Day 24: Winding Down in Wisconsin

If all goes according to plan, today was the last full day in Wisconsin.  Moving on to Minnesota tomorrow.  I thought we’d never get there!  My stops were a bit further apart — had to resort to radio and coffee to make it through the long stretches.  No problems whatsoever with camera, van or dogs.  Lots of irritating road detours.   Weather — absolutely gorgeous all day.

Let’s start where we left off last night — in Wisconsin Rapids — with a day shot of the Kelly’s bottle:

I was anxious to shoot one of the remaining two Chip’s:
I posted a couple of photos of the one in Merrill at Flickr tonight.
When I arrived at this one in Wisconsin Rapids, there had just been a fire minutes beforehand.  Luckily, the meat delivery person (truck rear right) was making a delivery and smelled smoke and called the fire dept.  Must have been electrical since the place was not open at 9am when I was there.  I didn’t see any damage so hopefully reopening won’t be a problem.

The building still in fine shape — peering through the doors, I didn’t see any damage to the interior:

Seems to be the original sign:

A close-up of the character at the bottom of the sign:

There were statues of this guy — here’s an example from SC (not sure if he’s still there):

And another one that’s been altered from NC:

From Stevens Point — the Blue Top Supper Club and Motel:

Also in Stevens Point:

I knew that shape looked familiar and checked for it at my site — sure enough — it’s an adapted Chevrolet OK used car sign:

An irresistible contemporary sign from Mosinee:

Although this building in Mosinee sure looked 1960s/1970s to me, the woman I spoke with inside swore it was built in the 1990s.  It’s always housed a combo visitors center and retail space.  It was a meat market before it was Subway.  The visitors center has now moved out and that part of the building is vacant.

From Wausau — the Ponderosa Motel.  I got mightily screamed at by the owner for the 2 seconds that I pulled in to take this photo.  Sheesh!

Just south of Merrill.  I don’t normally pay close attention to painted barn signs.   Faded remnants of Mail Pouch and the like – sweet but not normally the sort of thing I shoot.  But this caught my eye.  Do you see it?

A close-up?  Do you see it yet?

Sure enough — that’s a painted Chip’s sign over a previous King Midas Flour sign: 

I have never heard of Chip’s painted barn signs before!  I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the only one.  I asked the farmer on his tractor about it.  He said it was painted there shortly after they opened the Merrill location.  He said when he retires, no immediate plans but I’m guessing the guy is in his 70s, he’s going to tear the barn down.  “When I get too old to mow hay.”

Moving on to Abbotsford:

From Spencer — this one has me puzzled.  So, if you add more romance to your life, the lights will be off and you’ll save energy and money.  Am I understanding this correctly?  Or maybe they just mean candlelight instead of sex?  Or deliberately ambiguous?

And last one for the night from Eau Claire.  I just love the name and the graphic.  I’d much rather stay at an Antlers Motel than a Red Roof or Motel 6.  But these types of places normally don’t allow dogs.  And I’m a little fussy about new & clean when it comes to accommodations.  I hope some of you are braver and not so picky so that places like this will survive.

Tomorrow — should be in Minnesota by mid-afternoon.  Lots of Minneapolis/St. Paul stuff and then focusing on the upper half of MN.  More than likely, run out of time midway through the state.  Only about a week and a half left.

9 thoughts on “Day 24: Winding Down in Wisconsin

      • The blog sign is a recycled Hardees, the “WH” sign is not .Too bad the Milwalkee Judys/Chips sign is gone .

      • Ah — ok. More Chip’s news: the sign in Marshfield is gone now — a big, new Walgreens on the property. The building in Wausau is gone. BUT I did find another Dari-Delite in Merrill by accident. It’s at Polk & 1st. That’s all that comes to my mind — what’s left of it!

  1. This is an awesome batch of photos! I really like the repurposed Grubba Jewelers sign, the Chips Building, and the bonus Chips Barn Sign! I’ve thought many times during this trip that you should have had a camera crew along filming the pilot for your own reality show. Might be able to teach America the beauty and wonder that the vintage architecture and signage offers.

    • Glad you liked this post. It was quite a day of discoveries. Yes, please — send Hollywood my way. I’d love to be MAKING some cash doing this instead of just spending it. And it would be my honor to contribute to saving more of this stuff.

  2. Thanks for posting pics from this area! My wife is from Mosinee, and really enjoyed seeing the pictures from her neck o’ the woods.

    I’ve walked right under that Grubba’s sign, and am very familiar with the OK porc/neon signs, but never put the two together. What a shame – that was a very valuable sign.


    • The Grubba’s sign: I knew that shape – these things stick in my brain.

      I’m sure I took more photos from the Mosinee area. There will be TONS more Wisconsin photos at my site eventually. You’re only seeing a small sampling here.

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