I have to say, some places I’ve visited in the past year are worth a second glance. Heritage Hill is a historical park that I’ve seen many times, each visit being an enjoyable experience. So, why not one more blog on this regional living museum.
I’ve blogged a December walk through the park late last year. However, it was just a delightful stroll without being able to step inside any of the structures, although you could look through windows. Not to mention, the volunteers who are dressed in period attire were absent. I’ve longed to experience the entirety of this attraction for some time, especially to inspect the interiors of the historic architecture.
So, I set aside a morning to go explore this 50 plus acre site. Some buildings on the plot are reproductions, yet others are the genuine structures that were used so many years ago. From army forts to fur trading cabins, there’s a story particular to Green Bay and the surrounding area.
It’s overcast as I drive to Allouez, a small suburb of Green Bay. As I get closer to Heritage Hill, the saturated clouds burst and unleash a steady down pour. I debate my choice, but I reason I can find shelter in the historical buildings today. So, I press on.
I reach the entrance building and pay the admission fee of $8. For the amount of artifacts and structures, not to mention the volunteers, the fee is quite reasonable. I’m given a map and am sent on my way. Note to those debating a visit, for $7 more the park will actually let you fire a musket. I decide not to do that this day, though it is a great thought for another visit.
The rain has passed as I glance at the panoramic view that is before me, standing tall on the top of the hill. I pass the church, all closed up and not hosting visitors, and make my way to the Fort Howard buildings.
First up, there is a small school house. There are readers, chalk boards and wooden desks. Part of the fort, the school house actually stole a teacher from a near by community to please an officer of the installation.
As the school house is a reproduction, the hospital is an authentic as it gets. It was sent down the river from its original site to where it sits now. Among a kitchen and other functional rooms, there are two wards that each cared for twelve men.
There’s also a guard shack, complete with offices, and a stockade. The other buildings in this area are a company kitchen and officer’s quarters. The history of those who stayed in the officer’s quarters is very compelling. I loved the knowledge of the volunteers in this section, All had a firm grasp of their buildings and the people who lived or worked in them.
Past the buildings of Fort Howard lies a collection of village type buildings. There is a fire house, print shop, blacksmith shop and more. I take a few pictures and glimpse inside these very interesting places of labor and business.
I leave those buildings behind and head for the rustic pioneer buildings, set at the furthest point of the park. At that moment, during the longest walk to any attraction, skies open and a down pour ensues. I reason, ‘it’s only water’ and continue.
Finally, as I’m being drenched, I realize having water logged clothes that cling to your body isn’t that great. So I seek shelter inside the court house. It’s a reproduction built on the site of the first court house in Wisconsin.
The rain lets up a bit and I’m off to the fur traders cabin. The gentleman manning the cabin comments on my damp appearance. I shrug and give a weak smile. As I enter, he points out the furs on a table and asks me to guess the animals they once protected. I get most right but failed on the most obvious, that being the beaver.
As I’m about to leave, it starts raining again, this time even harder. I stay in the cabin for a good while waiting for the rain to subside. finally it lessens, not stops, but lets up enough to be bearable. I check out the bark chapel and head back to the main part of the park.
Another long walk and, yes, the rain is back. So I endure the rather warm precipitation as I make it to the cheese factory and Belgian farm. I really wish they had more info on the factory. It looks cool, but I really don’t know what any of this stuff is for.
The farm is something I’m kind of familiar with. I, and my family, lived in a Belgian farmhouse, amongst the other buildings that comprised the farm. My parents reside in the house to this day. Of course, the interior of my parents home looks nothing like the interior of the one in the park. I check out the summer kitchen and the rest of the buildings. This farm is authentic and came from a community north of Green Bay.
I’m sick of the rain so I’m going home, skipping the Cotton House. It was a decent little stroll, despite the rain. I could have picked a better day however. I do urge those who live in the Green Bay area to check it out. There is a ton of info on the history of the area.