Wisconsin: A Guide to the Badger State

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Wisconsin Dells, once called Kilbourn, changed its name in 1931 in the hope that the more descriptive title would attract tourists, for the city is a starting point for water trips up and down the Wisconsin River, here walled with carved and freakish rock. The Dells, according to Winnebago legend, were formed when a giant serpent moved southward, battering its way through great masses of rocks, leaving the land rent and broken. Today excursion boats (fee $2, boats leave at frequent intervals) follow the serpent's path in exploration of three scenic landings in Upper Dells and the beautiful Rock Islands in the Lower Dells, passing DEVIL'S ELBOW, FAT MAN'S MISERY, NARROWS, NAVY YARDS, CAVE OF THE DARK WATERS, SUGAR BOWL, GIANT ARROW HEAD, GRAND PIANO, HAWK'S BILLS, and others. Near the Dells are seven miles of sandstone rock, some of which can be seen from the bridge that divides Upper Dells from the Lower. At this point high ledges of old Potsdam sandstone are crowned with foliage; ferns, vines and flowers hang from the crevices in the rock walls. Now wide and now narrow, the river has carved a deep channel in solid sandstone, creating many unusual forms. As a geologist wrote in 1847, "Architraves, sculptured cornices, moulded capitals, scrolls, and fluted columns are seen on every hand; presenting, altogether, a mixture of the grand, the beautiful and the fantastic."

Wisconsin Dells is at the junction with US 16 (see Tour 21).


Tour 9
Ashland -- Spooner -- Hager City -- (Red Wing, Minn.); US 63. Ashland to Minnesota Line, 201 m.

Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha R.R. parallels route between Ashland and Turtle Lake. Asphalt and oiled-gravel roadbed. Accommodations scant except in resort area.

US 63 slants southwest from Lake Superior through a country of sand and jack pine, a region of lakes, streams, and low young forests to which hundreds of sportsmen come each year to hunt and fish. This district offers simple rugged backwoods entertainment; it has not yet acquired the superficial sophistication, the glittering dance halls and bars of older resort regions. Something of lumbering days still lingers in the villages and cities whose older residents remember a time when the caulks of logging boots were as important a part of a man's everyday armament as his fists or his teeth. Farther south US 63 traverses a long stretch of farmland within 30 miles of the Twin Cities market.

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