Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wisconsin's High Cliff State Park


It took us 5 years of living in Wisconsin to finally stop by High Cliff State Park, but it was worth the stop. There’s still a lot of area to explore but for now I want to show you the old quarry and kiln ruins.


I wish the area wasn’t fenced off so we could have examined the structures up close. But I’m sure they are fenced for safety.


I’m just glad it hasn’t been demolished, and we can stand and ponder on days gone past.


History of the Area:
The Niagara Escarpment, often called "the ledge," was formed by the settling and hardening of limy ooze at the bottom of the Silurian Sea, which covered much of Wisconsin nearly 400 million years ago. Later, the flat-lying dolomite was tilted downward to the southeast by earth forces, leaving its higher western edge exposed at the earth's surface.

Between 1,000 and 1,500 years ago, nomadic Siouan Indians built effigy mounds in what is now the park. There are four panther-shaped mounds, two buffalo-shaped mounds, conical mounds, and a linear mound.

As long ago as the 1880s, this area was noted for its breathtaking views of Lake Winnebago.

From 1895 to 1956, a limestone quarry and a kiln to extract the lime from the stone operated here. Workers drilled holes in the stone and used dynamite to blast it loose. The lime extracted in the kiln was sent throughout the Midwest for use in plaster and cement and to apply to soil to reduce acidity. Other limestone from the quarry was used for brick mortar and crushed into gravel. Horses pulled dump wagons of limestone to an area above the kiln until 1946, when they were replaced by a dump truck.

As many as 40 people worked at the operation, including drillers, a blasting specialist, stone crushers, teamsters, barrel makers, laborers, and a blacksmith. Many were recent immigrants from Hungary. In its heyday, the lime industry supported a small "company town" consisting of 16 houses for workers, a store (including a post office, telegraph office, and company office), and a tavern, all owned by the Western Lime and Cement Co.

(Taken from StateParks.com)



I love all the arches and the vines growing all over the place.



There's a tree growing out of one of the towers.


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  1. What an awesome place!
    Can't believe it took you that long to get there!

  2. LIsa, if I ever make it out to your neck of the woods, I wanna go here. So neat!

  3. This looks like an amazing place for birding as well.

    I m adding you to my blogroll so that I can follow your blog

  4. Lisa, those are just beautiful & thanks for sharing the history - very interesting.

  5. The architecture was so much more beautiful back then. *sigh* Hard to see it in ruins!

  6. Gorgeous! I want to visit Wisconsin. Lisa, if you haven't visited Ireland, I think you would really like it. There are a lot of mysterious old structures that you can sit and ponder over (and photograph). Just a shameless plug for my other homeland but...I bet it would be a photographer's dream!

  7. What a beautiful old place. Thanks for sharing it

  8. Oh, Lisa, those arches are charming. Esp the ones with the ivy growing on it. From the first couple of photos, the kiln looks gigantic.

  9. I feel like I've gone back in time! What an incredible find...I imagine I'd feel very small and insignificant if I were privileged to be in this place.

    There's something about industrial era ruins that just gets me on a very deep emotional level. To be able to peer into this world when it was operating and vital.

    Happy sigh.

  10. It's true! You do learn something new every day. I didn't know that the escarpment was so widereaching. I really thought (in my geographically challenged way) that it was just in, are you ready for it?, Niagara. Duh. Beautiful shots!

  11. That's beautiful! My husband would so love going there.

  12. Gorgeous. I love watching as man vs nature battle and nature is slowly winning. It's like ruins of castles. Simply stunning.

  13. Hi Lisa. Wow, seeing those pics of High Cliff bring back memories. My mother lived in Appleton for several years. I lived here in Indiana with my father and step monster. When a friend and I would go visit, we would always spend a week camping. We would either go to High Cliff or Calumet, which is right down the road. We would always see people climbing the limestone walls. I have some pics around here somewhere of the parks. I haven't been there for about 28 years! Thanks for the walk down memory lane.
    Take care and have a great week.

  14. Thanks for the little virtual trip. Between the pictures and the narrative, I feel like I've been there...

  15. That is really a neat part of our history. I'm currently taking a history class in college and I have always had an interest in that. Thanks for sharing.

  16. It has the look of a castle ruin. An American castle.

  17. Any time I see scenes like this I can't help but think that Nature's taking back what's hers. And laughing at the puny humans that thought they owned it.

  18. Oops! Walked away while waiting for the page to load and forgot about it.

    These are wonderful, Lisa! You know how I love old, falling down buildings and such:o)

  19. What an interesting place! I don’t think I’ve been there before, but I enjoyed the mini-tour you provided here.
    Hugs and blessings,

  20. that is some great stuff -- mother nature just starts reclaiming.
    wish I'd been there.

  21. I love the crooked archway shot!

  22. OMG!! I love High Cliff!! Its so BEAUTIFUL!!! Y did it take u so long to get to such a breathtaking place?Thanx 4 sharing