Killian's, Kaukauana, WI

Killian's, Kaukauna, Wisconsin (May 2013)
© J. Shimon & J. Lindemann
Barns and silos of varying vintages dot the Wisconsin landscape coexisting as evidence of evolving agricultural technologies that enabled dairy farmers to increase production. From quaint old red wood barns with windmills to early 20th century concrete silos to late 20th century Harvestores, the structures remain as memorials to a desire to embrace progress and expand on traditional food production practices. Agricultural silos have a distinct history going back centuries and enabled farmers to preserve animal feed or silage through fermentation.


Found: Lush Farm Land, Eau Claire, WI

Found: GREETINGS FROM EAU CLAIRE, WIS. Lush Farm Land. Photo by Thomas Peters Lake.
Published by Johnson Printing, Inc., Eau Claire, Wis. Written on back with ballpoint pen:
"Dear Folks, We are having a wonderful trip visiting Carol and he mother. The country is beautiful.
Love Florence & Goodwin." Postmarked August 14, 1959
The last day this corn field could be cultivated with an IH Farmall C tractor. "Lush" post-war prosperity and quaint iconic red barns co-exist. By today's standards, the fields, tractor, and buildings are small and manageable for the family farmer.


Field of Grass, Whitelaw, WI

Field of Grass, Whitelaw, Wisconsin (7.20.2013)
© J. Shimon & J. Lindemann
Corn and soybeans grew on the land the last few years before we owned it. Local farmers going "big" leased it and told us proudly that they were using "no-till" practices to prevent dreaded erosion. We didn't quite know what that meant, at first. They'd drive through our 1930s scale yard with its narrow gravel driveway with gigantic late-20th century chemical sprayers to apply regular doses of Round Up and Nitrogen sometimes leaving spill that left a bald spot. In summer, the corn or soybeans grew green and strong, but after the harvest, the fields looked like a nuked dead zone. We tried letting a small corner go fallow at first and nothing grew but thistles. We planted grasses on the rest and soon spring peepers, cranes, monarchs, cardinals, and creatures of all sorts repopulated the land singing cheerily as spring arrives each year.


Found: Willow River Falls, Hudson, WI

Found: Willow River Falls, Hudson, Wis. Hand-colored Work E. C. Kropp, Milwaukee, 1906.
Text written in fountain pen on front reads: "I'm afraid it's wet.
Laaks fine though. A.J. Samson, Hudson, Wis." postmarked Hudson, Octobe4 24 1906, 3 PM

The damms built to generate hydroelectric power on the Willow River Falls in the early 20th century, years after the above postcard image showing one man viewing the falls while the other fishes, were removed in the 1990s after a lighting strike according to gowaterfalling.com. Efforts continue to restore the area.


Niagara Escarpment, Highway 55, Stockbridge, WI

Niagara Escarpment, Highway 55 & Quinney Road, Stockbridge, Wisconsin (12.14.2013)
© J. Shimon & J. Lindemann
Motoring down Highway 55 east of Lake Winnegabo, a rock ridge stretches through farm fields following the shore line of Lakes Michgan and Winnebago. Known as the Niagara Escarpment, a cliff of hard rock stretching from Wisconsin to Niagara Falls along the Great Lakes basin, it is considered the "eighth natural wonder" of Wisconsin. The ridge is the source of natural springs, quarries, a wind corridor that made the area prime for a wind farm near Pipe, Wisconsin, and more.

Map illustrating the path of the Niagara Escarpment


Farm with Silos, near Columbus, WI

Farm with Five Vertical Silos, Highway 73, near Columbus, Wisconsin (12.14.2013)
© J. Shimon & J. Lindemann
Some Wisconsin cows go outside and most eat silage--fermented fodder--during the winter months. Silage used to be stored in vertical silos, but many farms have converted to "ag bags" or concrete bunkers leaving the Wisconsin landscape profoundly changed.


Barn and Power Lines, Stockbridge, WI

Barn and Power Lines in snowy landscape, Highway 55 and County F, Stockbridge, Wisconsin (12.14.2013)
© J. Shimon & J. Lindemann
The power lines run parallel to the snowy prairie foregrounding the iconic
Wisconsin barn protected by a forest.


Snowy Plowed Field, Marshall, WI

Snowy Plowed Field with Sun Behind the Clouds, County V, Marshall, Wisconsin (12.14.2013)
© J. Shimon & J. Lindemann
The expansive snow-covered plowed field with forest bordering the horizon under the silvery clouds of mid-afternoon before the Winter Solstice translated by film as bands of tone. Yet another field prepared for the planting of continuous corn.


Corn Stubble in Snowy Field, Columbus, WI

Corn Stubble in Snowy Field, Highway 151 & 73, near Columbus, Wisconsin (12.14.2013)
© J. Shimon & J. Lindemann

The space of the expansive sky and fallow land covered in snow that will burst forth with a hybrid corn crop come spring are distinctly Midwestern.  Signs of agricultural industriousness abound in the precise GPS-guided no-till rows, the expansive cleared land with diminutive touches of forest saved by wetlands or property lines, and the giant silos punctuating the horizon though looking small and faint despite their massive concrete presence. Reading the landscape.


Found: Sheboygan Harbor Breakwater, Sheboygan, WI

Found: Sheboygan Harbor Breakwater, Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Best of fishing off this breakwater.
Photo & Published by G.R. Brown Co., Rt. 5, Eau Claire, WI  54701-9990. Circa 1980s
Fishing without fear in the ceaseless blue of Lake Michigan in the 1980s appears idyllic in this postcard view of the Sheboygan Harbor.  DNR-posted warnings about the health risks of consuming fish caught in Lake Michigan more than one per month (due to PCB and mercury contamination from the boom of manufacturing along the great lakes) makes such a scene elegiac in the 21st century.


Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Madison, WI

Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, Madison, Wisconsin (12.15.2013)
© J. Shimon & J. Lindemann
We could see Veterans Memorial Coliseum from our hotel room at the Sheraton Madison. Pondering the 1967 facility brought back memories of big coliseum rock shows with long lines of 10,000 fans waiting for hours, the smell of weed in the air, the eardrum searing volume of shows by The Who and Cheap Trick in the 1970s. The flying saucer inflected architecture reminded us of the Frank Lloyd Wright's Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church (1961) and Golden Rondele Theater (1967) in neighboring Milwaukee and Racine. More recently Dolly Parton performed there, Epic staff meetings were held there along with boat shows, cheerleading competitions, and sporting events. The site evolved from the Dane County Fair grounds in 1896 to concert venue to the current complex named for Alliant Energy whose corporate headquarters are located in Madison.


Found: Horticultural Conservatory, Milwaukee, WI

Found: The New Horticultural Conservatory, Milwaukee, Wis.
 Plants from all over the world are on exhibit.
Copyright by L. L. Cook Co. Milwaukee, circa 1967
Found: The New Horticultural Conservatory, Milwaukee, Wis. takes shape at Mitchell Park.
Plants from all over the world will be on exhibit in it when it is finished.
The sunken gardens attract thousands of visitors annually copyright the L.L. Cook Co.
from an Ektachrome Transparency, circa 1967
Found: Conservatory from Sunken Garden, Mitchell Park, Milwaukee.
E.C. Kropp Co., Milwaukee, Wis. circa 1910
The Conservatory at Mitchell Park in Milwaukee served the public with greenhouse displays of flowers from 1898 to 1955. Imagine a respite from the clatter of city life surrounded by flowers and sun pouring through glass. After only a half century of use, the Conservatory was determined "unsafe and impractical to repair" and demolished. Thesite made way for the space age "Domes" under construction from 1959 to 1967. Each of the three glass beehive shaped structures (designed by Donald Greib) featured climate-controlled escapes to visitors stuck with an endless winter or in need of a change of scene. A desert dome, a tropical dome, and a floral show dome were built for a total cost of $4.5 million without bond. Half century later, LED lights and a light show were added, repairs made, and a grand re-opening staged providing inspiration to those who've ever been to these "ultra modern" wonders.


Hi-Way 8 Motel, Ladysmith, WI

Hi-Way 8 Motel, Ladysmith, Wisconsin rephotographed (7.11.2013)
© J. Shimon & J. Lindeman 
Found: Hi-Way 8 Motel, Ladysmith, Wisconsin, circa 1950s
Sometimes the trees reveal the passage of time in rephotography projects. A seedling evergreen in the circa 1950s photo becomes giant then topples in a storm before showing up as a stump half century later. The Hi-Way 8 in Ladysmith has survived severe storms for decades and the the influx of chain hotels and restaurants. The rates are still cash-only cheap (less than $45 with tax for a room with two beds for 2). The room we stayed in last summer featured a vintage pink tiled bathroom with shower plus a microwave and coffee maker for a handy early morning breakfast. Since the 1990s, we stayed there each time we traveled to Ladysmith to see dance performances at ChaliceStream one night watching the rain pound and the wind blow.


Found: War Memorial Center, Milwaukee, WI

Found: War Memorial Center. Overlooking Lake Michigan Near Downtown Milwaukee.
750 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive.  Housing the Milwaukee Art Center.
Architect - Eero Saarinen.
The L.L. Cook Co. from an Ektachrome Transparency copyright 1958
The important art in Milwaukee was once housed in the basement of the county owned 1958 War Memorial Center--located on a street named after Abraham Lincoln. The futuristic Eero Saarinen building has been expanded to accommodate the growing collection of art and programs based on the designs of two additional architects: Kahler completed a brutalist concrete gallery expansion to the east in 1975 and Santiago Calatrava completed a white and glass winged wing to the south in 2001). A third expansion is again being contemplated for this crazy quilt of a building at 700 Art Museum Drive.


Serendipity Storage, Appleton, WI

Serendipity Storage LLC, 319 East Commercial Street, Appleton, Wisconsin, May 2013
© J. Shimon & J. Lindeman
Spotted on a spring bike ride, the Serendipity Storage facility in Appleton is described online as: "Categorized under Household and Commercial Storage, our records show it was established in 1995 and incorporated in Wisconsin, current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of $180,000 and employs a staff of approximately 3." Shopping for appliances and furniture in 2011, we checked Craigslist where we found people liquidating items they'd found in a storage space they bought. A&E premiered the reality TV show Storage Wars in December 2010 thus indicating some advanced stage consumerism side-effect where ordinary people paid monthly rent to store material possessions they would ultimately lose.