We recently spent a few days in northern Wisconsin. Rhinelander, Eagle River and a lot of towns to and back, and in between. The main destination was Rhinelander because a friend of ours had a piece in the Nicolet College 25th Northern National Art Competition and we were attending the opening reception. We decided to add a few days to our trip and do some birding. But a lot of rain and a lot of heat changed our plans. Sure, we saw four eagles and a couple of osprey but the airways and the woods were generally pretty quiet, so on to our fallback activity: large, unusual….art? advertising? sculpture? Hard to say but we stop, turn around and go back, take pictures and smile. There is actually a company (F.A.S.T. Corp) in Sparta,Wisconsin that makes many of those big fiberglass critters you see all over the country. I can’t confirm that they made the ones we saw on this trip but the likely one might be Paul Bunyan and his big blue ox.
This Paul and Babe is in front of Paul Bunyan’s Cook Shanty in Minocqua, Wisconsin, known for its Logging Camp Breakfast which lasts from 7am till noon. That’s probably why Babe has a twinkle in his eye, unlimited donuts. We ate at a much more sedate coffee shop down the road.
Earlier in Rhinelander, Home of the Hodag, we found a hodag in front of the visitor’s center.
In 1893 newspapers reported the discovery of a Hodag in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. It had “the head of a frog, the grinning face of a giant elephant, thick short legs set off by huge claws, the back of a dinosaur, and a long tail with spears at the end”. I think the fibergalss sculpture is a great likeness of the “real” animal here in a photograph just before its capture, grinning like an elephant? Eat your heart out Bigfoot.
In Eagle River we were driving down a road heading for our hotel when I noticed a big head off on a frontage road sitting in a yard. I said to Curt, “I just saw a big head”, he asked if it was worth going back for, I said yes, and I was glad I did. Later I googled “Chief Sitting Bull – sculpture” and this guy does not appear anywhere. The plaque reads Chief Sitting Bull sculpted by Charles Reed 1931-1932. I couldn’t find anything on Charles either.
Sorry we didn’t put something for scale in here but he’s about four feet high and looks a little like Ed Asner.
Our last “big” find was in St Germain, WI, named after Chief St. Germain who does not exist. Huh? Well the original St. Germaine was a soldier, Jean Francois St. Germaine, who married a Chippewa woman and settled with her tribe. There were a lot of little St. Germaines from that union and when the town sprung up they named it St. Germain (dropping the “e”) to honor all the Indians who used the area as a favorite hunting and fishing haunt. Makes no sense at all.
I particularly like the lichen on his pecs, arms and nipples though it makes me a little itchy.
Hey, the woods are full of these up Nort! Come and visit.