Metal Silo, Appleton, WI

Metal Silo in the Suburbs, Emons Road, Appleton, Wisconsin (May 2014) © J. Shimon & J. Lindemann
The suburbs encroach...


Found: Little White School House, Ripon, WI

Found: The Famous Little White School House, at Ripon, Wisconsin.
Birth place of the Republican Party in 1854.
Color photo by Fagan. Genuine Natural Color Fagan Publishing Co., Madison, Wis. Circa 1955.
Postmarked Ripon, Wisconsin, June 26, 1959.
We once showed our One Million Years is Three Seconds project about four older Wisconsin men who'd lived through the technological changes of the 20th century at Ripon College. Bob Watt, who was one of the four men, got madder than a hoot owl that we'd show our work, especially photographs of him, in Ripon...the "Birthplace of the Republican Party" in the Little White School House...Though some believe that the party was merely "conceived" in Ripon, among the uniting issues was a commitment to abolish slavery.


Harvestores at County D, Fredonia, WI

Harvestores, County D at Hway 57 near Fredonia, Wisconsin (4.18.2014)
Cyanotype © J. Shimon & J, Lindemann
The A.O. Smith logo is visible from the road on a 90 foot tall Harvestore even across a field of corn stubble with visible nitrogen-laden run-off. Standing amongst farm structures, trees, and overhead power lines and towers, the brand identity remains clear under the cloudless sky.


Found: Sheboygan River, Sheboygan, WI

Found: Sheboygan River, Wood Scene, Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
Made in Germany for C.E. Wheelock & Co., Peoria, Illinois & Leipzig. Circa 1907.

The trees reflecting in the water depicted on this postcard bring to mind Edward Steichen's The Pond - Moonrise.  Steichen lived in Milwaukee, from age 10 until age 20, where his interests in photography and painting began. Though working as a lithographer's apprentice, he left for Paris then New York where he met Alfred Stieglitz and helped found the Photo-secessionist group and by 1903 began contributing to Camera Work. Steichen's The Pond, from the same era as this postcard, does not include women posing along the water nor does it include text to associate the scene with a specific place. If Steichen had stayed in Milwaukee to work as lithographer, is this postcard image what his work would have become?

The Pond - Moonrise, 1904, by Edward J. Steichen
Platinum Print with Applied Color (from The Metropolitan Museum of Art collection)

The Pond - Moonlight 1904, by Edward Steichen


Harvestore, Brillion, WI

Harvestore, County K at County PP near Brillion, Wisconsin (4.25.2014)
© J. Shimon & J. Lindemann
Driving along County K, this Harvestore can't be missed as if roadside visibility was
paramount in determining its placement. It is especially prominent in the landscape.


Found: City Park, Appleton, WI

Found: City Park, Appleton, Wisconsin.
Printed by Souvenir Post Card Co., New York and Berlin.
Postmarked Appleton, Wis. May 26, 1909.
Written on front with fountain pen: "Hello Lenore and Edwin. From Papa."
City Park in Appleton is the oldest park in town. When students come to Appleton to attend Lawrence University, among their first discoveries is the "Ring Dance" sculpture by the late Dallas Anderson at the center of this nearby park. The circa 1996 bronze depicts six children prancing in a circle beneath the mist of a fountain. The children look nude at first glance, but indeed wear bathing suits. It is a funny strange work of public art that the restrained child on this post card seems to be envisioning.


Harvestore (early model), Fredonia, WI

Harvestore (early model), County D at Highway 57 near Fredonia, Wisconsin (4.18.2014)
© J. Shimon & J. Lindemann
The height of this early model Harvestore silo, circa 1949, matches the 34 foot height of this traditional wood dairy barn, circa early 20th century. Note the adjoining milk house. Silo height was once determined by the number of cattle to feed, duration of winter or other factions. The height of this 'new' silo seems based instead on aesthetics.


Found: Indian Crossing, Waupaca, WI

Found: Indian Crossing, Chain O'Lakes, Waupaca, Wis. "The Killarneys of America" in the Heart of Wisconsin.
Natural Color Postcard made in U.S.A. by E. C. Kropp Co. circa 1947

Found: Indian Crossing, Chain O'Lakes, Waupaca, Wis. "The Killarneys of America" in the Heart of Wisconsin.
23 crystal-clear spring-fed lakes, good fishing from the lordly muskellunge to the lowly blue gill,
a vacation paradise, swimming, boating, hiking, riding, tennis and golf.
Natural Color Postcard made in U.S.A. by E. C. Kropp Co. circa 1947.
Printed with fountain pen on back:
"Hi Mink, Everything all ship-shape. Got rid of the "varmints" with a D.D.T. Bomb.
Had more fun squirting it around. Water is warm at first, then cooling. 
I'm sure I'll get my quota filled of freckles and sunburn.
What a Mess I'll be then. Waiting for our dinner hour. Eating the evening meals out.
A real change for us wicked women! Thinking of you. Love - Tommica"
Postmarked Waupaca, Wis. August 25, 1947 9:30 AM
The Wisconsin vacation land described on postcards often contrasts with the handwritten reportage on the backside. On this card, the sender refers to "squirting" DDT (an insecticide that emerged during WWII) around to "get rid of the varmints" while accepting the inevitable sunburn and freckles.The 1920s era Indian Crossing Casino depicted on the front remains in near original condition due to the dedication in the past 30 years of owners Maria and Bill Belke. Casino means "gathering place" not gambling place.


Three Harvestores, Branch, WI

Three Harvestores, Stone Road near Branch, Wisconsin (1.19.2014)
According to a USDA farm bulletin on homemade silos that predates the introduction of the Harvestore, the diameter of a silo "depends upon the quantity of silage to be fed daily." The Height is determined by the "number of tons of silage that will be required...governed by the length of the silage-feeding season." This farm with its three Harvestores and three concrete silos of varying sizes indicates expansions over time. Barns in various styles corroborate this as they coexist in the snow.


Found: Rib Mountain State Park, Wausau, WI

Found: Near Summit of Rib Mountain State Park, Wausau, Wis. Highest Point in Wisconsin, Elevation 1940 feet.
"The summit of Rib Mountain is 1940 feet above sea level, about 700 feet higher than the city of Wausau.
The original park land consisted of 40 acres donated by Jacob Gensman Estate April 17, 1932.
February 19, 1923, the Kiwanis Club donated an additional 120 acres and
early in 1933 the State "purchased" another 120 acres, thus forming a State Park comprising 280 acres."
Natural Color Post Card Made in U.S.A. by E. C. Kropp Co., Milwaukee, Wis. Circa 1949.
The text of this card attracted us initially with the sign directing visitors to "keep to the left" on their way to the "highest point" in Wisconsin. Rib Mountain is not the highest point in Wisconsin though it is the highest mountain or hill at 1942 feet (not 1940 as this text claims). NOTE: Timms Hill (near Tomahawk, WI) is in fact the highest natural point at 1951.5 feet. The park claims to be one of the first ski resorts in the US having opened in 1937 and still operates as Granite Peak resort with 75 runs. Local legend claims that besides Paul Bunyan forming the Grand Canyon and the Mississippi River, that his burial alongside Babe the Blue Ox formed Rib Mountain. But this is a claim that can't be disproven through accurate measuring.


Harvestore Silo, Wayside, WI

Harvestore Silo, Mancal Road near Wayside, Wisconsin (1.19.2014)
© J. Shimon & J. Lindemann
Introducing a cool deep blue to the farm, where earth tones prevailed, made a modern statement starting in 1949. Harvestore blue results from the industrial process of fusing glass/enamel to steel. The blue of the Harvestore contrasted with the fields of crops, the tilled earth, golden oats, red barns against a backdrop of the blue sky.


Found: Beaver Dam Iron Works, Beaver Dam, WI

Found: Beaver Dam Malleable Iron Works. Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. Published by Ino T. Faber, Milwaukee. Wis.
Made in Germany. Postmarked June 16, 1909 10 AM Beaver Dam.
The company had a long and heroic history of making Monarch ranges, convection ovens, refrigerators, furnaces, and even war time supplies like artillery shells, truck bodies, and gas cans. It held many patents operating from 1896 until 1985. Actor Fred MacMurray is said to have worked there for a time.  By the 1980s the company filed bankruptcy and the property was given to Dodge County because of back taxes owed. Chemical contamination at the site, arson, and vandalism plagued the property. The buildings were razed in 1990. Clean up of the site began with funds from the EPA and various government agencies. The total cost: $2.6 million. In 1996 a grocery store was built on the site.


Harvestore, Highway 147, Two Rivers, WI

Harvestore, Highway 147 near Two Rivers, Wisconsin (1.31.2014) © J. Shimon & J. Lindemann
Thinking about branding and decay. The signature blue color and A.O. Smith HARVESTORE font and logo erode and change slowly as the Wisconsin elements (snow, ice, rain, wind) work away at this resilient surface. The Harvestore® silo structure stands tall amidst a grouping of traditional farm buildings of functional design also gracefully disintegrating in the snow of January.


Found: Blast Furnaces, Mayville, WI

Found: Blast Furnaces, Mayville, Wisconsin. 
Postmarked Mayville, Wis. August 21, 1908
Iron mining and the old Iron Ridge were integral to early Mayville and vicinity development from 1845 to 1928. Blast furnaces, operated by the Mayville Iron Company, and the pig iron they made earned the area the title of the Pittsburgh of the West. As time marched on, iron came from Minnesota and upper Michigan rather than the immediate area. The blast furnaces declined as a result of a transition from iron to steel and were demolished during the depression as part of a government works project. Today an important abandoned iron mine in nearby Neda serves as habitat to an estimated 200,000 bats.


Harvestores on the Horizon, Brillion, WI

Harvestores on Horizon, Long Lake Road near Brillion, Wisconsin (1.31.2014)
© J. Shimon & J. Lindemann

Driving along Wisconsin roads, silos of various vintages break the horizon often with Harvestores in the mix. As we pan the landscape, several farms are visible across the frozen tundra each with a Harvestore or two.