Wednesday, September 28, 2011

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 172: Rolling Prairie, Wisconsin

I've been posting old family photographs from my collection on Wednesdays, but now I want to post some current photographs.  This is not a wordless posts like others do - I simply am incapable of having a wordless post.

On Day 10 of the Seaver Family History Mystery Tour two weeks ago, we stopped in Rolling Prairie, dodge County, Wisconsin.  This is where the Four-Mile Inn was built in 1853 by my third great grandfather, Ranslow Smith.  The Inn was located here until it was purchased and moved to Old World Wisconsin in about 1980.  The 1859 plat map of Dodge County indicates that the Inn stood on the southwest corner of Smith Street (now County Road I, which runs north-south) and Beaver Dam Road (now Prospect Road, which runs east-west).  This intersection was about 200 yards north of the railroad tracks that were installed in about 1856.   I wanted to visit the original site of the Inn and see the "sights" of Rolling Prairie.

We traveled north up County Road I until we crossed the railroad tracks that were just south of Prospect Road (an east-west road).  The road curves as it approaches Prospect Road.  The photo below was taken from just south of the railroad tracks looking north along County Road I. 

There is a two-story building that sits at an angle to the road on the north side of the railroad tracks, about 50 yards north of the tracks.  This building is currently a tavern, and it may have been a tavern back in the 1850s after the railroad came through in 1856.  It may have been built then as a train depot, but was probably modified or rebuilt several times over the years. 

Here is your intrepid researcher trying to enter the tavern at about 9 a.m. on a Thursday morning:

The outer door opened, but the inner door into the tavern was locked.  Linda took the picture above.  Look at the green sign and the red sign.  The green sign says "Rolling Prairie, Population Varies."  The red sign says "Wisconsin Spoken Here." 

The proprietor of the tavern must have heard us outside, since he came out soon after I tried to open the locked inner door.  I explained my mission, and he said that he had lived there for about 20 years, and didn't know of any "old-timers" around the area who might recall the Four-Mile Inn that stood about 100 yards up the road. 

There were a number of homes, which seemed to have been built in the past thirty years, on both sides of  County Road I.  I took a picture of the southwest corner of County Road I and Prospect Road:

The grassy area in front of the house is where the Four-Mile Inn was located before 1980. 

Here is a picture of the current Four-Mile Inn building taken at Old World Wisconsin:

I can visualize this building sitting on the corner of County Road I and Prospect Road, can't you?  I also have the 1930 picture of the Inn which I'll share in a future post.


Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

Love it. Thanks for sharing. Mid-western bias, so, thanks, again! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I remember the house sitting on the corner before it was moved. My father Edward Kenitzer had a feed warehouse to the right by the railroad tracks(see road in picture) Beyond the warehouse was a stockyard ran by Goerge Hickey and shipped livestock there every Monday. A never married man by the name of Kockie Naffin worked for him. He and his housekeeper, Minnie lived in the house for years. My knowledge of this was in the forties. I went to college in Sept 1950 but my father had his business into the later fifties. I was born in Beaver Dam in 1932. My grandparents, William Kenitzer and uncle, Max Kenitzer lived in Rolling Prairie. My father left to go to Beaver Dam in 1928. I never was in the house but remember staying in the car while my father went inside. Koxie was an interesting person himself. Merlin Kenitzer 3488 Field Crest Ct. Beloit, WI 53511

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the information and photos. Our ancestors worked in the Rolling Prairie area c 1867 on farms until they were able to buy their own

I think a lot of the farms were owned by Yankees and advertised in the German and Polish areas. Unfortunately I have not found any specific documents regarding this idea on their immigration.

Any information concerning early Rolling Prairie is appreciated.

Lori said...

I lived there from 1970-1980. My parents bought the Hammer farm. From the tavern it would be the first place on the right going south. Rhode, Bartholomew,Lynch,Gubin,Strauss,Foster. We're some of the names back then. Rhode being the oldest. The bar was Harry's tap until Bob Keikaffer bought it.