Way to go Shawano!

Last Friday, in an attempt to walk off at least a little of our turkey dinner, we stumbled into a sweet piece of history.

Shawano’s Heritage Park Grounds gave us an excellent opportunity to stretch our legs in a beautiful setting and transport ourselves back in time.

We had the place to ourselves on Black Friday, and took advantage of the solitude to dig into some of the exhibits. It felt almost like the dignified and influential John David Kast, one of Shawano’s founding fathers, escorted us through the park.

Kast, a German immigrant, made his way to Shawano via Waupaca, in 1874. A devout man, he taught Sunday School in his home until he and others raised enough money to build St. John’s Episcopal the following year. Two years after he arrived, Kast was elected to the state assembly.

Through the exhibit, we also met Samuel Farnsworth, who arrived in Shawano via paddleboat from Oshkosh in 1843 to scout potential sawmill sites. The following year, Charles Wescott and his crew did build the mill. I thought it was especially interesting that they repurposed an existing beaver dam to power the saw. Good ole American ingenuity at work.

A gazebo that served as an 1884 horse judge’s stand gave me an excellent opportunity to practice my Liesl leaps. We also strolled over a restored bridge onto Sunset Island, and imagined how life might have been there more than a century ago.

Having enjoyed my little stroll through history, I came home and followed the Shawano County Historical Society on Facebook, where I learned that Rhubarb Fest takes place there every June.

I’m penciling it in.

I also learned that the 1920 Shawano High School girls’ basketball team won the state title that year, which meant those girls were hooping it up 52 years before Title IX came along and gave them equal access to gyms.

Way to go, Shawano!

Four of us enjoyed a really nice stroll through Shawano’s historical district, one of us took a more energetic approach and went for a run, and one of us headed to the deer stand for a view hours of peace. All in all, a very nice Black Friday for us all.
We had the place to ourselves, so we really dug into the exhibits.
This log cabin has been carefully reconstructed and sits on the Wolf River, which brought most of the early settlers to Shawano.
Others came via rail, as this Zachow Depot represents. (Vinnie is recreating the photo on the sign, which features a kind of grumpy looking man posed in front of the depot).
The one-room school house.
We were just looking for a little room to roam away from deer hunters, but we stumbled on a really pretty scene.
If you look up stream from this spot, the view looks almost exactly what it must have looked like 150 years ago.
I’d love to know the origins of the Trahern water pump located behind the John Kast house.
This gazebo, which used to be a horse judging stand, gave me an excellent chance to practice my Liesl leaps.
Hats off to the 1920 State Champion Shawano High School Girls Basketball Team.
This is the intersection of 29, 47, 55, and 117 in 1917 in Shawano, just up the road from the present day Shawano County Historical Society. The town was hopping, even then.


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