142

STH-142“From Chocolate City to Mars Cheese Castle – with Bong in Between”

 

Quickie Summary: Highway 142 connects Kenosha and Burlington, providing a nice ride through farm fields of Racine and Kenosha Counties as well as access to the Bong Recreation Area, the sign for which on the Interstate is a popular photo-op. Its eastern end at I-41/94 is also home to the famous Mars Cheese Castle, even though we take you to its historical end in Kenosha itself – including the World’s Oldest Operating Velodrome – within sight of Lake Michigan; its western end leads you into Burlington, Wisconsin – aka “Chocolate City.”

Wisconsin Highway 142 Road Trip

The Drive (West to East): While technically starting at the Burlington Bypass outside of town, we’ll start our Highway 142 Tour in downtown Burlington (pop. 10,464) where the road used to start. The city started out as a settlement called “Foxville” – for its location along the Fox River – in 1835; a few years later, locals changed the name to Burlington after the Vermont city many of the recent transplants from New England felt a need to salute (heck, it’s easier to spell than Montpelier.) Railroads came in 1855, and by 1900 Burlington officially became a city, nestled in the southwest corner of Racine County.

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Reminders of chocolate, little league, and a native NFL QB greet you on the Burlington welcome sign.

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The Malt House Theatre in Burlington – which was once the malt house of a brewery. A loooong time ago.

Burlington once featured three breweries, including the former Finke-Uhen Brewery along the Fox River; its building is now occupied by the Malt House Theater, whose community theater company (called the “Haylofters“) have been operating since 1932.  Three years prior to that – or so they claim – the Burlington Liars’ Club was formed. They celebrate “Fibbing for Fame and Folly” (also alliteration, apparently) and annually hand out an award for “World Champion Liar.” We can’t lie when it comes to chocolate, and the addition of a 1966 Nestle plant gave Burlington the name “Chocolate City, USA,” which we have to admit is pretty sweet. Every Memorial Day weekend, Chocolate Fest tantalizes taste buds and offers plenty of music and activities. Several notable people hail from Burlington, including three-time World’s Strongest Man winner Bill Kazmaier, actor Gregory Itzin from “24”, former Miss Wisconsin winner, Miss USA finalist and Milwaukee TV personality Caitlin Morrall, and perhaps most famously former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and now pretty darn good color commentator Tony Romo; Romo got the nod on the “Welcome to Burlington” signs with the “home of” honors. Romo went to Burlington High School and worked at a State Trunk Tour favorite, Fred’s, as a busboy. Fred’s proclaims itself home to the “World’s Best Burgers,” a tall order indeed. Are they?  You’ll have to judge for yourself, but they’re definitely a State Trunk Tour pick!

Fred's, one of the many places in the world laying claim to its best burger.

Fred’s, one of the many places in the world laying claim to its best burger. Judge for yourself, but we can they’re pretty darn good.

The Top Museum in downtown Burlington.

The Top Museum in downtown Burlington. Hwys 11, 36, 83 and 142 historically all came together within blocks of here. Spinning tops, yo-yos, and more are the order of the day here.

Downtown along Milwaukee Avenue (“Business” Hwy 36), the Logic Puzzle Museum offers a wild array of hands-on puzzles, brain teasers, and more. Next door, the Spinning Top & Yo-Yo Museum offers yo-yos, gyroscopes, spin toys, and plenty of hands-on science exhibits…. over 2,000 in all! Call first and get tickets, though; they are by appointment only.

Head out of Burlington to the southeast via Pine, State across the Fox River, and then Bushnell Street. Some “To 142” signs help point the way, and the now-official start of Highway 142 takes place at the 2012-built Burlington Bypass interchange, which is today’s Highways 11, 36, and 83. From there, Highway 142 heads through some of the beautiful farmland and rolling hills of southwestern Racine County.

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As a bypass, Highways 11, 36, and 83 run under 142 on the east edge of town. Why there’s a bypass, who knows… there’s little traffic on it. We usually recommend going THROUGH the towns, of course!

The farm houses and silos nestle up closely to Highway 142 in many places.

The farm houses and silos nestle up closely to Highway 142 in many places.

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We can’t resist unique mailboxes along these roads, especially if they have a Packers theme.

Burlington and the towns around it lie in a little southwestern “panhandle” of Racine County. Heading east along 142 just a few miles to County J, we cross into Kenosha County, which is technically part of the Chicago metropolitan area by definition. Kenosha is also the fourth-smallest county in Wisconsin by land area; Racine is only a little bigger because of the townships including Burlington.

Winery & Distillery Alert
A little over a mile into the county via 142, County B/288th Avenue brings you to the AeppelTreow Winery & Distillery, which focuses on wine – primarily apple-based – and small-batch hard cider, perry (the”pear analogue to cider”, as they describe), and spirits. They have a Tasting Room inside, an orchard outside, and walking paths to the nearby Bong State Recreation Area.

It’s Bong Time

Right in this area, Highway 142 enters the Richard Bong State Recreation Area. While the name catches many an eye, its history makes it even more interesting. In 1951, this area was designated the site of the Richard Bong Air Force Base – named after famed World War II aviator and Wisconsin native Richard Bong. Over 4,500 acres of prime Wisconsin farm and forest land was claimed to create the base; by 1956, farms were being plowed under and highways were relocated, including today’s Highway 142 and Highway 75.

A 12,900-foot runway and graded, covered with asphalt, and about to be paved with concrete when, in 1960, the base was deemed “no longer needed” and deactivated. The land then sat abandoned, occasionally becoming a hotspot for criminal activity before the state bought the land in 1974 and turned it into Wisconsin’s first “State Recreation Area.” Keeping it named after Richard Bong led to one of the most famous signs in the state, right along I-94.

Bong Recreation Area sign along I-41/94, at the Highway 142 exit

One of Wisconsin’s prime photo-ops and an inspiration for t-shirts.

Today, these 4,500 acres of managed prairie offer walking, mountain biking, and horse riding trails; ATV sports; hunting, fishing, and camping; bird watching; and even a model airplane flying area right where the original 12,900-foot runway footprint still exists.

142_bongentranceYou can access the main entrance to the Bong State Recreation Area right off Highway 142. There is an admission fee that varies based upon your residency and planned length of stay; if you have a State Parks admission sticker for the current year, you’re covered.

Just east of the Bong entrance, Highway 142 crosses Highway 75, a short north-south highway. When the Bong AFB was under construction, both roads were closed at this intersection to the west and south; Highway 75 south was rebuilt and opened in 1962, as was the stretch of 142 we just traveled. For several years in the late 1950s and early 1960s, state maps showed how the pending base altered the roads through here – not to mention everything else!

Past Bong, we’re into the gently rolling rich farmlands of Kenosha County again… but we’re also in Paris. That’s the Town of Paris, which was first settled in 1837 and named after settler Seth Myrick’s original hometown of Paris, New York – which we’ll just assume was named after Paris, France. Its main crossroads – minor as they are – lie at the intersection of Highway 142 and U.S. 45.

The last few miles of Highway 142 are filled with bountiful farmland and county crossroads until you reach I-41/94 – and a State Trunk Tour favorite.

Of course, we’re talking about the Mars Cheese Castle. It’s a veritable heaven of so many Wisconsin things: cheese, beer, sausages, fresh bakery, and a gift shop designed to get Illinois residents to part with their money. This popular purveyor of cheeses, meats, hot sauce, bakery, and Wisconsin kick-knacks is a widely recognized landmark on the busy Milwaukee-Chicago corridor, with its iconic sign beckoning travelers.

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The newest Mars Cheese Castle building, completed in 2011, finally makes it look like a castle. It didn’t for its first six decades.

marscheese05Originally opened in 1947 along U.S. 41 and what was Wisconsin Highway 43 (today’s 142), the Mars Cheese Castle catered to travelers in search of a variety of cheeses and other local foods as they entered or left the state. Still a family business, Mario Ventura, Sr. started it up and added on as they could: a deli counter, a sandwich shop, a bakery, a bar, a gift shop… all of these were tacked on to the original building. He and partners built not only a successful travel stop, but a brisk mail-order and later online business, shipping cheese, sausage and other products from Wisconsin to locales all over the country. Their home brand of spreadable cheese is called “King of Clubs”, and a large tub of it with Town House crackers are available for enjoyment at the bar at all times.

Their deli offers an amazing selection of cheeses, sausages, crackers, and other enjoyable consumables; their wine and beer selection is extensive, their gift shop offers every Wisconsin-y thing you could imagine, their market and bakery offers everything from tons of hot sauce selections to kringle; and a State Trunk Tour favorite is a summer sausage sandwich from the deli. The bar even has a “leg lamp” – the kind popularized in the movie A Christmas Story – to add to the atmosphere… the lamps are crafted in Kenosha, after all.

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Lots of sustenance awaits you at the eastern end of Highway 142.

Highway 142 ends at I-41/94 now. It didn’t always. Originally, it continued east into Kenosha. Today’s County S and then Washington Avenue are now on 142’s original path. And in that spirit, let’s continue!

Beyond Today’s 142: Kenosha

Kenosha (pop. 99,889), Wisconsin’s fourth largest city. Originally known as Pike and then Southport (a name many businesses still use), Kenosha got its current name in 1850, a descendant name from the original Potawatomi name, Mas-ke-no-zha, meaning “place of the Pike.”

Today, Kenosha just keeps changing. Relying on heavy manufacturing for many, many years, the demise of the American auto industry in the 1970s and 80s took a heavy toll. Kenosha’s economy today hums along, however, buoyed by services and health care. Some manufacturing remains and the area contains headquarters for companies like Jockey International and Snap-On Tools. Proximity to Chicago and Milwaukee make it a handy area for transportation, warehousing and tourism. A recent influx of Chicago-area residents heightens the Packers-Bears tension every autumn. Ancient Kenoshans may recall the local NFL team called the Kenosha Maroons, which played for one season in 1924. You may know them now as the Washington Redskins.

(The rest of Kenosha will be posted shortly!)

 

 

181

STH-181“State Fair to the Covered Bridge”

Quickie Summary: State “Trunk” Highway 181 runs along western portions of Milwaukee and Ozaukee County communities, serving as a major artery for the Wisconsin State Fair, the city of Wauwatosa, northwest Milwaukee, Mequon, and the “Five Corners” area in Cedarburg, just south of where Wisconsin’s last covered bridge can be found. Along this route is a mix of big city neighborhoods, rural farmland, growing towns, suburban villages, and of course the grounds of the Wisconsin State Fair and the Milwaukee Mile. All in a 22-mile drive.

Wisconsin Highway 181 Road Trip

The Drive (South to North): Highway 181 begins at Highway 59/Greenfield Avenue in West Allis (pop. 60,411), which was called North Greenfield early on. The establishment of a huge Allis-Chalmers factory in 1902 led to the town changing its name and incorporating as West Allis in 1906; that company dominated manufacturing in the area – and the nation – for decades before closing in 1987. For nearly eighty years, tens of thousands of workers descended on the West Allis plant, as well as other manufacturers in town – some of which are still cranking out products. Hundreds of thousands head to State Fair Park in early August for the Wisconsin State Fair, one of the nation’s leading state fairs. After starting in Janesville in 1851, the Wisconsin State Fair made West Allis its permanent home in 1892. The grounds includes the Milwaukee Mile, the oldest operating motor speedway in the world; it’s hosted most of racing’s legendary drivers at one time or another, from Barney Oldfield and A.J. Foyt to Jeff Gordon and Danica Patrick. The Milwaukee Mile continues to host NASCAR and Indy events, including IndyFest, on its legendary oval. And during the State Fair, you can park on it!

State Trunk Tour Tidbit:
The Green Bay Packers made the infield of the Milwaukee Mile at State Fair Park their home field for Milwaukee games between 1934 and 1951, even playing the 1939 NFL Championship Game there: a 27-0 defeat of the New York Giants – the first shutout in NFL playoff history.

Highway 181 runs along 84th Street in West Allis, and intersects with I-94 just north of State Fair Park. The Pettit National Ice Center is at the junction with the freeway; it’s one of the few Olympic-qualifying speedskating rinks in the world! After all, this area has sprouted the likes of gold medalists Bonnie Blair and Dan Jansen – it’s obviously a haven for champions. The Pettit National Ice Center features two full-size hockey rinks and a quarter-mile speedskating rink, among other features that make it a center for Olympians, athletes in training, hockey players, and just people who love to skate. The oval is open to the public for skating, and there’s even a .28 mile running track along the outside of the oval.

Wisconsin Weekend: US Olympic Training Facility, the Pettit National Ice Center at I-94 & Highway 181

“The Skater” statue in front of The Pettit National Ice Center.

Pettit National Ice Center

I-94 & Highway 181 is where you’ll find one of only two indoor Olympic speedskating tracks in the nation. The Pettit National Ice Center attracts athletes from around the world for training… and you can skate, play hockey, or even jog around the outside of the ice all year ’round!

Just north of I-94, Highway 181 ducks into a brief silver of the city of Milwaukee and intersects with U.S. 18/Blue Mound Road into Wauwatosa (pop. 47,000). This area was originally settled by Charles Hart in 1835 and was named “Hart’s Mills” for a mill he built along the Menomonee River. The railroad came through shortly thereafter, as did the Watertown Plank Road, an early toll road (seriously built with planks) that connected Milwaukee and Watertown by 1849. The town – then village, then city – was renamed Wauwatosa, the Potawatomi word for “firefly.” Wauwatosa mixes tree-lined residential neighborhoods, a world-class medical center with the Medical College of Wisconsin as an anchor, a downtown village brimming with shops, restaurants, and historic crossroads, industrial parks, factories, a major regional shopping mall… basically, Wauwatosa has a bit of everything.

Highway 181 enters Wauwatosa as 84th Street and becomes Glenview Avenue until it reaches the historic Watertown Plank Road. You literally jog over a few blocks on the road before turning left on a tight bridge that leapfrogs the Menomonee River Valley and lands in the “downtown” – Wauwatosa’s village. The old road continues downhill to a railroad crossing and a bridge over the Menomonee River; that’s the original Watertown Plank Road and Highway 181 until the bridge was built in the 1970s to ease congestion.

(More on Highway 181 to come!)

36

STH-036“36 Miles on Highway 36”

WisMap36_200wQuickie Summary: Highway 36 once began in Walworth, later in Lake Geneva. Today, the road that was Highway 36 northeast out of Lake Geneva as Highway 120, which runs north to East Troy. Highway 36 begins at Highway 120 about four miles north of Lake Geneva. It winds through the beautiful rolling countryside of Walworth and Waukesha Counties, hitting the “Chocolate City” of Burlington along with Waterford and Muskego on its way into Milwaukee County, where it serves as a major thoroughfare through the suburbs of Franklin and Greendale on its way to connect into the heart of Milwaukee’s south side and the city’s downtown via the freeway system. Lots of little history pieces line the way, and beyond the road at either end there’s plenty of adventure ahead.

Wisconsin Highway 36 Road Trip

The Drive (Southwest to Northeast):

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Highway 36 as it ends southbound at Highway 120. Lake Geneva is a left turn and just a few minutes away. Meanwhile, Highway 36 northbound is about to head for 36 miles to Milwaukee.

Through the rural fields of Walworth County, Highway 36 works its way east and north. This area skirts the southern end of Kettle Moraine, which is a hilly section of SE Wisconsin formed when the advancing glaciers stopped – and left hills behind filled with all the stuff they pushed southward.

Burlington (pop. 10,464) started out as a settlement called “Foxville” – for its location along the Fox River – in 1835. A few years later, locals changed the name to Burlington, after the Vermont city many of the recent transplants from New England felt a need to salute (heck, it’s easier to spell than Montpelier.) Railroads came in 1855, and by 1900 Burlington officially became a city, nestled in the southwest corner of Racine County.

Burlington welcome sign

Entering Burlington, they make sure you know it’s “Chocolate City.”

Burlington once featured three breweries, including the former Finke-Uhen Brewery along the Fox River; its building is now occupied by the Malt House Theater, whose community theater company (called the “Haylofters“) have been operating since 1932.  Three years prior to that – or so they claim – the Burlington Liars’ Club was formed. They celebrate “Fibbing for Fame and Folly” (also alliteration, apparently) and annually hand out an award for “World Champion Liar.” We can’t lie when it comes to chocolate, and the addition of a 1966 Nestle plant gave Burlington the name “Chocolate City, USA.” Every Memorial Day weekend, Chocolate Fest tantalizes taste buds and offers plenty of music and activities. Several notable people hail from Burlington, including three-time World’s Strongest Man winner Bill Kazmaier, actor Gregory Itzin from “24”, former Miss Wisconsin winner and Miss USA finalist and current Milwaukee TV personality Caitlin Morrall, and perhaps most famously Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo; Romo got the nod on the “Welcome to Burlington” signs with the “home of” honors. Romo went to Burlington High School and worked at a State Trunk Tour favorite, Fred’s, as a busboy. Fred’s proclaims itself home to the “World’s Best Burgers,” a tall order indeed. Are they?  You’ll have to judge for yourself, but they’re definitely a State Trunk Tour pick!

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Fred’s, one of the many places in the world laying claim to its best burger.

The “city version” of Highway 36 runs through town southwest-northeast. Southwest of downtown, it’s primarily State Street and Milwaukee Avenue; northeast, it’s Milwaukee Street. Downtown along Milwaukee Avenue, the Logic Puzzle Museum offers a wild array of hands-on puzzles, brain teasers, and more. Next door, the Spinning Top & Yo-Yo Museum offers yo-yos, gyroscopes, spin toys, and plenty of hands-on science exhibits…. over 2,000 in all! Call first and get tickets, though; they are by appointment only. And, since it’s “Chocolate City USA”, check out the Chocolate Experience Museum (113 E. Chestnut Street, 262-763-6044), which houses exhibits that survive the annual Chocolate Fest, and other chocolate sculptures… even one that replicates the brick road from the Wizard of Oz – only this one is chocolate instead of yellow. Hurry, before somebody eats it!

Burlington’s Spinning Top & Yo-Yo Museum is right downtown.

 

 

190

STH-190 “A Capitol Drive. No, really, that’s its name.”

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Quickie Summary: State “Trunk” Highway 190, a.k.a Capitol Drive, is a major east-west throughfare in the Milwaukee area. Starting as a charming little street leaving the charming village of Pewaukee, it rapidly becomes a six-lane highway going through the booming area of Brookfield. It cuts through the heart of Milwaukee’s north side, and some rough areas, before crossing I-43 and entering re-emerging neighborhoods like Riverworks and Riverwest. Upon crossing the Milwaukee River, you’re suddenly in the tony suburb of Shorewood, finally ending along a beautiful vista at Atwater Park overlooking Lake Michigan. Truly a transitional highway from start to finish.

Wisconsin Highway 190 Road Trip

The Drive (West to East): Highway 190 is known as Capitol Drive for its entire length and was named in 1947 after U.S. 16 was re-routed south to enter Milwaukee on Blue Mound Road. It’s always been a major thoroughfare in the area and today is multi-lane for almost all of its length, expect for the western and eastermost mile. We begin at the westernmost mile… just before the technical start of Highway 190, along the waters of Pewaukee Lake.

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Next to the beach, across from stores and restaurants, a pier juts out into Pewaukee Lake. Plenty of people enjoy fishing on this particular summer day. Extending east from this area is Capitol Drive, where Highway 190 begins just west of the freeway junction with today’s Highway 16.

This is the center of Pewaukee (pop. 13,195), which surrounds the eastern end of seven-mile long Pewaukee Lake. The main street fronting the lake was recently rebuilt with a series of storefronts that feature everything from a bike shop to a sub shop to an upscale piano bar. The beach bustles with swimmers and sunbathers all summer, and lake homes – both new and old – stretch along the north and south shores of the lake. The boating theme is appropriate; Pewaukee holds the world headquarters of Harken, Inc., a leading manufacturer of sailboat hardware and accessories.

Highway 190 heads east out of downtown Pewaukee and under Highway 16, which goes south to I-94 at GE Healthcare’s massive complex and west all the way to La Crosse and Minnesota. It used to continue east along Capitol, but now it’s 190’s turf and has been since 1947. The “new growth” area of Pewaukee is on either side for the next several miles, past chain restaurants, sprawling commercial and office complexes, the crossing of Highway 164 (which has moved around a bit over the last few years) and into some open territory for a few miles before suburbia hits again.

Just over the Fox River and some marshlands, open soccer fields are in view. This must mean it’s Brookfield (pop. 40,000 and climbing). This is a booming money town; it’s equalized value is third-highest in Wisconsin, behind only Madison and Milwaukee. Yet, it has its history and notable figures, too: Caroline Ingalls, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s mother (remember “Little House on the Prairie”?) was born in Brookfield back in 1839; Al Capone had a hideout in Brookfield in the 1920s; even Oprah’s mom lives here now. This city sports three NFL players (Joe Panos, Joe Thomas and Matt Katula) and Olympic medalist Kip Carpenter – and strip malls… lots and lots of them. Capitol Drive is less strip-mally than its neighbor to the south, Blue Mound Road (U.S. 18), and the new developments here take on a nicer look, as evidenced by the Shops of Brookfield at the intersection with Brookfield Road.

Microbrewery Alert. Just south of Highway 190/Capitol Drive, a little under a mile via Brookfield Road, is the “old” downtown Brookfield. They’re working on having it come back, with small shops and restaurants popping up. You’ll also find the Biloba Brewing Company on Pleasant Street just off Brookfield Road, which opened in 2014. With beers like Smokin’ Gramma and Dark Side of the Brew, microbeer lovers will want to make a stop.

Along this section through Brookfield, Highway 190/Capitol Drive is a wide boulevard with a speed limit of 50; many mis-read it as 65 or 70. On a high hill at the light with Calhoun Road, you can see the flashing radio towers close to Lake Michigan and, if trees aren’t blocking your view, a glimpse of downtown Milwaukee to the southeast – about 12 miles away as the crow flies. Under the underpass with Pilgrim Road and past Lilly, commercial structures line your way until you approach 124th Street.

At 124th Street, you enter Milwaukee County and the city of Wauwatosa (pop. 44,798). First settled in 1835 and originally called Hart’s Mills, Wauwatosa was renamed in the 1850s; the name is Potawatomi for “firefly” (or maybe “glow worm” or “lightning bug”, since the term for those flying flashlights varies.) Just east of 124th Street, a massive Harley-Davidson plant is to the north, where they make a large percentage of the engines and other major pieces of our favorite hogs. Milwaukee’s western “bypass”, the Zoo Freeway (I-41//U.S. 45), crosses over Highway 190 at this point. Wauwatosa is somewhat of an “edge city”, with the Mayfair shopping complex and suburban office towers just south along Highway 100.

Milwaukee’s First Airport: Currie Park

To the south of Highway 190/Capitol Drive just after I-41/U.S. 45 is Currie Park, where one of the world’s first airliners took its maiden flight in 1919. This was the original Milwaukee County Airport land; today, the only man-made things flying around Currie Park are golf balls, since it has a nice course. There’s also a dome that can be used for practice during bad weather – which is often five months of the year.

The border zigzags around here, but around Grantosa Drive is the city limits of Milwaukee (pop. 596,000), Wisconsin’s largest city, the 28th largest city in the United States and home to so many things a special section on the State Trunk Tour site tells you about it all. Milwaukee holds the World Headquarters of companies like Northwestern Mutual, Harley-Davidson, Rockwell Automation, A.O. Smith, M&I Bank, Manpower, and more; it even held the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball until Bud Selig retired. Highway 190/Capitol Drive is the main east-west route through the city’s north side, an area that only skims the surface of everything Milwaukee has to offer.

milwaukee_annunciationgreekchurch01Easily accessible from Capitol Drive is the beautiful Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Completed in 1961, it was one of Wright’s last works and is on the National Register of Historic Places. To reach it, follow Grantosa Drive north to Congress. The Church is at 9400 W. Congress.

Highway 190/Capitol Drive crosses Appleton Ave (Historic U.S. 41, now Highway 175) and further east, Highway 145 (Fond du Lac Avenue). This is a complex area where Midtown Center, which began life in 1956 as Capitol Court, one of the Milwaukee area’s three original “shopping centers.” This is the heart of Milwaukee’s North Side.

As you continue east, tree-lined neighborhoods begin to take over. Crossing Sherman Boulevard, meeting up with Roosevelt and ducking under the railroad tracks, you enter a huge complex that lies to the south; this is where A.O. Smith’s original factory was located. This massive manufacturing complex cranked out everything from auto parts to water heaters in one form or another for over 110 years. Now in redevelopment phase, what is now being called “Century City” is being viewed as the next generation in manufacturing for Milwaukee. Some manufacturers have already moved in and some jobs are being created, bringing optimism to the area. It’ll be interesting to see what transpires.

Back on the other side, there’s potential traffic clogging at intersections with Teutonia Avenue, Atkinson Avenue and 27th Street, but good eats lie nearby: Soul food fans love Mr. Perkins’ Family Restaurant (read a review here), which is at 20th and Atkinson, visible from Capitol. Overflowing plates of greens, smothered and fried chicken, catfish, black-eyed peas, cornbread, pie and a variety of breakfast items have delighted patrons since 1969 at this family-owned joint. They have variety: pigs’ feet and chitterlings are on the menu, but so are salmon croquettes. At 20th Street, Highway 57 joins Capitol for about one mile. At this point, the houses on either side of the boulevard are beautiful, well-kept examples of Milwaukee bungalows. The neighborhood dates back to the 1920s and was the traditional “dividing line” for Milwaukee’s older, poorer neighborhoods (to the south) and the new, post-World War II growth (to the north.)

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The stretch of Highway 190/Capitol Drive with Highway 57 on the north side of Milwaukee is a nice boulevard – recently redone – with well-kept older homes flanking it on both sides.

Highway 57 heads north along Green Bay Road and Highway 190 crosses I-43 before ducking under Port Washington Road and entering an area known as “Riverworks”. An industrial corridor for literally centuries now, you’re just south of the World Headquarters for Koss Headphones (just up Port Road) and north of a series of old factories, some of which are being retrofitted for new uses. Some are new manufacturing, some are becoming art galleries.

Highway 190 Estabrook Beer Garden logpJust after the Milwaukee River crossing, you can turn north on a parkway and explore Estabrook Park, a beautiful, versatile recreation area filled with forests, trails, playgrounds, a disc golf course, and the Estabrook Beer Garden, one of several that have cropped up in the Milwaukee County Park System. Reviving the city’s long tradition, Estabrook was the first public beer garden in the United States since the repeal of Prohibition when it opened in 2010. The Garden is perched on a bank above the Milwaukee River and sells litres and half-litres of beers imported from the Munich Hofbräuhaus. The view of the river, and the trails you can walk closer to it, add to the experience of sitting with hundreds of others, listening to music, enjoying a traditional German pretzel, and just spending a nice relaxing day in the park. It’s definitely a State Trunk Tour favorite!

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Estabrook Park features some beautiful areas along its parkways and trails. Along the Oak Leaf Bike Trail, just north of Highway 190 via the parkway, you’ll find this stretch of the Milwaukee River. The seasonal Biergarten overlooks this magnificent stretch, popular with kayakers.

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The Oak Leaf Trail lets bicyclists, runners, etc. span Capitol Drive on a new bridge replacing an old one that let the railroad do the same thing for decades.

fox6tower_800Also at Estabrook Park, you’ll see three tall communications towers (the ones visible in the distance from the hill in Brookfield) that host most of the Milwaukee area’s radio and TV station antennas. The fact that they’re on Milwaukee’s East Side is one reason why the broadcast outlets here can often be heard across the lake in Michigan; it’s a straight shot. One of them was once the tallest freestanding structure in the world for a brief period in 1962 (see the State Trunk Tour Tidbit below for more details.)

Also right here, Highway 190/Capitol Drive gets spanned by the Oak Leaf Trail, a former major railroad line popular today with all kinds of runners, bikers, and people who put wheels on the bottom of cross-country skis.

State Trunk Tour Tidbit:
The WITI-TV Tower (the grey metal one) along Highway 190 in Estabrook Park is 1,078 feet tall. When it was completed in 1962, it was the tallest free-standing tower in the world until the Tokyo Tower in Japan decided to add 50 more feet to their tower . It stands about 450 feet taller than Milwaukee’s tallest building, the U.S. Bank Tower.

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Past the bridge, you enter Shorewood (pop. 13,763), a charming suburb that was once known as “East Milwaukee.” Shorewood is where former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist grew up; it’s also where the movie Airplane! was made possible, since directors Jerry Zucker, David Zucker and Jim Abrahams also grew up here. So it’s high court or high comedy: choose your favorite.

Shorewood is a coffee shop-laden village where many residents walk to get what they need. Like Brookfield is the modern-day suburb, Shorewood is the more traditional American suburb. Great shopping is available along Oakland Avenue, starting north from Capitol Drive; continuing east, you return to the small two-lane street style that Highway 190 began with back in Pewaukee. It ends with Lake Michigan in full view at the intersection with Lake Drive (Highway 32); a turn in either direction is filled with tree-lined neighborhoods with beautiful homes. Milwaukee is to your south; other “North Shore” suburbs are to the north. Or, you could get out of your vehicle, walk east and enjoy the beach along Atwater Park. Not bad!

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Highway 190 ends at Highway 32 along Lake Michigan. As you come to the end, you happen upon Atwater Park and the beautiful view of Lake Michigan… choose from the cliff above or the beach below.

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CONNECTIONS

West Terminus:
Can connect immediately to: Highway 16
Can connect nearby to: Interstate 94, about 2 miles south; Highway 83, about 4 miles west

East Terminus:
Can connect immediately to: Highway 32
Can connect nearby to: Interstate 43, about 3 miles west; Highway 57, about 3 miles west

175

STH-175 “Old Highway 41 from Miller Park to Lake Winnebago”

 

Sample towns along the way: Milwaukee, Menomonee Falls, Richfield, Slinger, Addison, Theresa, Lomira, Fond du Lac

Bypass alternates at: You can use I-41 to bypass any town or section of Highway 175, since they parallel each other most of the way.

WisMap175Quickie Summary: State “Trunk” Highway 175 basically is what U.S. Highway 41 was before the 4-lane expressway version opened between northwest Milwaukee and Oshkosh in the mid-1950’s. So basically, every town that U.S. 41 (now Interstate 41) now skims past, Highway 175 goes through the heart of. It’s an interesting study in how towns change when the main road is relocated; some spiffed up their main streets, some seemingly relocated everything toward the new highway. But if you’ve never really seen places like Lomira or Slinger or the downtowns of Menomonee Falls and Fond du Lac, take 175 instead of 41 and check ‘em out! They even used Highway 175 to replace U.S. 41 in Milwaukee when they re-routed it to the Interstate, furthering the route’s identity as “Old 41.”

The Podcast

We talk about Highway 175 in this State Trunk Tour podcast, providing an overview:

Wisconsin Highway 175 Road Trip

The Drive (South to North): Highway 175 now begins at Highway 59/National Avenue in West Milwaukee within full view of Miller Park, home to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Highway 175 beginning as you approach Highway 59 in West Milwaukee

Heading north on Miller Park Way in West Milwaukee, you approach the beginning of Highway 175 at National Avenue, which is also Highway 59. In this photo, you see the first 175 marker, and Miller Park is visible in the distance.

Once Highway 175 begins, you’re on a rebuild of what was Milwaukee’s first expressway segment. Originally called the North 44th Street Expressway and then the Stadium Freeway, this segment opened in 1962 to serve Milwaukee County Stadium and connect with the newly-built (at the time) I-94. Where this freeway segment and I-94 cross was the first freeway-to-freeway interchange completed in Milwaukee, and is slated for a rebuild in the next few years. This stretch was designated U.S. 41 from 1962 to 1999, and then Highway 341 temporarily before the Highway 175 designation by 2015. South of I-94, this segment was reconstructed in 1999 to coincide with the opening – and new footprint – of Miller Park. From I-94 on north, it’s pretty much the original 6-lane freeway from the early 1960s for a few miles. Highway 175 meets with U.S. 18/Bluemound Road and then leapfrogs the Menomonee River Valley (home to the Miller Brewery) into the north side of Milwaukee.

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Highway 175 begins at the Stadium Interchange in Milwaukee from I-94, where the other option is Miller Park Way – the ballpark is RIGHT there.

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Heading south on 175, formerly U.S. 41, Miller Park dominates the view at the end. Highway 341 begins here and continues south for barely a mile for some reason.

The Valley – Miller & Harley
Highway 175/former U.S. 41 is a key connection to the Miller Brewery, via the exit at State/Vliet Streets. Once home to Miller Brewing Company’s world headquarters – now in Chicago after the MillerCoors merger – they still brew over 45 million barrels of beer in “Miller Valley” each year, from Miller Lite and High Life to specialty brews and even old-school brands by contract, including Schlitz, Pabst, Old Style, Blatz, and more. Tours of the brewery and plant are incredibly popular and run every half hour from 10am-3:30pm most Mondays-Saturdays. You can call (414) 931-BEER to check on schedules of these tours, which are free and include three complimentary beers. Off the highway a bit but literally across Highland Boulevard from Miller’s regional offices lies the Harley-Davidson Motor Company headquarters. This sprawling complex is the heart of Harley’s leadership and operations and for bikers, a picture out front with the Harley sign is often a must. The engine and bike manufacturing takes place elsewhere, but for the plans, promotions, and other things tied to these classic bikes and the Harley lifestyle, this locale at 38th & Highland is the “mother ship.” Further west along State Street just into suburban Wauwatosa, a newer microbrewery called Big Head Brewing offers craft brews, so you can enjoy a huge brewery and a tiny craft brewery in close proximity via the State Street exit.

Back to Highway 175, the freeway winds over State and under Vliet Streets and past Washington Park, a beautiful urban park that once held the city’s main zoo. The freeway ends there, once intended for continuation but stopped during the “freeway revolt” years during the late 1960s and early 1970s. At this point, traffic moves to ramps and then is routed onto Lisbon Avenue, which runs northwest and was U.S. 41 originally when the route was first designated in 1926.

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This freeway stretch has remained largely unchanged since 1962, except for U.S. 41 becoming Highway 175 in 2015.

Highway 175 meets up with the Zoo Freeway, which was solely U.S. 45 for fifty years before also picking up the I-41 & U.S. 41 designations in 2015. This unusual interchange consists of sweeping ramps that allow access to northbound I-41 only when heading northwest, and southbound I-41/U.S. 45 only when heading southwest. The interchange has been configured this way since its construction in the 1950s, when Appleton Avenue was a bigger deal than U.S. 45. That’s definitely different now.

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Highway 175 approaching I-41/U.S. 45, which is an unusual interchange on the border of Milwaukee and Menomonee Falls.

Within blocks of the interchange, you leave Milwaukee to enter Waukesha County and Menomonee Falls (pop. 35,626), Wisconsin’s largest “village” (they haven’t gotten around to applying for city status yet.) Menomonee Falls occupies the northeastern corner of Waukesha County and serves as corporate headquarters for the Kohl’s Corporation, Cousins Subs, Alto-Shaam, and even Strong Funds before Eliot Spitzer got his hands on them.

As Appleton Avenue, Highway 175 continues as a six-lane boulevard heading into the downtown area, but tapers to a smaller street and enters the heart of downtown, referred to as the “Historic Village Centre”. The downtown crossroads intersects with Main Street – formerly Highway 74 – and passes a variety of craft stores, boutiques, salons and restaurants.

After Menomonee Falls and the rapid growth along County Line Road (where you enter Washington County), Highway 175 becomes more of a rural-type two-lane road and begins to string together a series of towns as the road to Fond du Lac begins, making for a nice drive in the country. I-41/U.S. 45 parallel about mile to the northeast here.

Part of that nice drive in the country includes scenic views, like from atop Meeker Hill (pictured below). Remember, this used to be U.S. 41 and all that through traffic must have had a tough time chugging through here, especially when people would travel up north for the weekend.

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Atop Meeker Hill, featuring a view topping 15-20 miles. As you can see, the view varies based on whether it’s June or January.

Highway 175 provides good access to the twin steeples of Holy Hill, by either heading west at the Highway 167 crossing in Richfield or south on Highway 164, accessed by a ramp after an underpass at Ackerville.

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Near Ackerville and the underpass under Highway 164, Highway 175 has a bar that names itself partially after it – Sheryl’s Club 175. As you know, it’s State Trunk Tour policy to salute establishments that name themselves with their highways.

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Today’s Highway 175 dealt with busy traffic prior to 1953, when this stretch was part of U.S. 41 and the Yellowstone Trail. Old gas station sights like this are common. And somehow fascinating, since they capture a different time and have changed little since.

Many may not know where downtown Slinger (pop. 4,109) is, but Highway 175 cuts right through it just north of Highway 60. Cool older buildings like St. Peter’s church show architecture from the time Slinger (originally called “Schleisingerville” fer cryin’ out loud) was an outpost village perched at the edge of Kettle Moraine. As a matter of fact, the downtown intersection leads to the start of Highway 144, part of the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive, at I-41 just to the north.

Several points of interest lie on the other side, including Held’s, a great place to stock up on Sconnie eats like cheese and beef jerky, Little Switzerland Ski Area, featuring 15 runs and 5 chair lifts; and Slinger Super Speedway, known as the World’s Fastest Quarter Mile Oval.

Slinger Super Speedway has been around in one form or another since 1948 and was paved in 1973. A paved “X” infield allows for Figure 8 racing, and the quarter-mile oval hosts races for stock cars and modifieds of almost all types. Drivers like Matt Kenseth, Dick Trickle, Alan Kulwicki, Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt, Kyle Petty, Ernie Irvan, Sterling Marlin, Ted Musgrave, Rusty Wallace and, well, the list goes on and on.

State Trunk Tour Tidbit:
Little Switzerland Ski Area, named after a neutral nation, opened on December 7, 1941, the same day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that led to U.S. involvement in World War II.
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Always a roaring loud and fun time, Slinger Super Speedway features a variety of races with plenty of action. The surrounding terrain is nice, too.

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A old postcard showing Slinger, where Highway 144 ends. Or starts. Depends.

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Today’s downtown Slinger is marked by the intersection of Highway 175 and Highway 144’s terminus, which connects to I-41. A lot of fantastic stone construction is evident in the surrounding buildings. Check it out!

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St. Lawrence Church, built in the early 1880s.

After Slinger comes the little crossroads of St. Lawrence, which features a historic and charming chalet-looking fine dining restaurant called the Little Red Inn (4900 Hwy 175, 262-644-8181), a bar called the St. Lawrence C-Way (clever, no?), and the gracious St. Lawrence Church (1880-82), featuring loud chiming bells that echo through the burg.

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The Little Red Inn hugs the corner of Highway 175 and County K as St. Lawrence’s other landmark.

Just north of tiny St. Lawrence, 175 intersects with the north terminus of Highway 83, which blends right into the roadway if you’re going northbound. Highway 83 doubles back to Hartford, the Lake Country around Waukesha County, and eventually to Illinois. But we’re forging northward on the “old 41” Highway 175 route, so onward!

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The view from northbound Highway 175 between St. Lawrence and Addison looks across a valley holding the North Branch of the Rock River and the Theresa State Wildlife Area toward hills in Kettle Moraine’s Northern Forest Unit. Fertile farmland abounds in this area.

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Farms abound too, and many are tucked into small valleys that line Highway 175. Watch for slow-moving farm vehicles at times, which must have caused massive backups way back when this was U.S. 41, the main road from Milwaukee to Appleton and Green Bay.

After skidding west of Addison in a new alignment past Highway 33, you enter the village of Theresa (pop. 1,252), pronounced “ther-ay-sa”. Theresa holds the distinction of being named after the mother of Solomon Juneau, who’d founded this other place called Milwaukee years earlier, moved out, established Theresa, and therefore was the first European settler to begin urban sprawl in Wisconsin.

The downtown area features a variety of “old-school” buildings, including a series of signs that have been up since this was U.S. 41.

widmers_800Cheese store alert.

A longtime State Trunk Tour favorite, Widmer’s Cheese Cellars has been producing a variety of cheeses in Theresa since 1922. Specializing in Wisconsin native cheeses brick and colby, Widmer’s 12,000 square foot facility uses the same open vats and well-worn bricks that press the whey used since Widmer’s opening. The facility includes a small store area with a full view of the cheesemaking area. A quick left on Henni Street right past Solomon Juneau’s cabin will bring you there. Stop in, take in the scent of cheese being made (not for everybody) and load up on fresh curds – that’s what the State Trunk Tour does. They offer tours but times can vary, so check here for details.

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Solomon Juneau first founded in Milwaukee, then fled in later years to establish Theresa, named after his mother. His final homestead, built in 1848, is along Highway 67 in town, where it also meets with Highway 175.

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The section of Highway 67 combined with Highway 175 is part of the historic Yellowstone Trail, a trailblazing path through the early days of American driving.

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Not as early as the Yellowstone Trail but still becoming a slice of old Americana are the old logos on signs, such as the one for 7Up on this store in Theresa.

In Theresa, Highways 67 and 28 join 175 just past the Rock River crossing. All three highways head north for a few miles before Highway 28 breaks east toward Kewaskum; Highway 67 stays until Lomira, when it heads east toward Plymouth.

Lomira (pop. 2,233) is one example of a town that was once focused on this road when it was U.S. 41, but now most of the activity and development lies further east along the busy freeway that is today’s I-41. But where the freeway view of Lomira reveals gas stations and fast food restaurants, Highway 175 offers a slower, easier ride, smaller, quaint structures, a variety of homes and the attractive St. Mary’s Catholic Church. A lot of nice old churches adorn this road.

State Trunk Tour Tidbit:
The massive Quad Graphics plant in Lomira is the largest single printing facility in the Western Hemisphere.

The stretch from Lomira to Fond du Lac is straight as an arrow, paralleling I-41, which lies about a quarter mile to the east. You pass the Quad/Graphics plant near Highway 49, and a sign of the future around Byron: giant turbines providing wind-generated electricity.

Anderson Garage along Highway 175, the old US 41 south of Fond du Lac

Anderson Garage, which indeed has been operating as a car repair shop since 1918, when some people were still using the term “horseless carriages.” You’ll find it just north of County B in Fond du Lac County.

Highway 175 also negotiates a ridge on its path; the view to the west stretches for miles and miles, as does the massive wind farm. Over 80 wind turbines churn in this territory – a since they all have those red aircraft warnings lights on top, it’s quite sight a night. During the daylight, just past the intersection with County B in Byron, you can look north and see parts of Fond du Lac and Lake Winnebago, ten miles away.

Highway 175 view towards Fond du Lac

Lake Winnebago and parts of Fond du Lac are visible from Bryon along Highway 175, almost ten miles away.

North end of Highway 175, approaching U.S. 151

Highway 175 ran through Fond du Lac and all the way to a junction with U.S. 45 just south of Oshkosh until 2007, when it was scaled back to the new U.S. 151 bypass around the south end of Fond du Lac. For the purposes of this tour, we’ll head into Fond du Lac until we reach Lake Winnebago.

Past today’s end of Highway 175 at the U.S. 151 bypass of Fond du Lac, you leapfrog over I-41/U.S. 41. Just past there is the Kristmas Kringle Shoppe, where it’s always Christmas and people stop in from all over the country. You want Christmas in July? It’s here.

That’s your gateway to Fond du Lac (pop. 42,203), entering a city whose name literally means – in French – “bottom of the lake.” The lake – of course – is Winnebago, one of the largesst inland lakes in the United States. Fond du Lac is the home to Mercury Marine, Marian University, the “living museum” of the Galloway House and Village, and a downtown that’s rather vibrant for a city this size. The former Highway 175 (and U.S. 41, remember) is Main Street in Fond du Lac, running right up through downtown. You can choose one-way alternate routes around the downtown strip, where U.S. Highway 45 joins, or run straight up Main Street to get the full flavor of shops, restaurants, and some good old architecture, much of which dates back to the late 19th century.

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Straight up Main Street, downtown Fond du Lac offers up a long line of great old buildings with 19th century architecture. Storefronts are full and it’s a great place to park and walk around. By the way, if you buy lottery tickets, do it in Fond du Lac. Since the 1990s, a number of winning Powerball jackpot tickets have been sold along Main Street, prompting many to dub it the “Miracle Mile.”

State Trunk Tour Tidbit:
Fond du Lac is in the Guinness Book of World Records for having created the world’s largest working fondue pot (8 feet in diameter, can hold 2,500 pounds of melted cheese) during their Fondue Festival in 2007.

Between downtown and Lakeside Park, you cross Highway 23, a major east-west state road, and the cool collage painting on the south side of Mike’s Music & Sound.

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Can you identify ’em all? The collage along Mike’s Music & Sound on Main Street in Fond du Lac.

The old Highway 175 turns left onto Scott Street, at the entrance to Lakeside Park. A good diversion is to head straight into the park and enjoy the southern shore of Lake Winnebago. Being the “bottom of the lake” city, Fond du Lac sits on the southern end of this largest inland lake in the state, and one of the larger lakes in the nation; the north shore, near Appleton, is 30 miles away.

 

CONNECTIONS
South Terminus:
Can connect immediately to: I-94, U.S. 18, Highway 59
Can connect nearby to: Highway 57, about 1 mile east; Highway 190, about 3 miles north; Highway 181, about 3 miles north

North Terminus:
Can connect immediately to: I-41, U.S. Highway 151
Can connect nearby to: Highway 23, U.S. Highway 45 about 3 miles north




167

STH-167 “Holy Hill to Lake Michigan”

 

WisMap167_200wQuickie Summary: State “Trunk” Highway 167 is a key route across the northern suburbs of Milwaukee. It provides access to the beautiful Holy Hill area, as well as the booming towns of Germantown and Mequon. The eastern part is mostly suburbia; the westernmost 10 miles or so provides a hilly, scenic drive.

The Wisconsin Highway 167 Road Trip

The Drive (East to West): Highway 167 runs along Mequon Road through – surprise! – Mequon. It begins at the I-43/Highway 32 interchange and Highway 57 joins 167 for the first few miles going west. The first intersection is just a few hundred feet west, known as Port Washington Road, which was the main highway north before the interstate was built. If you’re up for shopping, you’re in the right place.

Mequon (pop. 23,820) is consistently rated as one of the “Best Places to Live in the United States” by Money Magazine – and there’s a lot of money in Mequon. The city has a lot of high-end homes, some plotted on acre-plus lots and others amidst forested neighborhoods. Mequon is often paired with Thiensville (pop. 3,254), known locally by some as the “worthwhile square mile.” Mequon is Wisconsin’s fourth largest city by area, while Thiensville is about 1/36th of Mequon’s size. Nestled right along the Milwaukee River, Thiensville features the charming and compact layout of a small Midwestern village, while Mequon is a more spread-out version of a nice suburb.

Heading west along Highway 167 is basically our typical nice suburban landscape for a while. You cross the Milwaukee River and reach the original Green Bay Road, where Highway 57 heads south into Milwaukee; Green Bay Road itself continues north into the aforementioned Thiensville, where more small-town charm awaits (the even more charming Cedarburg is a little further up as well.)

Just west of the Milwaukee River crossing and the Highway 57 junction, running westerly to the Highway 181 intersection, Mequon is taking a mile or so along Mequon Road for new development that strives to build somewhat of a downtown development here. The Mequon Public Market opened in 2019, based on a scaled-down version of the Milwaukee Public Market. Everything from St. Paul Fish Company to florists, crafters, and smaller versions of city restaurants have up shop here.

Foxtown Brewing along Highway 167 in Mequon*** Brewery Alert ***
The Foxtown Brewing Company established itself along Mequon Road/Highway 167 in November 2019, building upon a historic brewery. The Optiz-Zimmerman Brewery opened on this site way back in 1857, and they built subterranean caves that last to this day.

Continuing west on Highway 167 past Highway 181 (Wauwatosa Road/76th Street) brings you to more open areas in western Mequon. You end up on a two-lane road that navigates some of the Ozaukee County countryside before hitting Washington County.

Yeah, that was quick: Ozaukee County is only six miles wide at that point. Washington County means entry into Germantown (pop. 20,100). Much of Germantown is newer, developing city but it retains history in a downtown area that began as the settlement of Dheinsville in 1842. Much of the historic museums, including Wisconsin’s largest bell collection, reside just up Highway 145, which Highway 167 crosses shortly after entering Germantown. Still known as Mequon Road at this point, Highway 167 serves somewhat as the “new” type of Main Street USA, where Germantown’s main retail and commercial centers line the road for a few miles and decorative street lights tell you this area is given close attention.

Germantown doesn’t look at Mequon with too much envy; in July 2007 Germantown was rated as the 30th most appealing city, town or village in the United States to live in by Money magazine. Basically, if you live near Highway 167, you’re in a desirable area.

Toward Germantown’s western edge, Highway 167 becomes a freeway for a short spell, joining U.S. 41/45 for a ride northwest to Holy Hill Road, which Highway 167 joins going westward. Following Holy Hill Road EAST at the interchange, by the way, is another good way to access Germantown’s old downtown, the Dheinsville Historic District, and the little museums. You can also stop in Jerry’s Old Towne Tavern and karaoke if you have the courage. By the way, following I-41/U.S. 45 north another mile or so brings you to Cabela’s, the outdoor shopper’s paradise. You can see it from the Highway 167 overpass, and if you need a compass to help with your State Trunk Tour trips, well, I’m pretty sure they’ll have some available.

West from the freeway, Highway 167 enters Richfield and crosses Highway 175, the original U.S. 41. This stretch of Highway 167 begins to take on the hilly character of the Kettle Moraine region it enters. Small taverns dot the roadside, including the charm of the Down Slope Pub… one step inside and you feel like you’re in old-school Ireland (After the Germanic nature of Germantown, this area gets awfully Irish – after the town of Richfield is the town of Erin, after all. After crossing Highway 164, the twin steeples of the road’s namesake begins to come into view. They’re the unmistakeable symbol of the Holy Hill National Shrine. The highest point in southeastern Wisconsin (1,350 feet above sea level, or about 770 feet higher than Lake Michigan), Holy Hill was declared a Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians in 1903 and in 2006 was elevated to the status of Minor Basilica. It also hosts events such as the annual Saints & Sinners Golf Outing…no word on which sides get the better scores, since some golfers would sell their soul for a good golf game. There probably aren’t the usual number of references to “Caddyshack” in this outing either, but who knows?

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Highway 167 narrows and traverses hills near Freiss Lake approaching Holy Hill.

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The twin steeples atop Holy Hill dominate the landscape for miles around and will keep you staring… and wanting to climb up in there and check it out. Downtown Milwaukee – 35 miles away – is visible from these steeples on a clear day.

Highway 167 as Holy Hill Road twists and turns more as you approach the entrance to Holy Hill in a stretch of road more commonly found in the Driftless Area of southwestern Wisconsin. The entrance is on the south side of the highway… watch for slow traffic sometimes as a result. More scenery can be found along Highway K, which doubles as a Rustic Road here in the Town of Erin. You’ll also have an access point to the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Less than two miles later, Highway 167 comes to an end. The increasingly busy Highway 83 is where you reach the end of the brief 167 tour, but you can follow 83 north to Hartford or south into Waukesha County’s Lake County for more cool stuff to see. Or, continue west on County O… you’ll eventually reach Highway 67!

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Highway 167 comes to an end at Highway 83, which continues to traverse the Kettle Moraine area and heads south into Lake County in Waukesha County. While not officially a “child” of Highway 67, you can reach 67 by continuing westward on County O, which after a bit of zigzagging through the hills in these parts will bring you there.

Highway 167 overall is a nice, quick tour – about 25 miles through pleasant countryside, nice suburban areas and past a National Shrine. Combine it with Highway 83, 67 or 164 for a longer trip to see more. Enjoy!

CONNECTIONS:
East Terminus:
Can connect immediately to: I-43, Highway 32, Highway 57
Can connect nearby to: Highway 100, about 3 miles south; Highway 60 about 7 miles north

West Terminus:
Can connect immediately to: Highway 83
Can connect nearby to: Highway 67, about 7 miles west; Highway 164, about 5 miles east

164

STH-164 “Can you keep up with the changes?”

 

WisMap164_200wQuickie Summary: State “Trunk” Highway 164 is an increasingly major road connecting points in the fast-growing far western burbs of Milwaukee. A great connector for other drives, 164 itself serves Waukesha, Waterford and the Holy Hill area and is one of the more controversial roads in Wisconsin due to plans for widening on long stretches.

The Wisconsin Highway 164 Road Trip

The Drive (South to North):

Highway 164 starts just north of Waterford (pop. 4,048). Originally known by its Potawatomi name of Tichigan (like the lake just to the northeast), Waterford is now named partially due to its narrow crossing point over the Fox River at Main Street (where one could easily, as they used to say, “ford the water”.) Downtown features stores and bars a’plenty and some nice parkland along the river. Highways 20 & 83 run through Waterford, and Highway 36 runs along its eastern edge. At the north edge is the junction of Highway 164, where it begins.

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Highway 164 southbound ends at Highway 36. Straight ahead is County K, which eventually meaders to Racine. Highway 36 north takes you to Milwaukee; southbound, you hit Waterford and Burlington.

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Highway 164 begins, heading north from Highway 36. Rolling hills and then Big Bend are up first along the way before Waukesha and other places beckon.

To the west of Highway 164 is the Fox River, which expands into Tichigan Lake and the Tichigan State Wildlife Area. Tichigan Lake grew from an 1838 dam on the Fox River, and the marshland and lakes offer great fishing (particularly trout) and wildlife watching a’plenty, including a wide variety of birds and Blanding’s turtles – a relatively rare find. It’s also part of the Great Wisconsin Birding & Nature Trail.

There’s a big bend on the Fox River a few miles further north, and that’s where you’ll find Big Bend (pop. 1,278). The first sawmill went up on the bend in the river in 1831, though incorporation didn’t happen until 97 years later. The water here was always considered of the highest quality; in 1893, a nearby spring (called Hygeia Spring #2) was the source of water that was sold in Chicago (for a penny a glass) at their World’s Fair – as an example of how water should be.

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While it’s nothing major to look at nowadays, the intersection of Highway 164 and County L – once Highway 24, has some history. Dating back to the 1800s and before, this was the intersection of the Milwaukee and Prairieville Trails. “Prairieville” was Waukesha’s original name.

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In Big Bend, several 19th century buildings remain and their histories are evident. Obviously this building has had renovations since, but this former blacksmith shop is now an automotive service center.

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Fall is a nice time to ride along 164. This stretch is between Big Bend and I-43 and provides plenty of color.

Shortly after Big Bend, Highway 164 crosses I-43 and County ES, which was once Highway 15 and the main road between Milwaukee and Beloit before its larger Interstate cousin was built. There are plenty of places to refuel – for gas or food. From this point north, Highway 164 is a recently upgraded four-lane highway that serves as a primary route into Waukesha coming from the south; lots of development is taking place along this stretch.

This brings you to (by far) the largest city along Highway 164, Waukesha (pop. 66,840), which Money Magazine recently ranked 36th on its “100 Best Places to Live in the U.S.” list. Waukesha originally incorporated in 1846 as Prairieville and changed its name the following year. “Waukesha” means “fox” in the Potawatomi language, and the Fox River runs right through town. Waukesha is home to the oldest college in Wisconsin, Carroll College, which was founded in 1846 (the University of Wisconsin has established two years later.) The BoDeans, comedian Frank Caliendo, Olympic gymnasts Paul and Morgan Hamm, musician Kurt Bestor and author Vernor Vinge all hail from Waukesha to some extent, and Les Paul, inventor of the electric guitar, was born in the city in 1919. The bypass Highway 164 runs on today is named after him.

***BYPASS ALERT***

Approaching Waukesha, you have a choice between following the original Highway 164, which cuts right through the city, or the newer alignment that bypasses the city to the south and east (that’s the Les Paul Parkway we just mentioned). If you choose to go through the city, follow East Avenue straight into town, angle east briefly on Main and then north again on White Rock Avenue, follow Moreland Blvd (U.S. 18) west across the Fox River, and then north on County F all the way to I-94. Hey, nobody said it was easy.

If you go through the city, explore downtown Waukesha a bit; it offers a wide assortment of shops, parks and places to see. Among them is the Waukesha County Historical Society & Museum (101 W. Main Street, 262-548-7186), which chronicles Waukesha ’s rather interesting history with water and mud. The springs in the village were believed to provide water that could, among other things, cure diabetes. Resorts were built to attract visitors to come and “heal” themselves with Waukesha ’s water. Attempts to pump Waukesha’s high-quality water to the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago were almost successful – almost. During the first half of the 20th century, the Moor Mud Baths gave rise to the Grand View Health Resort, a precursor to today’s health spas. All of that and more are chronicled in the museum. The older parts of Waukesha, which downtown certainly is a part of, are known for wacky street layouts that some have described as “like a set of wheel spokes with no hub.” It’s easy to get lost, but you won’t stay that way for long.

 

Waukesha, home of the first forward pass

No, not a pass in a bar (although there are plenty of those in Waukesha bars). The first legal forward pass in American football took place in Waukesha on September 5, 1906. During a game against Waukesha’s Carroll College, St. Louis University’s Bradbury Robinson tossed up a pass which fell incomplete – a turnover under 1906 rules. Later in the game, he tossed a 20-yard touchdown pass. It was considered a way to make the game safer; the previous year, there were 19 fatalities nationwide in football and President Teddy Roosevelt threatened to shut down the game unless changes were made.

Right: A depiction of the Brad Robinson throwing the first legal forward pass, as shown in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1906.

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Currently, Highway 164 joins Highway 59 for the ride on the six-lane Les Paul Parkway around Waukesha’s south and east side. This is a newer, sprawling area of Waukesha. It pops you over to Arcadian Avenue quickly so you can head east toward Milwaukee. Highway 164 jogs a bit here; you follow I-94 west for a few miles back around the north end of Waukesha before departing the freeway onto a recently re-aligned 164, which proceeds north for the longer leg of the trip.

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For a few miles, Highway 164 follows I-94 to complete the semi-circle around Waukesha. You then head north on a newer alignment that will take you through the rest of Waukesha County and into Washington County.

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Rolling hills – some of which roll pretty high – rule the landscape in this part of Washington County. At the intersection with Highway 167, you get a nice view in any season. Just west of this intersection are the twin steeples of Holy Hill, a very prominent landmark.

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Holy Hill can be accessed via Highway 167 going west; the view of the twin steeples from the ground are awesome enough, the view from the steeples is even better!

One mile north of Highway 167 is Pleasant Hill Road. A jog east briefly leads you to the Messer-Mayer Grist Mill, first constructed in 1871 and recently restored. Inside, a lot of original mining equipment can be found, much of it early equipment from the small machine shop that would eventually grow into Allis-Chalmers, a once-giant manufacturing company that built West Allis, Wisconsin and made much of the equipment that built the nation’s infrastructure throughout the 20th century. Tours are available June-August or by appointment (262-628-0252). A fun little stop on Highway 164 at Pleasant Hill is the Hairy Lemon Irish Pub (262-628-4645), where you can grab some refreshments.

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Richfield’s Messer-Mayer Grist Mill, which dates back to 1871.

Further north, Highway 164 leapfrogs over Highway 175, the original U.S. 41. Shortly after that, Highway 164 ends at Highway 60, just west of junction with I-41/U.S. 41. Slinger is just to the west, like a hop, skip, and a jump.
South Terminus:
Can connect immediately to: Highway 36
Can connect nearby to: Highway 20, about 2 miles south; Highway 83, about 2 miles south

East Terminus:
Can connect immediately to: Highway 60
Can connect nearby to: Highway 175, about 1 mile south; I-41, about 1/2 mile east

145

STH-145 “How diverse can a road get in 25 miles? Let’s find out.”

WisMap145_200wQuickie Summary: State “Trunk” Highway 145 is about every kind of road one can possibly be in Wisconsin. It’s a two-lane road winding past farm fields, a multi-lane suburban sprawl connector, a six-lane freeway heading into a major city, a boulevard in city neighborhoods, a city street cutting through areas that have seen better days and some that are renewing, a new boulevard built to replace a torn-down freeway, and a downtown throughfare serving major attractions, including major arenas and museums… all within 25 miles.

Wisconsin Highway 145 Road Trip

The Drive (North to South): Highway 145 follows U.S. 45’s former path from Richfield into Milwaukee. Starting at the I-41/U.S. 45 interchange in Washington County (now known as the “where Cabela’s is” place, if you need a compass to help with your State Trunk Tour trips, well, I’m pretty sure they’ll have some available), Highway 145 meanders through the countryside for its first few miles. Open spaces and farms adorn either side, but on certain hill crests the distant – but not for long – skyline of downtown Milwaukee beckons.

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Highway 145 starts when Pioneer Road, a local road cutting through Washington County, meets up with I-41 & U.S. 45 where they split (northbound) or come together (southbound) in Richfield. The area has become a boomtown in recent years and sports one of the few Cabela’s in Wisconsin (pictured below). Office parks, retail stores and gas stations have popped up, as well as a series of roundabouts. A LOT of roundabouts. Once you navigate your way through these (and trucks are plentiful, so be sure to yield) and cross U.S. 45, Highway 145 more or less parallels the I-41/45 freeway into Germantown, but is much more interesting.

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After the brief start in the town of Richfield, Highway 145 enters Germantown (pop. 20,100), rated by Money Magazine in July 2007 as the 30th most appealing city, town or village to live in the United States. Much of Germantown is newer, developing city but it retains history in a downtown area that began as the settlement of Dheinsville.

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Dheinsville was established by the Dhein family in 1842, The Bast Bell Museum features Wisconsin’s largest bell collection – over 5,000 bells. Sila Lydia Bast, for whom the museum is named, lived in Germantown from 1900 to 1992 and collected them all. Highway 145 cuts right through the Dheinsville Historic District at the intersection with Holy Hill Road (once Highway 167). , which serves as Germantown’s original “downtown” area approaching Holy Hill Road.

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Germantown’s downtown is just down the road. A turn west onto Main Street brings you past some of the town’s original buildings with a German flair. Stop in Jerry’s Old Towne Tavern and karaoke if you have the courage. The Germanic tradition of Germantown is also reflected in some of the cross-street names like Freistadt Road.

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It’s not super clear in this picture, but downtown Milwaukee is visible while you’re still in Germantown. The downtown skyline is about 12 miles away as the crow flies. Left of those buildings, some of the high-rise lakefront condos running along Milwaukee’s East Side can also be seen. Click on the picture for a larger view; trust us, it’s out there.

From Germantown, Highway 145 darts down growing suburban streets and crosses the corner of Waukesha County in Menomonee Falls (pop. 32,647), Wisconsin’s largest “village” (they haven’t gotten around to applying for city status yet.) “The Falls”, as locals call it, serves as corporate headquarters for the Kohl’s Corporation, Cousins Subs, and even Strong Funds before Eliot Spitzer got his hands on them. It’s also home to a major Harley-Davidson engine plant. Highway 145 grazes Menomonee Falls’ northeast corner and briefly meets up with Highway 100 before heading down the Waukesha-Milwaukee county line on a new alignment designed to accommodate the growth from new suburban-style office buildings that are sprouting up in this area.

Milwaukee

From there, Highway 145 hooks up with U.S. 41/45 and enters Milwaukee (pop. 592,887), Wisconsin’s largest city and 28th largest in the United States. This route hits a cross-section of the city and includes some of its best – and worst – parts.

**History Note**
Highway 145 from the Menomonee Falls-Milwaukee city limit was originally slated to be a freeway all the way to downtown Milwaukee and the lakefront. It would run southeasterly from the Granville Interchange (today’s I-41/U.S. 45/Highway 145/Good Hope Road interchange at Park Place) to the Capital Court Shopping Center – now called Midtown Center. It would then turn southerly along 60th Stret to Appleton Avenue and follow Appleton and Lisbon Avenues to the northern end of the Stadium Freeway (U.S. 41) at 47th & Lisbon. From there, it would run easterly as the Park West Freeway between North and Meinecke Avanues from 46th Street to 20th before heading southeast along Fond du Lac Avenue again to 12th, where it intersects with I-43. It was to continue as the Park East Freeway along the northern edge of downtown Milwaukee to the lakefront, and then turn south to meet up with I-794 and the Hoan Bridge. The section from the Granville Interchange to 68th Street & Hampton Avenue was completed in 1967 and remains to this day; the Park East segment from I-43 (then U.S. 141) to Jefferson Street was completed in 1971 and was torn down in 2002. Today, Highway 145 follows the freeway segment to 68th & Hampton and then Fond du Lac Avenue to downtown, where it becomes McKinley Avenue. Highway 145 was adjusted to head south on 6th Street from there to end at Wells.
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Entering Milwaukee and Milwaukee County, Highway 145 junctions with U.S. 41 & 45 before jumping onto its own (way underused) freeway stretch that angles into the city through the northwest side. These twin office buildings, known as Park Place, hold the world headquarters of A. O. Smith Corporation and a number of other firms. At the end of the 145, you’ll see a lot more office towers.

The twin office buildings amidst a sprawling complex of restaurants, hotels and parkland are part of the Park Place development, where A.O. Smith moved their corporate headquarters and a number of emerging companies have set up shop. A suburban-like office complex set in the City of Milwaukee, Park Place was originally designed in 1980s and after a period that saw little growth, has recently expanded like donuts on a jelly injector. Dretzka Park, which lies to the north of the complex, covers a huge area of real estate and serves as a great place to relax or play golf – and that includes frisbee golf, since Dretzka has one of the better courses for that growing activity.

The exchange Highway 145 has with I-41/U.S. 45 and Good Hope Road is called the Granville Interchange, named after the Town of Granville, which was the last holdout from the City of Milwaukee’s aggressive annexation campaign in the 1950s. Although Milwaukee’s city boundaries have been unchanged since 1957, some residents of the former Town of Granville held out with their mailing address, tax filings and more until well into the 1960s. Through this area, Highway 145 stays a six-lane freeway for about four miles past the complex around Park Place, paralleling Fond du Lac Avenue (once State Highway 55 waaay back when). During that run, especially around 91st Street, you get a pretty cool view of Milwaukee’s downtown in the distance. The angle from the northwest makes for a good vantage point.

145sbby91st_800Highway 145 was upgraded in northwestern Milwaukee as a freeway in 1966. The original plan was for the freeway to extend (as U.S. 41) all the way downtown. It was stopped at Hampton Avenue, pending other construction projects, and has been blending into Fond du Lac Avenue ever since. Consequently, it’s more lightly traveled than other Milwaukee area freeways.

 

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Once over the 91st Street interchange, downtown Milwaukee shows up on the horizon. You’re headed straight toward it for the rest of the way.

Shortly after the 76th Street/Grantosa exit, Highway 145 merges back onto Fond du Lac Avenue, the same street it was back in Germantown. It remains a boulevard past the former site of Capitol Court, one of the first indoor shopping centers in Milwaukee – and for that matter, the country – to open up. Capitol Court dated back to 1956; changing demographics and shopping habits changed the development and today it’s an area called Midtown Center, a series of big-box stores with some “main street” designs for smaller retailers. This is a busy area of the city, and traffic can be heavy as you approach 51st Street and Highway 190 (Capitol Drive). Highway 145 continues southeast through denser neighborhoods. This is an area that has seen better times, as evidenced by the condition of some of the surrounding buildings. There are some great old architectural pieces along the way, though. Some were banks built in the late 1800s, others were grand old houses – some of which are still kept in great condition.

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Highway 145 as Fond du Lac Avenue is a boulevard for several miles, past Midtown Center and Highway 190 (Capitol Drive). It then goes through some of the city’s densest and oldest neighborhoods.

**PASTY ALERT**

This area features a lot of cellphone stores, wig shops and taverns where a random venture may be too much of an adventure, but a must-stop for fans of the Cornish delicacy known as a pasty need to check out Reynolds Pasty Shop (3525 W. Burleigh Street, 414-444-4490). Established in 1956 and still going strong, Reynolds packs in the beef, potatoes, carrots and spices in a delicate, flaky crust and does a brisk business with customers from all over the city. It’s primarily a carry-out business, perfect for road trips, and pasties are designed to eat with one hand – also perfect for road trips. There’s a small triangular block bounded by 36th Street, Burleigh Street and Fond du Lac Avenue (Highway 145), and Reynolds is clearly visible from Fond du Lac Avenue. You can park on the street or in the municipal lot in the triangle. A regular pasty costs $3.79 and they have a variety of side fixin’s, including gravy and cheese.

As you approach 20th Street/Highway 57 and North Avenue (one of the many five- and six-point intersections on this stretch), Fond du Lac Avenue widens again into a boulevard and downtown beckons. Barbecue and deli lovers, however, take note: you have two outstanding choices within blocks. First, a quick jog eastward (left) onto North Avenue to 17th Street will bring you to Jake’s Deli, a Milwaukee institution that is open for lunch only and draws fans of corned beef, pastrami and matzoh ball soup for hundreds of miles. Just a bit further down at the light with Walnut Street, you can duck eastward (left) briefly to Speed Queen BBQ (Walnut & 12th, 414-265-2900), which has some of the best pork, ribs, beef and turkey in the Midwest.

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Redone as part of the mammoth Marquette Interchange project finished in 2008, you can see some artistic touches as you go under I-43 on the way into downtown Milwaukee. The Pabst Brewery complex is visible to the right.

Those murals:
The murals along Highway 145 under I-43 tell quite a story. Here’s a story on it from WTMJ-TV (Channel 4) in Milwaukee that aired in February, 2016:

Continuing down Highway 145 you reach an interchange with I-43, which provides connections a-plenty. Downtown beckons straight ahead. Just past the interstate, the street becomes McKinley Boulevard and offers another terrific view of downtown Milwaukee. To the right is the old Pabst Brewery complex, which cranked of millions of barrels of beer annually until it was shuttered in 1996. The area is being redeveloped, with a complex of hotels, university space, restaurants, offices and condos. To the left is one of the MillerCoors/Leinenkugel breweries, which is easier to spot from I-43 but nonetheless is right there. Further east, the old Schlitz Brewery is just north of McKinley on 3rd Street, aka Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Yes, if there was ever an epicenter for past and present breweries, this is it. Today, the Schlitz complex is a business park that includes the world headquarters of Manpower, Inc.

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A panorama of downtown greets you on Highway 145, which descends via McKinley Boulevard before turning south onto 6th Street. In the distance is the U.S. Bank Tower, a 42-story office building that has remained Milwaukee’s tallest since 1973. The white tower in the foreground is The Moderne, a 30-story condo and apartment building that adds a punch to the north end skyline and is the tallest building in Wisconsin west of the Milwaukee River.

Sports and Entertainment Venues Abound

Highway 145 turns south onto 6th Street, going past the BMO Harris Bradley Center, home to the NBA Milwaukee Bucks (for now, until the new arena opens in 2018), the American Hockey League Milwaukee Admirals, soccer with the Milwaukee Wave, and countless concerts and shows. On the next block south, the Milwaukee Theatre originally opened in 1909. The building had fallen into disrepair by the late 90s; a renovation completed in 2003 refurbished the facility and it now boasts a 4,100-seat theatre and, architecturally, a half-domed rotunda lobby ringed by three levels of walkways. Today it hosts a variety of shows. Next door to the Milwaukee Theatre along Kilbourn Avenue is the U.S. Cellular Arena, a 12,700-seat facility that opened in 1950 as the Milwaukee Arena. The original home for the Milwaukee Bucks when they started play in 1968, the Arena now hosts the UW-Milwaukee Panthers basketball team and various concerts and shows. It was also the site of the only Beatles concert in Wisconsin, when the Fab Four played the Arena on September 4, 1964.

On the next block east, Major Goolsby’s is one of the better known sports bars in the country, while on that same block (along Kilbourn Avenue, between 3rd & 4th Streets, 2-3 blocks east of Highway 145), Major League Baseball’s American League came into being in what was the Republican Hotel back in 1900. Today, the city’s major newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, operates here.

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Heading south on 6th Street, the final stretch of Highway 145. The skywalk ahead connects MATC (the Milwaukee Area Technical College) and parking facilities with the Bradley Center.

Highway 145 ends at Wells Street, which is also U.S. Highway 18. The Wisconsin Center, the city’s primary convention center, is to your left; Wells actually continues under it as a two-block long tunnel on its way to the lakefront. The Milwaukee Public Museum is one block to the right along Wells Street. The Museum contains an IMAX Theater and a series of permanent exhibits: natural history and the Streets of Old Milwaukee are prominently displayed, along with a popular butterfly exhibit.

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At Kilbourn Avenue, looking east from Highway 145 reveals the side of the Milwaukee Theatre, with the U.S. Cellular Arena behind it. Further down the street is the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee. Major Goolsby’s and the American League founding site are both across the street from the Hyatt.

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The impressive Milwaukee County Courthouse was completed in 1931 and holds most county offices – and a lot of lawyers.

JUUUST BEYOND THE END…

Although Highway 145 ends at Wells Street, you can continue south on 6th Street to the Harley-Davidson Museum. The epicenter of everything that rocks on two wheels, the museum opened in 2008 and showcases the past, present and future of motorcycles. Harley’s history is traced to its 1903 beginning, the restaurant Motor is a great place for lunch, dinner or evening beverages, and the gift shop has more Harley stuff than previously thought humanly possible.

The Harley-Davidson Museum is located in east end of the Menomonee Valley, which is bisected east-west by Canal Street. Following Canal Street west, away from the H-D Museum, brings you past a power plant and to Potawatomi Bingo Casino, one of the largest casinos in the Midwest and a mecca for Milwaukee gamblers.

One final recommendation, at the southern end of the 6th Street Viaduct, is the Iron Horse Hotel. Opened in 2008, the Iron Horse has rapidly become a popular boutique hotel in Milwaukee, catering to Harley riders, business people, and more recently actors and musicians…it’s become the hip place to stay, drink and eat, both in their bar and at their restaurant, Smyth. The Iron Horse is located 1/2 mile south of the Harley-Davidson Museum at a large roundabout just north of where Highway 38 begins; you can’t miss it!

The southern end of Highway 145 at U.S. 18 (Wells Street) is in close proximity of everything in downtown Milwaukee. Check it all out! We’re happy to help with suggestions, just contact us!

145sbend_800The end of the road for Highway 145, along 6th Street at Wells. To your left will be the Wisconsin Center; to the right, the Milwaukee Public Museum is just a block down. Behind you is the Milwaukee Theatre and the BMO Harris Bradley Center, the heart of the city’s entertainment district. Straight ahead less than a mile is the Harley-Davidson Museum. Less than a mile beyond that is the start of Highway 38, which will take you to Racine. There’s really no end to this stuff!

 

CONNECTIONS
North Terminus:
Can connect immediately to: I-41, U.S. 45
Can connect nearby to: Highway 60, about 3 miles north; Highway 167, about 1 mile south

South Terminus:
Can connect immediately to: U.S. 18, I-43, I-94
Can connect nearby to: Highway 32, about 1 mile east; Highway 38, about 1.5 miles south; Highway 57, about 2 miles northwest; Highway 59, about 2 miles south

144

STH-144 “Slingers, Little Switzerlands, Bends to the West and Random Lakes”

WisMap144_200wQuickie Summary: State “Trunk” Highway 144 is a short drive that takes you between the speedway around Slinger, through downtown West Bend and along eastern areas near Kettle Moraine before connecting with Highway 57 in Random Lake. A good afternoon hop for northern Milwaukee area residents.

Wisconsin Highway 144 Road Trip

The Drive (North to South): Highway 144 begins at the increasingly busy Highway 57 corridor in Sheboygan County and ducks right away into Random Lake (pop. 1,551), first angling past the northwest edge of the 209-acre lake – which is apparently is Random, not specific – and around the north and west sides of the town itself. You can access the heart of Random Lake using several side street turn-offs. The village’s website claims no “fast food”, stoplights, parking meters, billboards or strip malls. And there aren’t may of those for the next several miles, either, as Highway 144 continues west, over the North Branch of the Milwaukee River and to Highway 28, which it joins for the ride into Washington County.

Just past Boltonville (no, it’s not named after Michael Bolton – it was named after Harlow Bolton, their first settler), Highway 28 breaks off and heads west toward Kewaskum, while Highway 144 charges toward the county seat, West Bend. A neat stop, however, would be Lizard Mound County Park. The Park is a prime example of remaining effigy mounds in Wisconsin, built by Native Americans over 1,000 years ago… some date back about 10,000 years. Effigy mounds were typically built over burial pits and often shaped like mammals, birds or reptiles. Considered one of the best preservations of such ancient mounds (there are about 28 of them), Lizard Mound County Park can be accessed via County A, less than one mile east of Highway 144.

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A number of highways become the namesake for roadside bars, and Highway 144 is no exception. Club 144 is located just north of West Bend, right near County A where you can access Lizard Mound County Park.

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Entering West Bend on Highway 144, you’ll encounter the shiny chrome, 50’s decor and rich dairy and diner goodness of Toucan Frozen Custard. A classic stop on a State Trunk Tour-type drive.

West Bend

Shortly after that you enter West Bend (pop. 29,612), the largest city on Highway 144 – and one of the only, for that matter. Highway 144 enters from the northeast as Barton Street, past a series of lakes like Wallace, Lenwood and Allis (144 hugs a lot of lakes from here on out) and joining Main Street (once U.S. 45) for the ride into downtown. West Bend has a beautiful and extensive downtown district. A wide variety of shops, the West Bend Theater and a slew of 19th century brick architecture – several holding notable jewelry stores – await. It’s a great place to spend a chunk of time shopping and just enjoying the day.

Art lovers will take note of the Museum of Wisconsin Art, (aka the “Artist” formerly known as the West Bend Art Museum) (300 S. 6th Ave., 262-334-9638.). The museum as it is now holds a sizeable collection from Carl von Marr and a unbelieveable doll house – seriously. Walter Zinn, who had a malting company way back when, started building a doll house for his daughter Lenore in 1911 for her fifth birthday and just couldn’t stop. By 1957, he had developed a 27-room mansion of a doll house that contains over 1,200 miniature items, including artifacts brought back from overseas trips. On the next block, the Washington County Historical Society (320 S. 5th Ave., 262-335-4678) offers museum fun in their 19th century courthouse and a jailhouse. The Society also operates the St. Agnes Historical Site nearby, which features homestead sites built between 1856 and 1878 that are well-preserved.

Appliance lovers will love the Regal Ware Museum (18 E. Washington Street), located right on Highway 33. Since 1911, West Bend and “suburb” Kewaskum have been meccas for the manufacture of small cooking appliances and utensils. The name “West Bend” has peered out to users of blenders, mixers, and utensil users everywhere for decades. In 2002, Regal Ware (which started in Kewaskum in 1919) took West Bend over and, despite being worldwide conglomerate, continues to manufacture items in the area. So what can be exhibited at such a place? How about the world’s first whistling tea kettle? Or inventions that never quite made it to market, like the electric pizza cutter? Kitchenware products throughout the decades – reflecting everything from elegant styles to fashion eras some may wish to forget – are on display at this new and rather unique museum. Built inside a former credit union, the Regal Ware Museum is the only museum in the nation with an operable drive-thru window. Check out a YouTube video of the museum here, made by somebody we stumbled upon.

At downtown West Bend, Highway 144 turns west along Washington Avenue, hooked up with Highway 33 for the ride through a sea of commercial development and a junction with U.S. Highway 45, which on now on a freeway bypass of the city. West Bend’s growth continues along Highway 144 & 33 to the west toward the turnoff southward where Highway 144 heads south for a nice run along Cedar Lake. At this point, Highway 144 is part of the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive.

Where Highway 144 & 33 cross the "Great Divide," actually the subcontinential divide.

Up the hill from the intersection where Highway 144 splits south from Highway 33 is the “Subcontinental Divide”, designated with a historical marker along the south side of Highway 33, where it’s called the “Great Divide.”

Big Cedar Lake, carved out from what has been described as a “rare glacial force”, this popular 932-acre lake stretches for about 4 miles along Highway 144. Big Cedar Lake has its own Yacht Club and even its own song, a waltz written in 1909. How many lakes can say that? And yes, you can count Lake Superior with that Gordon Lightfoot song.

Just south of Big Cedar is a major crossroads, I-41. Several points of interest lie on the other side, including Held’s, a great place to stock up on Sconnie eats like cheese and beef jerky, Little Switzerland Ski Area, featuring 15 runs and 5 chair lifts; and Slinger Super Speedway, known as the World’s Fastest Quarter Mile Oval.

Slinger Super Speedway has been around in one form or another since 1948 and was paved in 1973. A paved “X” infield allows for Figure 8 racing, and the quarter-mile oval hosts races for stock cars and modifieds of almost all types. Drivers like Matt Kenseth, Dick Trickle, Alan Kulwicki, Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt, Kyle Petty, Ernie Irvan, Sterling Marlin, Ted Musgrave, Rusty Wallace and, well, the list goes on and on.

State Trunk Tour Tidbit:
Little Switzerland Ski Area, named after a neutral nation, opened on December 7, 1941, the same day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that led to U.S. involvement in World War II.
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Always a roaring loud and fun time, Slinger Super Speedway features a variety of races with plenty of action. The surrounding terrain is nice, too.

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Slinger

All of this greets you on Highway 144’s final destination, Slinger (pop. 4,109). Originally called “Schleisingerville” (fer cryin’ out loud), Slinger developed as an outpost village perched at the edge of Kettle Moraine. And as Highway 144 goes into downtown, it’s still part of the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive.

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A old postcard showing Slinger, where Highway 144 ends. Or starts. Depends.

Highway 144's traditional end at Highway 175/Old U.S. 41

Today’s downtown Slinger is marked by the intersection of Highway 175 and Highway 144’s terminus. A lot of fantastic stone construction is evident in the surrounding buildings. Check it out!

Highway 144 may terminate in Slinger, although the road continues south through town to connect with Highway 60 if desired. Meanwhile, Highway 175 will connect south toward Milwaukee and north toward Fond du Lac. Or, you could just relax in Slinger and enjoy it for a while. Remember, State Trunk Touring is about enjoying these towns!

CONNECTIONS
North Terminus:
Can connect immediately to: Highway 57
Can connect nearby to: Highway 32, about 6 miles east

South Terminus:
Can connect immediately to: Highway 175
Can connect nearby to: I-41, about 1 mile north; Highway 60, about 1 mile south; Highway 164, about 1.5 miles southeast

100

STH-100“Milwaukee’s Belt – 3/4 of the way, at least”

 

Wisconsin Highway 100 Road Trip MapQuickie Summary: State “Trunk” Highway 100 runs as the original beltline around Milwaukee County. It’s not a road to follow for adventure in open countryside or getting away from it all, but it does link up a lot of things in the Milwaukee area and provides an interesting tour of the county and its many environments.

Wisconsin Highway 100 Road Trip

The Drive (West To North To East): Highway 100. It was Milwaukee’s official bypass before the freeway bypasses were built. You can go clockwise or counter-clockwise. In this version, we’re going clockwise, from Oak Creek to Bayside. Let’s head out.

Highway 100 begins at Highway 32 right by the massive We Energies Power Plant in Oak Creek (pop. 35,223), which was a township that incorporated as a city in 1955 to keep Milwaukee from gobbling it up. You see, in the 1950s Milwaukee was growing by leaps and bounds and annexed anything that moved – or stood still. Highway 100 becomes Ryan Road and heads past Highway 38/Howell Avenue, which served as the main north-south street for Milwaukee’s grid numbering system. “Downtown” Oak Creek – which isn’t a traditional downtown but a town center still being developed – nicely, I might add – is north via Howell. You’ll find it about one mile north at the intersection with Puetz Road, a road with the distinction of not sounding very good based on its name.

Highway 100 continues west as a major thoroughfare, reaching I-94/I-41 at an interchange offering a wide variety of truck stops, restaurants, and furniture and appliance stores. With all the competition, this just might be the cheapest place to get gas in southeastern Wisconsin; note accordingly. Continuing west to 27th Street you cross Highway 241, which is Historic U.S. 41. This was once the main road from Milwaukee to Chicago – even before U.S. 41’s designation in 1926, when it simply went by its original name of Kilbourn Road (it was also originally Highway 57, which still starts along this street about 10 miles straight north at National Avenue up in Milwaukee.) It was at this intersection where Highway 100 westward originally began and was considered Milwaukee’s official bypass as far back as the 1920’s.

The Painesville Chapel.

Just west of 27th Street/Highway 241 – the original U.S. 41 – is the Painesville Chapel, which dates back to 1852.

At 27th Street, Highway 100 enters Franklin (pop. 32,548), which incorporated in the 1950s like Oak Creek – it contains some of the only remaining active farmland in Milwaukee County. The city keeps gathering honors from magazines like Money, which ranked Franklin #90 on their “Best 100 Places to Live” survey for the U.S. in 2007. That same year, FDi Magazine put Franklin in the “Best Infrastructure Top Five” for Micro Cities in the North American region. Impressed? That probably depends on how many potholes you experience. The highway was recently rebuilt and widened, though, so for several miles that shouldn’t be an issue. Immediately upon entering Franklin along north side of the road is the Painesville Chapel and Painesville Cemetery, which both date back to 1852. Named after Thomas Paine (yes, the Common Sense author), Painesville was a settlement of German “free thinkers.” The Chapel itself, the First Free Congregation in Wisconsin, served as an Army Depot during the Civil War and was used as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Today, the building is very close to the new six-lane configuration of Highway 100.

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Chapped lips? Your solution comes from Franklin.

Past 60th Street, the Milwaukee County Sports Complex provides opportunities for batting cages, basketball court play, volleyball, and outdoor soccer and baseball fields that can be rented. Franklin is the home of NASCAR racer Ted Musgrave and is where Diamond Nexus Labs is located. Why is that of interest? They made the crown for the Miss USA pageant in 2009 – a crown worth $202,000. It’s also the home of Carma Labs, makers of the famous Carmex lip balm.

In southwestern Franklin, Highway 100 leaves Ryan Road and begins to curve northward, taking on a few different street names. It crosses Highway 36 (Loomis Road), where U.S. 45 joins for the ride into Hales Corners.

Hales Corners (pop. 7,765) sprouted up – as its name hints – as a corner intersection of early major crossroads. First settled in the 1830’s, Hales Corners started as a family affair; Seneca and William Hale, two brothers, each claimed 160 acres of land and their father, Ebenezer – a name since dropping down on the list of popular baby names for boys – bought 160 more next door. Their former plots today are located where Highway 100 crosses Forest Home Avenue and Janesville Road (Highway 24). Its location on a series of key crossroads led to development, but it took until 1952 for Hales Corners to formally incorporate as a village.

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The story of Hales Corners turning suburb with the Bosch in the background, a classic tavern that once also once a hotel and stagecoach stop at Highways 24 & 100.

The intersection of Highway 100 and Janesville Road has interesting history. Janesville Road (Highway 24) was part of the Janesville Plank Road dating back to the “plank road” era of the 1850s, where toll roads made of wood planks provided an advanced way for wagons to travel between cities. An electric train debuted at this intersection of what were then two dirt roads in 1903, giving Hales Corners residents a commute to Milwaukee in less than half an hour. The Bosch went up in 1904 as a hotel catering to travelers, complete with a second floor ballroom and a legend of some activities of ill repute occasionally taking place. It continues today as a tavern, its wraparound porch and legends still intact despite being moved back about 150 feet in 2016 to accommodate widening of the road. The electric train ceased operations in 1951, and ever since it’s been one of the busier intersections in the county.

Just past Edgerton Avenue, U.S. 45 leaves for the freeway connection to I-41/I-43/I-894, which it has done since 1966. Prior to that, Highway 100 and U.S. 45 ran together up the west side of Milwaukee County, turning into a major commercial strip for the mushrooming suburbs.

One of the ‘burbs past Hales Corners (once you cross I-43) is Greenfield (pop. 36,720). It was the last city to incorporate in Milwaukee County, moving in that direction in 1957 to stop the Milwaukee from gobbling it up. Greenfield natives include racer Alan Kulwicki, who was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998 (five years after his tragic death in a plane crash near Bristol, Tennessee.) One namesake, Alan Kulwicki Park, lies just east of Highway 100 and Cold Spring Road. And you know those famous ZZ Top videos from the 1980s where three females saved everyone from picked-upon gas station mechanics to shoe store clerks with the help of a magical 1933 Ford coupe? One of them was Greenfield native Jeana Keough (nee Tomasino) – just some good trivia in case “Sharp Dressed Man” comes on your radio.

The girl in the pink top? Yeah, she’s from here.

This stretch of Highway 100 is also called 108th Street and is a busy commercial district, including its stretch into West Allis (pop. 60,411), which was called North Greenfield early on. The establishment of a huge Allis-Chalmers factory in 1902 led to the town changing its name and incorporating as West Allis in 1906; that company dominated manufacturing in the area – and the nation – for decades before closing in 1987. For nearly eighty years, tens of thousands of workers descended on the West Allis plant, as well as other manufacturers in town – some of which are still cranking out products. Hundreds of thousands head to State Fair Park in early August for the Wisconsin State Fair, one of the nation’s leading state fairs. After starting in Janesville in 1851, the Wisconsin State Fair made West Allis its permanent home in 1892. The grounds includes the Milwaukee Mile, the oldest operating motor speedway in the world; it’s hosted most of racing’s legendary drivers at one time or another, from Barney Oldfield and A.J. Foyt to Jeff Gordon and Danica Patrick. The Milwaukee Mile continues to host NASCAR and Indy events, including IndyFest, on its legendary oval. And during the State Fair, you can park on it!

State Trunk Tour Tidbit:
The Green Bay Packers made the infield of the Milwaukee Mile at State Fair Park their home field for Milwaukee games between 1934 and 1951, even playing the 1939 NFL Championship Game there: a 27-0 defeat of the New York Giants, the first shutout in NFL playoff history.

In West Allis, Highway 100 intersects with Highway 59/Greenfield Avenue and then I-94, just past the Quad/Graphics plant that way back when held a drive-in movie theatre. The Zoo Interchange, just to the east, is under a massive reconstruction project and will be through 2017; Highway 100 is part of the “zone” and was recently rebuilt over I-94 and northward for a few miles; it’s also one of the heaviest-traveled non-freeway roads in Wisconsin at this point.

As you cross I-94 and enter Milwaukee (for the first of three times), to the east lies the grounds of the Milwaukee County Zoo, one of the nation’s top-rated zoological gardens. How awesome is this zoo? Over 2,300 animals representing over 330 species make their home here across 200+ acres of naturalized habitat, forest, and a mixture of indoor and outdoor displays. A Safari Train encircles the grounds and provides a fun ride for kids – and grown-ups, for that matter. Name an animal, you’ll find them here – they come from every continent on earth! Highly regarded for their care and conservation program, this is one of the best zoos in the nation, hands down. Just a quick turn east on U.S. 18/Bluemound Road, and you’ll be able to head in and check it out. It’s a State Trunk Tour favorite!

North of the Zoo and U.S. 18, you enter Wauwatosa (pop. 47,000). This area was originally settled by Charles Hart in 1835 and was named “Hart’s Mills” for a mill he built along the Menomonee River. The railroad came through shortly thereafter, as did the Watertown Plank Road, an early toll road (seriously built with planks) that connected Milwaukee and Watertown by 1849. The town – then village, then city – was renamed Wauwatosa, the Potawatomi word for “firefly.” Wauwatosa mixes tree-lined residential neighborhoods, a world-class medical center with the Medical College of Wisconsin as an anchor, a downtown village brimming with shops, restaurants, and historic crossroads, industrial parks, factories, a major regional shopping mall… basically, Wauwatosa has a bit of everything.

Along Highway 100, the Milwaukee County Research Park has become a hotbed for – you guessed it – research and high-tech companies. The Milwaukee County Regional Medical Center lies just to the east along Watertown Plank Road, and you can access Wauwatosa’s village center that way, too.

Highway 100 leapfrogs a major rail line and ducks under I-41/U.S. 45 on its way to Mayfair, one of the most popular shopping complexes in Wisconsin, anchored by a mall that originally opened in 1958 but looks completely different today. Beyond Mayfair and suburban office towers, Highway 100 becomes Lovers Lane (why, we’re not sure) and continues as a six-lane boulevard into Wauwatosa neighborhoods and parkland. Currie Park, just south of Highway 190/Capitol Drive, has an interesting history. Along with a popular dog park and an 18-hole golf course that dates back to 1927, the Currie Park Indoor Golf Dome allows you to swing the wrenches all winter in heated conditions (temperature, not your mood after hitting your balls.)

Currie Park was also the site of Milwaukee County’s first airport. It opened in 1919, being alternately called Butler Airport (for the nearby town of Butler) and Lisbon Field (since Lisbon Road was nearby.) In August of that year, the new airport hosted air pioneer Alfred Lawson’s Lawson Airliner – the nation’s first commercial aircraft – for a demo flight that brought passengers to New York and Washington, DC before returning to Milwaukee in November (you know how delays can be in NY and DC.) Milwaukee’s first airmail departed via Currie Park in 1926, but by then the site had already been deemed to inadequate for anticipated future needs. By the following year, a new site was selected in southeastern Milwaukee County that lives on today as Mitchell International (MKE). It’s hard to imagine an airport ever existed here, but it’s easy to see why the county determined a larger, flatter site had to be found for the area’s future. A historic marker notes this unique history near the clubhouse in Currie Park, within eyeshot of the Dome.

North of Highway 190/Capitol Drive, Highway 100 continues past Hampton to Silver Spring Drive, where it jogs west a few hundred feet to join the Zoo Freeway, a.k.a. I-41 & U.S. 45. It used to continue up Lovers Lane, but that dead-ends now before the freeway, where I-41/U.S. 45/Highway 100 meets up with Appleton Avenue (Highway 175) in an unusual interchange originally built in the 1950s – seemingly before they were sure what they wanted to do with it. You can only access Appleton Avenue to the northwest from the northbound lanes of the freeway, and to the southeast from the southbound lanes of the freeway. Before the advent of I-41, this is where U.S. 41 came in from the city to begin its trek northwest into the rest of Wisconsin. Highway 100 just continues along for the ride, past the twin suburban office towers of Park Place to head northwest briefly into Waukesha County. Why? No idea… it used to leave via Good Hope Road and go up 107th Street. But whatever.

So Highway 100 follows I-41/U.S. 45 past the Highway 145 interchange into Menomonee Falls (pop. 35,626), Wisconsin’s largest “village” – they haven’t gotten around to applying for city status yet. Menomonee Falls occupies the northeastern corner of Waukesha County and serves as corporate headquarters for the Kohl’s Corporation, Magnetek, Cousins Subs, Alto-Shaam, and even Strong Funds before Eliot Spitzer got his hands on them.

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This Model T rotates above several car dealers located along Main Street where Highway 100 leaves the I-41/U.S. 45 freeway to head back east, becoming Brown Deer Road.

To access the Historic Village Centre (yes, that’s how they spell “center”) of Menomonee Falls, follow the Main Street exit/Highway 74 into town. It’s a charming little area of shops and restaurants, and you can actually see the falls along the Menomonee River for which the village is named. It’s pretty small, but cute nonetheless. Meanwhile, Highway 100 also exits the freeway here at Main Street, heading back east. So to continue on Highway 100, this is where you leave the freeway!

With Highway 100, Main Street becomes Brown Deer Road. This beeline back east means Highway 100 is now on the northern part of its “belt” around Milwaukee. We cross Highway 145 again and head back into Milwaukee County and the city of Milwaukee. Until annexed by they city in 1957, this area was the town of Granville. Its legacy lives on with places like the Batzler’s Trackside Inn at 107th Street, which opened in 1968 but has origins going back further; it harkens back to the day when this location was the center of town at the railroad crossing. Their fish fry is quite popular, and a State Trunk Tour favorite. Further east approaching Highway 181/76th Street, what was once Northridge Mall is now called Granville Station, a complex of shops and restaurants serving the area.

Shortly thereafter, Highway 100 enters the street’s namesake, Brown Deer (pop. 12,000), which incorporated in 1955 from the Town of Granville.  CNNMoney ranked Brown Deer 19th nationally on its rankings of “Best Places to Live – Where Homes Are Affordable” in August, 2013. Brown Deer holds the World Headquarters of Badger Meter, an international powerhouse in the world of metering and measuring water, which lies right along Highway 100. Its golf course in Brown Deer Park, just to the south, was once regular PGA stop. Brown Deer was originally settled in 1832, when the post office was called Ten Mile – meaning ten miles north of downtown Milwaukee. The origin of how it changed to Brown Deer is open to speculation – including one story that a deer jumped through a saloon door and broke up a card game in progress (no word on whether that deer ended up mounted on the saloon’s wall.)

State Trunk Tour Tidbit:
There’s this professional golfer named Tiger Woods… ever heard of him? He played his first golf tournament as a pro in Brown Deer Park at the then-Greater Milwaukee Open in 1997.

Brown Deer sprouted up near the Milwaukee River and early railroad lines – which are all still there save one rail line, now part of the right-of-way for the Brown Deer Recreational Trail, a paved bike and walking trail that connects to other major trails in the area, like the Oak Leaf in Milwaukee County and the Interurban in Ozaukee County. This trail follows the path of an old interurban train, which once shuttled passengers between Milwaukee and Sheboygan.

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The original Brown Deer Road here leading from the “Village” ends where the modern-day Brown Deer Road veers away, carrying six busy lanes of traffic with it. But this is clearly the original alignment!

Just off the modern-day intersection with Highway 57/Green Bay Road lies the original village of Brown Deer. Today’s Brown Deer and Green Bay Roads have been relocated for modern-day traffic; their original intersection (now called Deerwood & River) marks the village’s main crossroads, where you’ll find a few original buildings and some more recent ones, such as Zi’s Sports Bar & Eatery – renamed in 2015 after being called Prime Time for decades – which appeared on TV on a (very) short-lived ABC series called A Whole New Ballgame, which featured Corbin Bernsen, Julia Campbell, Tom Kind and John O’Hurley (later of Seinfeld and Dancing With The Stars fame) and set in Milwaukee. The show lasted for like six weeks back in 1995.

One centerpiece of the village from 1884 until 1972 was the Brown Deer School, which on the National Register of Historic Places and now sits just north of Highway 100 in Brown Deer Village Park. It’s that charming “old-school” school – now called the 1884 Little White Schoolhouse – that you can explore as a visitor. Kids can even come in and learn for a day, 19th century style complete with writing on slates.

From Brown Deer, Highway 100 crosses the Milwaukee and makes a beeline across River Hills (pop. 1,607), a tony village of large homes on large lots – you barely see any of them from the road. Incorporated in 1930, there are no businesses in River Hills. Zero. They’re not allowed. However, one cool thing to check out is the Lynden Sculpture Garden, which offers 50 monumental sculptures across 40 acres of woods, lakes, and parkland collected by Harry & Peg Bradley (of Allen-Bradley – now Rockwell International – fame) at their home. They’re open six days a week (not Thursdays) and offer docent-led tours on Sundays. Sculptures on the grounds include those by artists Alexander Archipenko, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Clement Meadmore, Marta Pan, Tony Smith, Mark di Suvero and many others and have drawn art enthusiasts from around the world since Peg started her collection in 1962. Look for for the small sign hanging from a lamppost at the entrance that says “LYNDEN. Harry L. Bradley.”

By the way, the speed limit drops to 35 on this six-lane highway in River Hills. Pay heed, since cops here like to write tickets. This is like the Rosendale of southeastern Wisconsin.

At the east end of River Hills, you reach I-43. Highway 32 heads north along I-43 into Ozaukee County; Highway 32 southbound joins Brown Deer Road here, putting an end to Highway 100. Despite its technical end here, we suggest continuing east into Bayside (pop. 4,389).

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Highway 100 ends where Highway 32 takes over to head east to Lake Michigan before turning south as Lake Drive. This is just over I-43, the major freeway between Milwaukee and Green Bay.

If you keep going east in Bayside via Highway 32, you’ll reach the point where it curves south. There, you’ll find the Schlitz Audubon Center, 185 acres of unspoiled beauty along Lake Michigan with six miles of trails, a variety of nature programs and a 60-foot observation tower that lets you enjoy the lake view as well as the sight of downtown Milwaukee, now about 10 miles to the south. It’s a great and serene place to cap off a little tour of Highway 100. Then, feel free to enjoy a ride south on 32/Lake Drive and check the downtown area of Milwaukee that Highway 100 kept its distance from the whole time!

CONNECTIONS
South Terminus:
Can connect immediately to: Highway 32
Can connect nearby to: Highway 38, about three miles west

North Terminus:
Can connect immediately to: I-43, Highway 32
Can connect nearby to: Highway 57, about 3 miles west; Highway 167, about 3 miles north