24 Highway-Friendly Historical Stops in Wisconsin

Consider these popular historical stops on your next Wisconsin road trip. 

HazelWood Historic Home MuseumGreen Bay: Built in 1837 overlooking the Fox River, it was home to three generations of the Morgan L. Martin family. Martin’s career as politician, businessman, lawyer and judge spanned 60 years.

DePere Historic Home District, DePere: This five-block residential district parallels the Fox River and contains homes in Greek revival, Italianate, American Foursquare, Queen Anne, Second Empire, Colonial Revival and Bungalow architectural styles.

Pinecrest Historical Village, Manitowoc: On 60 acres in the Kettle Moraine, the village houses 25 historic buildings and exhibits that interpret farm and village life during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Cedarburg Historic District, Cedarburg: German immigrants and their ability to harness Cedar Creek to power early industry are showcased in the architecture, craftsmanship and materials.

St. Josaphat Basilica, Milwaukee: The grandest church in Wisconsin and the only Basilica, an honor granted by the Catholic Church for its structure.

Old World Wisconsin, Eagle: A vision from the past on a 600-acre setting as found by the frontier Wisconsin settlers. America’s largest outdoor museum of rural life, it includes 69 historical buildings peopled by farmers, craftsman, and townspeople.

Lincoln Tallman Restorations, Janesville: Built between 1855 and 1857, this 26-room Italian villa depicts upper class life during the mid to late 1800’s.

Hawks Inn Living Museum, Delafield: Learn about the lifestyle of travelers in the 19th century at this Greek revival inn. Built in 1846, it was a center of social and political life.

Mineral Point Historic District, Mineral Point: Contains over 500 structures and was the first to be a National Register of Historic Places. It contains federal, arts and crafts, Italianate, Victorian, and Cornish stone cottages built in the 1840’s.

Mining Museum, Platteville: Dioramas, artifacts, and photographs trace the development of lead and zinc mining. Tour includes a descent into the 50-foot deep Bevans Lead Mine.

Dickeyville Grotto, Dickeyville: The shrines are the works of Father Mathias Wernerus from 1918-1931. He used stone, mortar, and bright colored objects collected from all over the world to create objects that represent his love of God and his country.

Fox-Wisconsin Portage Site, Portage: Pierre Marquette and Louis Joilet recorded using the portage in 1673. By the 1780s it became a site for fur trading. Native Americans controlled the site until the Treaty of 1828.

Surgeons' Quarters in Fort WinnebagoPortage: Used from 1828-1845, it’s the only remaining building of Fort Winnebago. Soldiers built the fort in a chain of three forts along the Fox-Wisconsin waterway.

Mercer Depot Museum, Mercer: Built in 1905, houses railroad memorabilia.

Continental Divide, Hurley: This geological demarcation line splits northern Wisconsin. North of "The Divide," rivers flow to Lake Superior. These waterways are full of rapids and waterfalls, making river travel impossible. To the south, navigable rivers run south to the Mississippi River. Travelers on the Flambeau Trail had to cross the rugged landscape until the "Divide," where they could paddle the navigable river ways to Lac du Flambeau.

Fort McCoy Commemorative Area, Fort McCoy: Founded in 1909 by the U.S. Army, played a major role in military missions and is still a key player today. Tour WWII buildings, history center and the Equipment Park.

Paul Bunyan Logging Camp, Eau Claire: This museum features an interpretive center and a building from the 1900s logging era including bunkhouse, cook shanty, heavy equipment building, blacksmith shop and barn.

Mabel Tainter Theater, Menomonie: Built in 1889 by lumber baron Andrew Tainter and wife, Bertha, as a memorial to their daughter. This theater is one of America’s top historic sites and offers hand-carved woodwork, bronze cast opera seats and a Steere and Turner pipe organ.

Historic Hudson, Hudson: This tour begins at the toll bridge across the river linking Hudson to Minnesota. Many of the buildings in Hudson were built between 1860 and 1880 and include the “grand dames” of Hudson historic homes.

While you're on the road, be sure to visit these state historic sites:

Heritage HillGreen Bay: Heritage Hill is a living history museum operated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The 48-acre park-like setting contains 25 furnished, historic buildings grouped into pioneer, small town, military and agricultural theme areas.

Wade House, Greenbush: Return to a time when the horse and buggy ruled the road. At Wade House you’ll walk the same halls where plank road travelers sought shelter and sustenance. This stately inn, built by New England Yankees Sylvanus and Betsey Wade, anchored the sleepy village of Greenbush.

Circus World Museum, Baraboo: Baraboo is the birthplace of the world-famous Ringling Brother Circus. Today the museum encompasses fifty acres of circus history. Visitors will enjoy performances of world-class aerialists, animal acts and clowns under a canvas Big Top.

Villa Louis, Prairie du Chien: On a Mississippi River plain where explorers roamed, fur traders haggled, soldiers battled, and crafty entrepreneurs forged a frontier fortune stands a magnificent Victorian mansion called Villa Louis.

Stonefield Village, Cassville: Visit the former estate of Wisconsin’s first Governor, Nelson Dewey, whose home site still remains. Bounded by the Mississippi River on one side and towering bluffs on the other, it was given the name “Stonefield” by Dewey.

Looking to travel through more of the past? Check out Wisconsin's top 25 historical sites, and discover more history and heritage in our directory.