ohio too.

    I would love that walk. You had such a variety of places to see. The capitol is gorgeous.

    How nice of your friends to have lunch for you. What a great way to catch up.

    1. Hydrangeas are interesting. In the Northwest our color palette for hydrangeas was pink, blue or purple, depending on what was added to the soil. Reminds me of our high school science projects when we could turn white carnations any color by cutting them and putting them in colored water.

      We went out to dinner with our friends at Hilde's Deli and Bakery in Chilton, WI.

  3. lovely to see Madison again. . .

    Chicken pot pie may be my favorite meal in the whole world. . .the one you had looked delicious. . .yum!

    1. The chicken pot pie is about the best I've ever had. The crust was perfectly flaky and the inside was moist and flavorful.

  4. We have a number of University of WI - Madison graduates in our family as well. In fact, my former brother-in-law was sporting a UW-Madison tee-shirt at a county fair. A gentleman stopped to ask if he had gone to school in Madison. My BIL responded with a wink, "No but my mother-in-law is an old badger." Thanks for the pictures. I haven't been back there since my Grandmother died in the 1970s but I remember the area quite well.


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