Antigo is the county seat of Langlade County, but is in close proximity to Shawano and Marathon Counties. It is also along the route many take to get to Wisconsin's Northwoods where year-round recreational activities abound. This journal is just a sampling of what's around Antigo.
by MilwVon on August 19, 2013
Every year since 2001 except 2010, David (my hubby) and I have hosted a camping weekend with friends just north of Antigo, Wisconsin. Located about 200 miles from Milwaukee in Central Wisconsin, the area provides us with an opportunity to get away from it all with 10-20 other couples.We have held this special weekend of "adults only" to give folks a break from the city rat race . . . and their kids. We learned of Camp Susan from friends who lived up in that area. The camp is actually a kids' 4H camp, with summer camp programs provided to kids from that region Monday through Friday. The 2,000+ acre campground features a very large lodge with full galley capable of preparing meals for hundreds, plus three bunkhouses and a nice shower house with bathrooms and showers segmented for boys & girls. Additionally, they added a special use cabin with two ADA compliant rooms with their own private access and bathrooms.While there are ample bunks for around 200 people, several in our group bring tents and camp the old fashioned way. We have also had folks tow in trailers and pop-up tents, as well as drive self contained RV's for a more comfortable camping experience.There is a spring fed lake with a sand beach with swimming area with ample canoes and flat-bottom boats and life jackets for all who may want to go out on the water. In past years, we had some folks catch and release small pan fish. Down by the water, there is also a nice large campfire area, complete with benches . . . something else that has been added in recent years. For those who want to barbeque rather than cook inside, there is a large hooded grill as well.Inside the lodge, there is a large stone fireplace. The camp provides wood down near the campfire ring in the woodshed (of course). In some years we have rented the campground in June when nighttime temps dropped into the 30-40F range. Needless to say, the fire was much needed. In the bunk houses, however, there is no heat so bringing a good sleeping bag is pretty important.Camp Susan is available to rent by local civic groups, family reunion organizers and others looking to host a large group of people. The rental period starts Friday at 4p and runs through Sunday 4p. For our group, we've been able to rent the facility and plan for meals for around $60 per person for the entire weekend.For those interested in putting together a family event at Camp Susan, you can contact the University of Wisconsin - Langlade Extension Office at 715-627-7866.
We have been going to Antigo for more than 10 years for our annual camping weekend with about 10 other couples. Every time we have passed Chet & Emil's large "broasted chicken" sign along Hwy 45, I have been curious about this place. I became even more curious about them when I learned that they have four circa 1940's bowling lanes as part of their small town business.While I was out and about checking out the area around Antigo, I found myself in neighboring Shawano County and the town of Birnamwood. I decided to just drop in and check the place out. The welcome sign invited guests to enter the "office" which was actually the bar. Gotta love that!Inside the bar was a friendly guy serving beverages to a couple of obvious locals watching the prior night's Milwaukee Brewers' baseball game. I introduced myself as someone visiting the area and who had heard about their bowling center. When I asked if I could see their little four-laner, he invited me over to the military Quonset hut like building where the bowling lanes and ballroom were located.He explained to me that since "nobody in Wisconsin bowls in the summer" they use the space for wedding banquets, which they were set up for later in the evening. Behind the door, the ballroom and bowling lanes area were set up beautifully. You would have no idea that underneath the flooring platform were four bowling lanes and beyond the stage and curtain were four AMF pinsetters and ball return machines. It was amazing to me, that they were able to transform this area as a very nice wedding party venue.I asked him about the history of the lanes. He told me his business partner's father bought the place in 1946 and added bowling lanes in 1947. The next summer, he realized they would not have enough bowling business to keep the place open. That was when he decided to design the ballroom concept to host wedding receptions during bowling's off season. What a very ingenious idea.I also learned that while they used pin boys in the early years, they were fully automated in the 1960's and in 2010 they installed synthetic lane beds. At some time they also installed automatic scorers, as evidenced in a photo posted on their website. Along the area that would normally be the settee area for bowlers, they had a recognition wall of high scores including a couple of 300 games and 800 series. Again, I was impressed.Back in the bar, I really liked the place. It was comfy and homey; and was adjoined to the restaurant where the famous broasted chicken was served. They also feature burgers, sandwiches and a Friday fish fry.They also have a 12 unit motel adjacent to the bar/restaurant/bowling center. With the affordable prices (under $50 for a single), I have to say, I cannot wait to stay there in the future when I hope to return to Antigo for their winter sled dog race in January!For more information, including banquet hall pricing, dining menus & pricing, as well as lodging info, check them out at: http://chetandemils.webs.com/ .Location & Contact Information:Chet & Emil's Bar, Banquet Hall, Motel, Restaurant and Bowling388 Main St.P.O. Box 207Birnamwood, WI 54414(715 )449-2226(715) 449-2297Email: email@example.com
I have visited, seen and toured a lot of museums so it takes quite a bit to really impress me. The Langlade County Historical Society Museum located in Antigo truly amazed me!Located right on Hwy 45 as you enter the city from the south, we have passed by for more than 10 years. On this particular camping trip, however, I decided I was going to actually make time to visit the museum and I am very happy that I did.Located in what was the old Carnegie Library, the museum consists of three floors of antiques and artifacts from a by-gone era of lumber mills, wood working and farming. Built in 1905 thanks to a $15,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie, the library resided here until 1997. At the time that the library moved to more modern quarters, the building was donated to the Langlade County Historical Society for preservation and to house their museum.Langlade County was first settled in 1879, with Antigo becoming the county seat a couple of years later. The original inhabitants of this area were Native Americans who recognized the area for the rich natural resources including timber and soil conducive to farming. Antigo continued to thrive in lumber, dairy and farming well into the 20th century. Although there has been some set back in the economy in recent years, these industries still exist but on a more consolidated basis.Back in the day when bowling was a more thriving industry, bowling pins were made here in Antigo by Vulcan (a company later bought out and subsequently closed a few years later by Brunswick Corporation). Today in the same factory that no longer makes bowling pins they are busy manufacturing baseball bats that are used by many Major League players. "Rock Bats" are made from sugar maple trees by Zelazoski Wood Products.Inside the museum, visitors can walk through at their own pace and based on their interests. The main floor has exhibits featuring office work, music, medicine & dentistry as well as Native American arts and crafts. The lower level has several displays chronicling farming throughout the last 125 years as well as home furnishings and appliances, photography and personal grooming (beauty parlor and barbershops). Upstairs, there were displays tracing the history of recreational activities, an old schoolhouse room, a tribute to the military and another to the railroad industry.I have to say, the collection of personal items donated by local residents really adds to the high quality of this museum. Whether it is an old style waffle iron, a wringer washing machine or a stereographic camera . . . I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent leisurely wander through the many exhibit rooms. Because this is a collection of vintage family heirlooms, many items reminded me of time spent as a child on my grandmother's farm in Georgia back in the 1960's. They had an old butter churn that looked just like the one she used to use twice a week to make butter.Out on the property, they have two other exhibits that are worth viewing if you have the time. The first is the 1900's train. As you might imagine, the railroad was critical in support of the lumber industry in this area of Wisconsin. The rail line through Antigo was first established in 1881, with expansion occurring in the early 20th century. Not only was the rail critical to timber production, but it was also important to get potatoes and other Wisconsin crops shipped throughout the region. As people became more interested in moving about the state, passenger travel increased especially from this area to places such as Chicago and Milwaukee. The train also became a primary mode of transportation for the season fishermen who wanted to head north to Lake Superior. The second exhibit on the grounds is the Deleglise Cabin which was built in 1878 by the founder of Antigo Francis Deleglise. Home for Deleglise and his family. This cabin was moved from it's original location and has been preserved by the Langlade Historical Society since 1998. While it is open to visitors subject to the availability of volunteers, I was unable to view the inside of the small log cabin.The museum is open throughout the year, Thursday through Sunday, 9:30a to 3:30p. There is no admission fee to tour the museum or any of the exhibits on the grounds. Visitors are however, encouraged to make a donation to the Langlade Historical Society in support of their preservation and restoration efforts.
During my day out and about around Antigo, I learned of this little historical site in Neva. It was ideally located, on my way back to camp at the end of a long afternoon of exploring the area.The Old Corner School was built in 1883 by loggers who settled in the area. The one-room schoolhouse housed nearly 100 students from little first graders all the way to older high schoolers. Having outgrown the small building by the turn of the century, it was closed in 1904 when students were moved to a newer school building in nearby Deerbrook.The old school building was left vacant for nearly 70 years until a committee was formed to restore it. The work began in 1979 and culminated with the town's centennial celebration in 1983. Today the schoolhouse is open to visitors on weekends throughout the summer.I arrived around 2:30pm which was plenty of time to walk around and look at the antiques and vintage items from the late 1800's. There was a very nice volunteer who was available to answer questions.I learned that many items in the Old Corner School were original to the days when classes we taught here. Some of the desks, globe and ceiling lamp were all original to the school, as was one of the blackboards. There was also some vintage clothing on display as well as a piece of jewelry on the teacher's dress that was from that time.Adding to the experience were a number of photos displayed throughout including photo albums located on many of the student desks. Touring this little schoolhouse doesn't take much time. It is located about 20 minutes north of Antigo and less than a mile off Hwy 45, and is well worth the time for those traveling between Antigo and Rhinelander (or Eagle River).There is no admission fee although donations are accepted and encouraged. Currently they are open to the public Memorial Day through Labor Day; weekends only 10a to 4p.
Shawano County has probably one of the most active and productive committees in the State of Wisconsin. With 222 quilts gracing barns throughout the county, most of them have been painted by the Shawano Country Barn Quilt Committee itself.I must admit, I was aware of their presence through a mutual barn quilt admirer here in Wisconsin but for some reason, my state geography knowledge did not place Shawano County on our route to Antigo. Imagine my surprise as we were driving along Hwy 45 to stumble upon this wealth of artistic expression throughout the rural farmland of central Wisconin.As much as I would have loved to have ventured out and about chasing after barns to photograph, I would have to settle for the opportunity to snap some pictures on our return drive home at the end of our camping weekend. Therefore the only photos I have to share with this story are the five we passed on our scheduled route.The Shawano County Barn Quilt Committee has done a great job of promoting their trail, providing photos, descriptions and stories on each of their 222 (and counting) quilts. Their website may be found here: http://www.shawanocountry.com/ .Here's just a little bit on the five quilts that I visited:"Wedding Rings" was probably the easiest to research online because just looking at it, you *know* the name. A friend of mine at camp was asking if I had seen the pretty barn quilts on the way up and I asked if she was talking about the "wedding ring" one. We both laughed, because that was exactly what the patterned looked like to both of us. The image conveyed the artist's imagination. It is perfect in color and design. The barn that hosts this quilt was built in 1895.My next favorite was the quilt entitled "Hands All Around" because it is intended to portray the helping hands of volunteers and others . . . people who selflessly give to others. It is also on a very pretty barn that sits on a very pretty barn with nice farmland surrounding it.The most unusual barn I photographed with a quilt on it was the yellow barn near Eland, Wisconsin. I had never seen a yellow barn so to have the color imagery of the tall green corn fields in the foreground of this lovely barn and quilt, was very nice. "Christmas Memory" is the name of the quilt on this barn. It does sit rather far from Hwy 45 and at an awkward angle to the road. For folks traveling north on Hwy 45, you will completely miss it if you do not know it is there.The last two barns with quilts that I photographed were near Tigerton, Wisconsin. The Ullmer Dairy Farm has the "Patriotic Prairie Star" on their barn while the "Amish Rubics Center" can be seen just a short distance way.I know that I will return to the area and want to cruise around the rural roads of Shawano County to see more of the beautiful barn quilts that adorn barns and other farm buildings throughout the county.
Do you think "anti-go" means to stop? After all, the opposite of go would be stop. Well if your travels take you to Central Wisconsin and "up north der hey" then you may venture through Antigo. In addition to the places featured in this journal, there is a wealth of other activities worth considering during a visit to the area.For those interested in outdoor activities, check out the golfing, hiking, boating or fishing. During my Saturday afternoon drive, I enjoyed checking out the golf course that is right by Camp Susan. The Bass Lake Country Club is open to the public and markets themselves as "the best golf course in the Northwoods." For their seasonal hours of operation, prices and discounts check them out at: http://www.basslakecc.com/ .There are several hiking trails in the area including a segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail along the Plover River on Hwy 52 in Marathon County (about 20 minutes from downtown Antigo). Also in Marathon County on County Road G is the BItzke BIrdwalk & Waterfowl Refuge.Because Antigo is the county seat of Langlade County, it is also home to the County Fairgrounds. Check out their calendar of events for the fair dates (typically in late July) as well as other events such as car races and concerts, held during the summer. Looking for a rainy day activity? There are several of them available as well. Native American casinos can be found throughout Wisconsin's Northwoods area, including the Ho Chunk - Wittenberg Casino and Mole Lake Casino. At Ho Chunk they are open 24/7 and offer slot machines (including penny machines), video poker and keno. Mole Lake is not open 24/7 but has blackjack and a bingo hall.If you are heading out towards Marathon County and old cars are a passion, there is the old car museum located south on Hwy 52, before you get to Wausau. It is called Alpha Heaven Motorama and is a bit off the beaten path in Aniwa, Wisconsin. Not being an Alpha Romeo aficionado, I didn't really want to spend the $10 to take the walking tour, so I stopped by took some photos of the exterior lot and left.One of the more disappointing things about Antigo is that they do have a couple of cheese companies and dairy farms in the area, but nothing open for tours. If you are looking for a decent locally made cheese, check out Santori Foods which does have a cheese shop in town (201 Morse Street Antigo, WI 54409) but only open Monday through Friday. Their dairy is located just out of town and provides for a nice photo op.For more ideas of things to do and places to see, be sure to check out the Antigo/Langlade County Chamber of Commerce office on Hwy 45 on the south end of town. While they are only open Monday through Friday, they do have printed material in racks on their front sidewalk for those visiting after 5:00pm and on the weekends.
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