Friday, January 30, 2009

Below Zero But Still Beautiful!

I went out to take some pictures a few days ago and the wind chill was so bad that I kept having to get out of it in between shots. I was bundled up with hat, scarf, mittens, boots and a heavy coat but the chill easily penetrated everything. Just above my boots my legs felt as though they were burning from the cold and, indeed, they were very rosy when I was finished photographing.

Still, it was a gorgeous day and I couldn't keep from capturing some winter scenes for these pages.

The Crystal River looks so much different now than in the summer with bare trees and banks of snow and ice framing it. There is a lot of open water near the portage where the river runs down a small drop and is diverted for the mill race. If not for that, I'm sure there would be a thick coating of ice from one bank to the other.

The first three pictures were taken from on top of the bridge by the portage on old state highway
22 - now the corner of Main Street and Cleghorn Road across from The Weller Store.

The last picture is a tease. I couldn't resist taking several shots of the Radley House that day. It is so much easier to get photos of this wonderful house when the trees are bare. It is encircled by black walnut trees that partially obscure the building from view during the other seasons.

I will publish more photos of this house and some of the architectural details in a future blog.

Stay warm and stay tuned...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Winter Wonderland

No matter how much we complain about the long and cold Wisconsin winters we have to admit that it's beautiful here any time of the year.

Looking out my front door

Looking out my back door

Still, it's hard not to wish for warmer temperatures, sunny days, boating on the Chain, picnics in the park...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

"Downtown" Rural - summer of 2008

On a snowy day like today I just can't help thinking about how wonderful it is here in the summer.

I keep telling myself that the days are already getting longer.

Can't you just imagine sitting on the front porch with a tall glass of lemonade?

Visit our website!

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Weller Store

The Rural Store - currently The Weller Store - is the oldest retail building in the village of Rural.

The Rural Store was originally a carpentry shop, built in 1898 over the Crystal River mill race by Mr. Herbert Radley across the road (old Hwy 22) from it's current location. It is said that the building straddled the river so that the current could provide power for the lights and equipment used in the shop. The original color of the structure was red with white trim.

Above is the first known photograph of the carpentry shop and its builder , taken in the spring of 1901. You can see the building raised on stilts over the water.

In 1906, Radley moved the carpentry shop from the river to dry land across the road from its original location. The building was altered slightly and repainted. It then became the general store.

Radley and his infant son, Howard, (in the buggy) are shown at left circa 1906.

Charles Weller stands in front of The Weller Store in this undated photo.

Robert Weller, Sr., Charles' son, is pictured at the storefront after a truck ran off the highway and crashed into the cement in front of the store.

After State Highway 22 was rerouted the gasoline business dropped off drastically. Eventually the pumps were removed. The change in traffic affected the business in a negative way but allowed the village to retain its unique character and beauty.

In the mid-1960s the building was moved slightly to the east and an adjoining cement block structure was built by Robert Weller, Jr. The Wellers continued to operate the grocery store in the new building while renting out the original building to other retail businesses. The Weller Store is well known throughout the area for 25 cent ice cream cones and locally bottled Ting soda.

The original building as it appears today.

Re-opened in the spring of 2008 by Robert Weller, Jr and Eileen Schwanke, The Weller Store now features antiques, collectibles, original art, ephemera, baskets, tools, - all things vintage from every era. Visit our website (still under construction) for a peek at some of the merchandise!

The Village of Rural

Yes, there really is a place named "Rural" in Wisconsin!

Located near Waupaca and the beautiful Chain-O'-Lakes, it is one of the few "Yankee Villages" in the Midwest. It's not too far off the beaten path of State Highway 22 but once you get here you will think you traveled far into the past. Many of the buildings in the village were built during the 1800s in the style of their Yankee owners from New England and are listed in the National Registry of Historic Places.

The beautiful Crystal River winds its way lazily through the center of the village and among the quaint homes. Canoes and tubes that began their trip at the Chain-O'-Lakes negotiate a small portage across the street from the Weller Store. Wellers rents some of those real old fashioned rubber inner tubes for only a few dollars a day if one wants to take a shorter trip downstream.

There are also some good spots for fishing along the river bank or on the bridges. There's even a small waterfall where Great Blue Herons like to fish!

Come and visit us if you're ever in Central Wisconsin!