Historical Places of the Tri-States: Get Personal with the Past

The Tri-States is a perfect getaway for anyone who has an affinity for the Victorian era and steamboats, revels in the early days of agriculture or the lead mining rush, or simply appreciates American history. The region is full of established communities with historical homes and buildings that allow you to get up close and personal with the past through artifacts, possessions, and stories of the individuals and families who lived there.

ILLINOIS offers excellent examples of Italianate architecture and Civil War-era homes, and is also where you can literally follow in the footsteps of history.

Galena, IL

> The Belvedere Mansion & Gardens is called Galena’s “Downtown Abbey;” it is a well-preserved, historically accurate example of upper-class, mid-19th century life. Just across town you will find the oldest house in Galena – the Dowling House. It was once the only trading post in Galena and provided primitive living quarters for fur traders.

Dixon, IL

> Built in 1908, the Northwest Territory Historic Center is where President Ronald Reagan once attended school as a child. See President Reagan’s 6th Grade Classroom restored to his time there. A separate room features memorabilia from his time as president. Learn about the struggles of the Native American’s as well how they fought to keep their land and how early farmer’s climbed an uphill battle to prosper in a new area.

Savanna, IL

> The City of Savanna is known as an “outdoor paradise” due to its proximity along the shores of the Mississippi River. The dense forest and steep cliffs of nearby Mississippi Palisades State Park had once been home to area Native Americans; present-day visitors to the park can hike the same trails forged by those pathfinders nearly 1500 years ago.

On the IOWA side of the Mississippi, you’ll discover Victorian-era opulence and other cultural traits associated with the booming lead industry and bustling river economy during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Dubuque, IA

> The Mathias Ham House is significant to the Midwest lead mining phenomenon. The mid-Victorian home is on the National Register of Historic Places; it was built by local entrepreneur Mathias Ham and designed by architect John F. Rague. You can visit this living history site from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Davenport, IA

> In 1900, Davenport was described as the most German city in the Midwest. The German American Heritage Center works to teach present and future generations about German immigrant experiences. The Center was a former immigrant hotel and is the last one remaining in the region.

Guttenberg, IA

> The Lockmaster’s House Heritage Museum is where the lockmaster and assistant lockmaster of Lock and Dam #10 were required to live between 1938 and 1973. The house has since become a museum preserving the history of both the lock and dam and Guttenberg. This is the last remaining lockmaster house on the Upper Mississippi River and it is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The scenic rolling hills of Southwest WISCONSIN offer breath-taking views, Swiss hospitality, and a rich agricultural heritage that developed the growth of Wisconsin.

New Glarus, WI

> The New Glarus Hotel Restaurant has a rich history dating back to 1853. Nowadays, it is a called a hotel despite the fact that most guests are there to dine in for the Swiss specialties. The building began as a hotel and the current main dining room was once an old opera house. Silent movies with pianists were often the featured show.

Cassville, WI

> Stonefield Historical Site celebrates Wisconsin’s agricultural history. Learn about the rise of turn-of-the-century dairy farming and see why Wisconsin is known as “America’s Dairyland.” Stonefield has a 1901 farmstead, an agricultural museum, a living history rural farming village, and more!

Mineral Point, WI

> Pendarvis Historical Site interprets the history of Cornish settlement during the early 19th century and Wisconsin’s lead-mining heyday. Touring the historic homes at Pendarvis will transport you into the typical day of a lead-mining immigrant family and how they lived and worked.

Spring Like Things To Do This Weekend

Waking up to the sun with a flock of birds singing outside can only mean one thing, Spring…in February. While it is ambitious to pack away the hats and mittens in exchange for sunglasses and shorts just yet, there is so much outdoor adventure to be had in the Tri-States with this unseasonably Spring like weather. Fishing, hiking, biking, and soaking up the bright and sunshine filled sky is just the beginning.

Fishing

Find that tackle box buried in the garage and dust off your favorite rod for some fishing on the river. While hardcore fishermen bundle up for brutal winter days on the water, us seasonal anglers will appreciate the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing day soaking up some much-needed Vitamin D. Whether you are drifting down the Wisconsin River from Potosi, WI, plunking in a pool on the Mississippi River in Dubuque, IA, or camped out at a public stocked lake in Hanover, IL, you’ll be sure to catch the fish off guard in this February weather.

Hiking

There is no better way to explore the Tri-States then by foot, hiking the glorious bluff country. Plan a weekend full of adventuring with the Grant Wood Loop in Eastern Iowa. Hike the historic bow-string bridge at Wapsipinicon State Park in Anamosa, IA, stop for a picnic along Copper Creek Trail in Preston, IA and take in a breathtaking view of the Mississippi from the bluffs of Bellevue State Park in Bellevue, IA. Plan your customizable loop here.

Biking

Break out the bikes and spin your way through the Tri-States with the sun warm sun. Follow the Galena River Trail for six miles through picturesque Galena, IL, wander along the Mississippi riverfront in Clinton, IA along the Discover Trail, or traverse the former railroad, the Dinky Trail in Platteville, WI.

No matter what outdoor adventure sends you soaring, be sure to get out and about in the Tri-States this weekend.

Uniquely Delicious Brunch Destinations

Curled up tightly in a blanket on a crisp winter morning, I daydream of the sweet and spicy scent of cinnamon wafting through the air and tickling my nose. I imagine the sizzle of freshly sliced bacon as it hits a creamy butter coated pan and reminisce of lazy Saturday mornings with my siblings. I envision a stack of fluffy pillow like pancakes is placed in front of me and stretch for the maple syrup I secretly hope is on my nightstand. Thank goodness a mouthwatering brunch is within reach in the Tri-States.

 

Flatted Fifth Blues & BBQ at Potter’s Mill- Bellevue, Iowa

A little something extra special is exactly what’s in-store at Flatted Fifth Blues & BBQ at Potter’s Mill in Bellevue, Iowa on Sunday mornings at their Lagniappe Brunch. Fried Chicken and Waffles will find your taste buds in perfect harmony between sweet and salty. A tower of Pancakes and Ice Cream is sure to make every kid’s eyes pop and the chef may throw on some chocolate chips if you ask! Not to mention, it’s a BBQ joint so their house-smoked bacon is spot on. It’s the brunch spot of choice for all things Cajun culture and historic charm.

 

Katina’s Kitchen- Dickeyville, Wisconsin

For a bright and cheery brunch along the Great River Road, check out Katina’s Kitchen in Dickeyville, Wisconsin. Serving up crowd favorites like crispy Cap N’ Crunch French Toast and heaping plates of Pecan Caramel Pancakes all day long can’t help but put a smile on your face and warm your belly. This whole-in-the-wall eatery is the perfect pit stop on your road trip or a destination itself.

 

Otto’s Place- Galena, Illinois

Gorgonzola Apple Bacon Omelets are only the beginning of your brunch experience at Otto’s Place in Galena, Illinois. While tucked away in a quiet neighborhood, their grub is anything but quiet. Egg Tacos topped with Goat Cheese and Sriracha will set your tongue on fire and gooey Bread Pudding French Toast will make you want to sign. And you are always in for a welcomed surprise with the Quiche of the Day. Add Otto’s to your restaurant bucket list.

 

Nourish your body and soul at these uniquely delicious brunch destinations in the Tri-States.