Architecture brings Wisconsin history to life
Your tour guide: Dan Viste, President of the Mazomanie Community Corporation
Welcome to historic Mazomanie, a village full of 1800s architecture and a remarkable past. On our daytrip, we're going to take a tour of the buildings in town in order to learn about the fascinating history of this important Dane County community.
Our first stop on the tour will be the Mazomanie Historical Society Museum, 130 Brodhead Street. The museum contains excellent historical information about Mazomanie's storied past. The Mazomanie area was settled in 1843 by members of the British Temperance Emigration Society. The site was selected because of its location on Black Earth Creek and its close proximity to the Wisconsin River, an important trade route. The village was platted in 1855 and officially took the name of Mazomanie, which is said to mean "walking iron" in the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) language.
One of Mazomanie's most beautiful buildings is the Stickney House at 203 Brodhead Street. This private home, built in 1856, is an example of Carpenter Gothic. This style of architecture borrowed from motifs used in Gothic stone buildings in Europe. However, in America, the Old World designs were re-interpreted with the abundant material of the New Worldwood.
Another important building is the old Mazomanie Town Hall at 51 Crescent Street. The building dates to 1871. At this time, Mazomanie was a thriving center of agriculture and industry for the entire region. In fact, Mazomanie had electricity in 1885, before the capital city of Madison.
Mazomanie is home to some of the finest examples of 1800s stonework in Wisconsin. The nearby St. John's Lutheran Church, 105 East Hudson Street, is a really wonderful stone building built in 1874. But perhaps the finest living example of late 1800s stonework can be found at The Old Feed Mill, an incredibly restored mill built in 1857. Today, the mill appears as it did in the 1800s and houses a popular restaurant, shop and bakery. The building even has an operating stone mill that allows visitors to see grains being ground just as they were in the 19th century.
Another site that shouldn't be missed is the Mazomanie Historic Art Center at 103 Crescent Street. The Art Center supports artists by providing them with attractive and affordable studio space, gallery space and public exposure. It is one of the few places of its kind where visitors can both watch artisans at work as well as purchase their creations.
That's just a handful of Mazomanie's historic structures. Visitors should also be sure to take in the extraordinary beauty of the surrounding countryside, including magnificent views of the Wisconsin River. Several trails in the area, including an excellent nature trail in nearby Walking Iron Park, allow hikers to get a close-up view of the beautiful landscape.
Thanks for visiting historic Mazomanie for this day trip! A detailed historic walking tour brochure is available at The Old Feed Mill.