August 14, 2020 – Town of Farmington, WI – Touring the Townships of Washington County was an idea presented by my friend Mary Moll. She made it super simple by handing over 15 maps courtesy of the Washington County Landmarks Commission.
Following a memorial Mass for my father on Thursday morning at Holy Angels I struck out for the Township of Farmington in the northeast corner of the county.
The Lake Lenwood Campground was my first stop; paging through the old fishing photo album was a step back in time.
Big catches, blue-jean shorts and dated t-shirts were part of the entertainment.
The cozy campground was super busy as parents and kids took advantage of the sunny weather and warm temps to splash in the water and enjoy the waning days of summer.
Next, I headed east on Highway A and rolled into Lizard Mound which is home to prehistoric effigy mounds.
There are 25 mounds in animal and geometric shapes that are preserved in a woodland setting. If you visit Shalom Wildlife Zoo up the road David Fechter has a lot of information on the Native American heritage in the area.
Further east on Highway A was the hamlet of Cheeseville. The field stone structure at the corner of Hwy A and Trading Post Trail is the old Cheeseville Dairy building that dates to 1881.
Kitty corner to the Dairy is an old schoolhouse that is now a private home. The brick building was constructed in 1912 and it was the second schoolhouse on the site and the first in the county to have indoor plumbing.
On a side note, I will always remember this intersection as the one where the mouse ran across my feet. I saw him coming. He wasn’t a small guy but he was determined to skitter across the road and nothing stood in his way.
Made a quick jaunt off course and glided east into Fredonia and Ozaukee County to visit my friend Tom Schwai. He was busy making pepper jack cheese brats and hollerin’ at his grandson.
Tommy is gearing up for Schwai Fest on September 12, so mark your calendar and save the date. There will be food and “maybe some beverages” according to Tom, and music by Downtown Harrison.
Love being able to stop and capture some of the classic Midwest markers on the side of the road.
Since Waubeka was right around the corner it was a good opportunity to get to know the birthplace of National Flag Day.
The Flag Day Museum is in the old Stony Hill Schoolhouse. The museum is open by appointment only but one of the caretakers was on site and had a key to let me in to explore.
The old classrooms were full of military and local memorabilia including the rich history of businesses from years ago like the button making factory, box-making shop and the old grocer Baumann’s Food Market famous for its Luxembourg cabbage sausage.
The big event through the years has been the Flag Day Parade held the second Sunday in June.
The 100-unit parade is a longstanding tradition In Waubeka.
Getting back on the township track, Highway H pulled me right into Farmington and past the Saxonia House in Fillmore.
The authentic timber-frame building was put up in 1854 by German immigrants. It was built by Ernst Klessig for $3,000 and was once the “focal point of an 89-acre tract called ‘Spring Brook Farm’.”
The German architecture is visible under the cracked stucco. According to the History of Farmington book “the spaces between the hand hewn and pegged timber walls is filled with soft bricks.
The best part of the property is found south of the home down a freshly mowed path. “Dug into the hillside is a cave-like cellar that once stored cooled kegs of Klessig beer.”
The cave is 70 feet deep and has two chambers. It is made of field stone with an arched entryway. Flat slate-like stone makes up the flue.
That beer cave has been one of the best backyard finds so far on the tour.
It was a 33-mile day on Thursday. Friday’s adventure heads west to the town of Wayne and then a quick jaunt south to Allenton and the big fish Fry challenge as the Allenton Fire Department tries to churn out 1,000 fish dinners in four hours. Come join us!
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