Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mineral Point and Mount Horeb

Mineral Point is Wisconsin’s third oldest city, it was settled in1827.   As I mentioned in a previous post, it was a lead and zinc mining center during the 19th and early part of the 20th century.  The majority of the city is a historic district, as we drove through the city it was difficult to find any other structures than the stone cottages and large rock buildings which were built by the early Cornish immigrants.  The depot is one of the few surviving pre-Civil War train stations in the United States.   Within its two-foot thick walls is a large collection of artifacts, unfortunately it was closed when we came by.
The scarcity of food and high cost of food gave the Cornish people the impetus to move from England in the 19th century.  Another big factor in their immigration was the fact that there was mandatory support of the Anglican state church.  The heavily Methodist Cornish population resented that fact and sought religious freedom in America.  As we drove into Mineral Point a very large church stood out among the other buildings of the town.  We drove immediately to it and discovered that it was First United Methodist Church. The congregation started in 1854, and the current facility was built in 1987.
Mount Horeb is rich in Norwegian history, by the late 1800s more than 75% of the community was Norwegian.  In the mid 1980s resident woodcarver Michael Freeney, also known as the Troll Carver man, was asked by city officials to create carved trolls for the Business 18/151 highway.  This became know as the “Trollway”.  We walked through the town and were able some of the trolls as “Mayor Troll” and the “Accordion Player”.  The cleanest troll in town is “Tub Troll”.   At the Welcome Center we came upon “Sweet Swill” with her pet pig Arnold.  According to information provided for us at the center she is pondering whether to put her money in the bank or Arnold.
After finding as many trolls as possible we drove to nearby Verona, the home of our nephew Adam and wife Kjerstin.  Our sister-in-law Heidi was babysitting her grandson Kai Sondre for the day, so we were able to visit with her.  All of them, with the exception of Adam who was out of town, joined us for supper in Mount Horeb.  On of the more famous eating establishments in town is a brew pub called the “Grumpy Troll”, he is pictured below.  Beside their wondrous variety of micro beers, the pub is know for its soft pretzel.  It comes warm and served with several sauces.  Just a warning, it is very large and even if shared, can still thoroughly destroy any chance of eating a meal after consuming it! 

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