NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Loyalty Building and the Railway Exchange

Remember that reflection of The Loyalty Building in the windows of The Mackie Building?  The Loyalty was built in 1886 and is now home to the Hilton Garden Inn, and they've done a wonderful job restoring it. They finished the restoration and opened to the public in 2012.  It was originally home to Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company and served as their home office until 1914.

Print of The Loyalty from 1902
Built in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, the architect chose two gray granties from Maine for the lower part of the building exterior.

I found a cute blog post from someone who worked there when it was an office building. She had some pictures up from before the renovation. The beautiful marble stairway with the copper newels was just the same though!

But the best part is the 5 story grand atrium.  Can't see that from the outside!

Now on to the Railway Exchange Building, located on the southwest corner of Broadway and Wisconsin Avenues on the edge of the Third Ward and East Town, was  completed in 1900. Something about the simple Commercial design is still very appealing.  The building needs some repair, but is for lease!

The site for the building was selected for its excellent location by its owner, Henry Herman, and named the Herman Building.  He came to Milwaukee from Maine in 1865 and was a successful real estate developer.  It has been used continuously over the years for luxury professional offices with retail on the ground floor.  The Railway Exchange Building served as the local headquarters of the Chicago and Northwestern Railway from 1901–1945.

The Railway Exchange Building rests on a cast-iron foundation with a three-story base faced with terra-cotta in banded rustication tapering to a six-story shaft of adorned brick, rhythmically broken by double hung windows.  Take a look up to the top three floors to see the original, elaborately decorated terra-cotta Ionic columns and neoclassical ornament. It is Milwaukee’s first high rise steel-frame tower.

If you get to Milwaukee, get out on the streets downtown and take time to look at the architecture, both old and new.  We leave on Monday for the U.P., so this is it for architecture posts for awhile I'm sure!  I'm looking forward to the forecasted cool weather for hiking, biking, and our first attempts to kayak this year since my shoulder is doing so well.  Don't worry, we're bringing the tandem so I won't work it too hard.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Mitchell Building and the Mackie Building, Milwaukee

 I still have a few posts left about Milwaukee architecture from earlier this summer.  Lots that I haven't seen still, and a few I want to revisit.  But today I'll tell you about two that I have a soft spot for: The Mitchell Building, and its decaying neighbor, The Mackie Building.

The Mitchell Building was erected in 1876 for Banker Alexander Mitchell.  It was home to the Marine National Bank from 1876-1930. Those cornices! Those dormers! Ooh-la-la! Can you blame me for falling in love?

That's just the side.  Seriously.  Dig the FRONT!

The Mitchell building is called Second Empire Style architecture and Even though the building looked dark I tried the door...and it was unlocked!  Check out the digs inside:

The Mackie Building?  Also commissioned by Mitchell, and it was also unlocked!  But first bask in her fading beauty.

The inside is better cared for.  The barber shop on the first floor was closed, but I thought it made a neat photo anyway.

Behind those doors?  The Grain Exchange Room.  In the late 1800's  Milwaukee was the largest wheat exchange in the world. It was closed in the 1930's and divided into offices, but in 1979 Conrad Schmitt Studios restored the room back to its former glory on behalf of the current owner.  Currently Bartolotta Catering uses the room for weddings and other events.  I'll have to find out if there is any way to view it without being a guest.

And what do we see reflected in the front window of The Mackie?  The Loyalty Building, but we'll save that for another day.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

How to Salvage a Day of Rain and Laundry

The best thing about a rainy day in the Midwest in August is that it knocks down the ragweed pollen.  When we woke up to rainy skies in Yankton we used it as an opportunity to do a few loads of laundry and check out their old downtown area.  The laundromat was right on 3rd Street which is the main street of the historic district, so while the clothes were washing we hit the sidewalk for a stroll in the drizzle.

Yankton also had a SculptureWalk, though not as nice as the one in Sioux Falls.  I liked this guy on the corner titled "Moving the Stars" by E. Spencer Schubert from Kansas City, Missouri. However, he looked better from afar than up close.  I'm left wondering where a piece like this will end up?  Where does something this ungainly look at home?

While I was checking out the architecture and the sculpture Wayne was checking out the power lines. They went right down the alley and he said he hadn't seen a set-up like this one before.

I showed a few signs and buildings from Yankton in my recent post about signs, and the old Post Office in town was right across the street from the Dakota Theater.  I hope they have a plan to preserve this gem.

The eagle on top of the Post Office was my favorite find in Yankton.  All while waiting for the laundry to be done!  Except for two murals I found in Yankton, this is the end of my recap of our trip to the Minnesota/South Dakota borderland.  We left Yankton two days early and just hung out in Rochester, Minnesota going shopping and looking at RVs.  We've been considering some changes due to the addition of a quad to our collection, but I'm pretty sure we're sticking with what we have and just getting a small trailer.  I wasn't fond of any of the toy haulers we looked at, our home is nicer and the cost of those toy haulers is a bit ridiculous for what you get in my opinion.  Thoughts?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Disappointment in Yankton

I chose Yankton as a destination because thanks to watching "Deadwood" on HBO I knew that it used to be the capital of the Dakota Territory and I thought there might be some interesting history to be had.  It also had an extensive array of campgrounds lining the Lewis and Clark Recreation Area on the Nebraska/South Dakota border, some South Dakota State Park owned and some owned by the Corps of Engineers.

Our campground nestled behind the trees on Lake Yankton as seen from the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center
The Corps of Engineers campground was nice, as usual.  But once we got to Yankton and drove around to scout things out it didn't take long to realize that the only thing to do was fish.  I don't fish, and Wayne didn't bring a pole along.  Hmm.

Cottonwood COE Campground is technically in Nebraska

There is a series of bike trails, but most of the trail system runs along a major highway.  We headed out of the campground and headed toward Gavins Point Dam where Wayne stopped to ask how the fishing was.  We also cycled through the Chief White Crane Rec Area for a bit.  Really nice campground over there too.  As for the's a dam.  It takes five minutes to look at, right?  The power plant gives tours on certain days, but we decided not to stick around an extra day just for that.

Gavins Point Dam
On another day we rode our bikes over to the Fish Hatchery.  They had a little aquarium where we got to see some lake fish and turtles.

From there we rode out to the hatchery's ponds, most of which were empty.  I got off my bike and tried to shoot some of the dragonflies zipping about but it seemed like they had all enjoyed some dragonfly version of morning espresso and I had to settle for just watching them while Wayne circled the ponds.

August in the Midwest is hot and full of ragweed (was not thinking about that when I planned this trip) and I was suffering every time we went outside so we left Yankton 2 days early. It was okay as a stopover place for a day or two, but if you're not a fisherman you'll quickly run out of things to do. Tomorrow I'll tell you about how we spent our day there in the rain.  Happy 93rd birthday to Wayne's mom Nellie today!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Best $9 That I Ever Spent

Last week I went up to Katrina's new place in Menominee, Michigan, and on my way home I saw a billboard advertising Chihuly at the Paine Art Center in OshKosh.  The Paine Center was already on my list, and Dale Chihuly is a genius, so it's been on my mind every day since then.  Saturday I decided I'd have her meet me in OshKosh to get my car back from her and I'd have my excuse to see the collection.  Wayne and Cory were at WIIL RockFest at the Country Thunder grounds in Twin Lakes experiencing bands like Volbeat and All That Remains that I've never heard of.  Wayne was volunteering but Cory and his friends had to dish out $40 each to attend their event.  Mine was only $9 and was much quieter.

Katrina declined my offer to join me and headed back to Menominee. I toured the garden first, but I'll get to that later. I went in the front door, paid at the desk, and then a few steps farther and the Main Gallery was on the right.

Never mind the fact that I literally gasped out loud at the sight of the  glass.  It wasn't that big a deal, I'm not kidding you when I say that every person that entered the Gallery did the same thing.  I'm almost glad they didn't allow photography.  I felt like my eyes couldn't soak it up and make it stay in my head, but I close my eyes now and I can still see it.  The lighting was perfect, the glass was divine, words cannot describe it so go see it yourself if you can.  Best $9 I ever spent.  Seeing the Chihuly collection alone was worth that amount.  It's on loan from the Stroemple Collection, if you click the link you can get an idea, but photos really don't do it justice.  My favorite piece was "Silver over Navy Blue Putti Venetian with Spotted Raspberry Prunts".  Seriously, say that three times fast, right? This link shows a picture at the top of its page.

I also like the chandelier and accompanying pieces that surrounded it on the floor.  They had it set on reflective black and the lighting made it all glow. I found a link here but it's not displayed as nicely as they did in OshKosh.

They also had a number of his mixed media drawings exhibited.  Truthfully I was as enamored with the drawings as with the glass, and I'm not interested in paintings at all usually.  I like the glass because I like sculpture, but the way the glass holds the light is amazing.  One lady said, can you imagine what it takes to pack and ship these?

Well, I guess we should talk about the Paine Mansion and gardens, too.  Beautiful home that was completed in 1930 for Nathan and Jessie Kimberly Paine.  Paine was the owner of the Paine Lumber Company, and their original intention for the home was that it would be open to the public as an art museum and it was designed with that in mind.  The couple never actually lived in the home.  Mr. Paine died in 1947 and Mrs. Paine oversaw the remaining work for the home to be ready for the public in 1948.

I actually walked through the gardens before entering the home, and I'm glad I did it that way.  I was so bowled over by the Chihuly exhibit that I might not have appreciated the outdoor details as much.  Most of the stone is Kasota limestone from Minnesota.  My favorite aspect of the exterior was the chimneys.

It was such a beautiful building that even the rain gutters were made to be pretty!

Such a shame no one ever lived in the home, unlike the Biltmore it had a very homey feel to it, even with the extravagant details inside.  The entry to the Main Gallery had Verona marble columns in addition to iron gates and Macassar Ebony doors.  There was marble mixed with stone throughout, beautiful ceiling medallions, and the woodwork was unbelievable.  Master craftsmen from Paine Lumber hand carved the paneling in the Great Hall to look like folded linen.  All the woodwork in the home is unvarnished oak and walnut to let the beauty of the wood speak for itself. Some of the pieces of furniture even had animals carved around the edges, fitting for a Wisconsin home along the river.

In addition to the visiting exhibit, the permanent collection has some nice pieces that were mostly provided by the Paines.  There was quite a few sculptures by Helen Farnsworth Mears. She was an OshKosh native and studied art in Chicago, New York, Italy and Paris. Unfortunately she died at the age of 40 in 1916.

The gardens were much better than the ones I saw recently at The American Club in Kohler.  A bit dry though, we've had hardly any rain this August.

I'm still thinking about that glass.  I picked up the "Chihuly in the Hotshop" DVD on sale for $30 which won 2 emmys according to the cover.  Add that to my admission fee and I spent what Cory did for the RockFest but I can see my show more than once and loan it out to friends! I brought home the DVD, Cory brought home scabbed elbows from the mosh pit and he lost his glasses.

The DVD cover also mentions the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington.  Has anybody been to visit?  It's going on my list!

For a glimpse of the Chihuly exhibit we saw for our anniversary at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis click here.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Irene's Corner Tavern, Middle of Nowhere, South Dakota

While breezing through South Dakota on our way to Yankton I happened to spy this fading mural in the teeny tiny town of Irene.  Irene is also home to a local artist and their shop called Whimsies for which there were numerous billboards along the way.  I'm assuming that's the artist for the mural but I didn't see a name.  There was also a mural of eagles on another building, but this one was much better.

My favorite part is the apparently naked (right?) girl with the motorcycle peeping out from behind the edge of the "tavern".  I'll get to our disappointing stop in Yankton on Wednesday, tomorrow I want to tell you about my weekend.  Linking up to Monday Mural.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Old Courthouse, Sioux Falls

I was really excited about visiting the Old Courthouse Museum in Sioux Falls.  Built in 1893 of yep, Sioux Quartzite, the interior contained granite pillars, slate stairs, and stained glass windows.

When we opened the door to enter, however, we were blasted with the aroma of floors being refinished.  Such a shame, because the 2 minute look I got of the entryway was an eyeful.

As Wayne is fond of saying, something to see when we come back to the area again.  I won't forget to stop in again, hopefully not during another remodel!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

City Hall, Sioux Falls

City Hall in Sioux Falls was a delightful Art Deco surprise. I looked for information on the internet but came up empty.

The ceiling was adorned with stars, as well as the green tiles in the floor. Pretty cool, right?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Pipestone, The Town

While visiting Pipestone National Monument we also strolled through the town of Pipestone.  Some great buildings, including the Moore block, in the shadows on the left in the pic above.  The Moore block was built in 1896 by Leon Moore, quarry owner and amateur sculptor.  His work adorns the north and west sides of the building.

On the right in the first picture is the Calumet Hotel.  We stopped inside to get lunch in their restaurant but the air conditioning advertised out front didn't seem to be doing its job so we went back to Lange's Cafe, home to the state's best raisin sour cream pie.  We weren't feeling very brave and took their word for it.

We also took a quick stroll through the Pipestone County Museum located in the Old City Hall.  They had a nice collection of pipestone.

They also had a fun painting in the upper stairwell of the Old Stone Face.  It was my favorite item on display.

Of course there was more, but I won't spoil it and give it all away.  See for yourself when you visit the monument, and let me know if you try the pie.  I will say their other pies weren't anywhere near the quality of those at Wayne's Family Restaurant in Oconto, Wisconsin!