Glimpse: Mineral Point, Wisconsin

  • An outcropping of sandstone with mineral striations.

Mineral Point, 50 miles southwest of Madison, Wisconsin, is one of those off-the-beaten-path places worth the drive. It was born in the early 1800s when miners found lead near the surface and started digging. They lived in caves dug out of the hills, called “badger holes,” which gave Wisconsin its nickname as “The Badger State.” When deeper mines were needed and zinc was discovered, experienced miners from Cornwall, England, arrived. By the mid-1800s, the Cornish masons were constructing stone buildings out of the local golden limestone. When the mines went bust, the buildings fell into disrepair and were being demolished. In 1935, two men, Bob Neal and Edgar Hellum, began acquiring and restoring the buildings. Artists flocked to the city in the ‘60s and stayed to open galleries and studios. And in ‘71, the city was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can also visit the town’s train depot, one of the few surviving pre-Civil War in the United States and the oldest surviving structure of the Milwaukee Road. Here’s a glimpse.

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