General Douglas MacArthur Statue, Milwaukee

General Douglas MacArthur Statue, Milwaukee

The General Douglas MacArthur statue stands in Milwaukee’s Veterans Park to honor this famous military general, who lived in the city for part of his life and claimed the city as his hometown.

General Douglas MacArthur remains one of the best-known and revered generals in the history of the United States Armed Forces. The man who led the Allied forces in World War II was born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1880 but lived in Milwaukee during his high school years, a reflection of his family’s longer history in the city. Growing up in a military family and then going into the military himself, MacArthur lived in and based out of many places throughout his life, but he always referred to Milwaukee as “his old hometown.”

After emerging victorious in World War II while accepting the surrender of Japan aboard the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945 and overseeing occupation of that country for six years (plus initially leading the United Nations Command at the start of the Korean War), MacArthur returned to the United States and toured the nation. On April 27, 1951, MacArthur’s tour went from Chicago to Milwaukee, with more than one million people greeting him along the way and in the city. This article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel chronicles that visit.

MacArthur Square, on the west side of downtown, was named in his honor in 1945 during the Milwaukee Civic Center’s redevelopment; the General Douglas MacArthur statue was originally erected there in 1979. In 2014, with full military honors, it was relocated to Veterans Park in 2014, giving MacArthur’s statue a lake view and a spot adjacent to the Milwaukee County War Memorial and the Milwaukee Art Museum.

The General Douglas MacArthur statue stands 9.5 feet tall, putting him on a marble pedestal. It’s a full-figure portrait of MacArthur, with his hands in his back pockets, now looking out over the water.

General Douglas MacArthur statue, overlooking Lake Michigan in Milwaukee

General Douglas MacArthur statue, overlooking Lake Michigan in Milwaukee. Originally erected in the city’s MacArthur Square in the Civic Center in 1979, it was moved to this location in Veterans Park in 2014.

Location of the General Douglas MacArthur Statue:

Veterans Park
1010 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202

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Ben Bikin statue in Sparta

Ben Bikin, the World’s Largest Bicyclist

Ben Bikin is the crown jewel in Sparta’s crown as the “Bicycling Capital of America.” Sparta is the northern terminus of the Elroy-Sparta Trail, the first rail-to-trail project in the United States. Other major trails, including the La Crosse River Trail, converge here. The city celebrates bicycling throughout the year, although summer and fall is clearly preferred.

Ben Bikin stands 32 feet high atop an 1890s-era Penny Farthing bicycle. A local company, F.A.S.T. (Fiberglass, Animals, Shapes, and Trademarks) Corp., created the statue, where he’s been stationary in his present location in 1995. He is considered the World’s Largest Bicyclist.

The statue of Ben inspired the mayor of Port Byron, Illinois to commission FAST Corp to build a similar statue for their town. This replica in Illinois was named Will B. Rollin’ and it inspired a bicycle ride between the two towns. Now, the annual Will To Ben Bike Tour gives riders the opportunity to cover over 300 miles of beautiful roadways from Will B. Rollin’ in Port Byron to Ben Bikin in Sparta. Will To Ben runs annually in early October, when fall colors are often at or close to peak.

Ben Bikin even has his own Facebook page. You’ll find him perched on his bike at the corner of Highway 16/71 (Wisconsin Street) and Water, on the edge of downtown Sparta.

Ben Bikin Address:

101 E. Wisconsin Street (Highways 16/71 at Highway 21)
Sparta, WI 54656
(800) 354-2453

Sparta is also home to the Deke Slayton Memorial & Bicycle Museum and has a lot of small town charm. Highways 16, 21, 27, and 71 reach Sparta, as well as I-90 via Exits 25 and 28. Tomah is about 15 miles to the east and La Crosse is about 25 miles to the west-southwest. The city is in the midst of Wisconsin’s beautiful Driftless Area and features abrupt hills and attractive topography.

Larry the Logroller along Highway 32 in Wabeno

Larry the Logroller

wabenobandshell_800Driving along Highway 32 through Wabeno? You can’t miss Larry the Logroller, a 22’4″ lumberjack who serves as this town’s answer to Paul Bunyan. Instead of an ax, Larry brandishes a logging tool. He stands guard over the Wabeno Logging Museum and a 1901 Phoenix Log Hauler, a steam locomotive that once helped haul logs out of town. In the city park where he stands, you’ll also find a bandshell, a mini-amphitheater, and picnic areas along the North Branch of the Oconto River, which runs right behind Larry (apparently, that’s the river in which he would do his logrolling.)

Wabeno is a town of about 1,200 in Forest County which likes to claim a title of “Dual Sport Capital of the World” based on the active ATV and snowmobile use in the area – it’s in the heart of a very extensive trail system. But the town’s history is based on logging; it’s in the heart of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Wabeno’s high school nickname is the “Logrollers” and Larry is their mascot – they just don’t bring him to football games. He’s tough to carry around.



Before the 2013 repairs, Larry DID seem to slouch a bit…

Ironically, Larry the Logroller had to be repaired and reinstalled in 2013 when a log rolled on him, in a sense – a tree fell in a storm and damaged his fiberglass body. He once again stands guard over the town.

By the way, if the Phoenix Log Hauler on display is of interest, this is what it looks like when it’s just running around:

So basically, while you’re traveling through Wabeno there’s something cool to stop and check out: Larry the Logroller and his logging museum. And the train. And it’s a nice city park in general. Highway 32 goes right past it, and Highway 52 begins about a mile away on the northwest edge of town, connecting to Antigo and Wausau.

World's Largest Can of Chili, Beloit

World’s Largest Can of Chili

At the busy interchange where I-39/90, I-43, and Wisconsin Highway 81 meet in Beloit just north of the Wisconsin-Illinois state line, you’ll find the “World’s Largest Can of Chili.”

The “can” is part of the large Hormel plant in Beloit, which cranks out plenty of chili and other meat products here. This is one of the storage tanks, visible from the interstate. How much chili can fit inside that “can”? Estimates are between 1,500 and 2,000 gallons – that amounts to a LOT of beans!