Amid the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, my travel has been put on hold - as is the case for many people. But more time at home has provided a great opportunity to 'revisit' some of my favorite spots across the U.S.
At Henschel's Indian Museum & Trout Farm, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, fishing enthusiasts enjoy a quiet, peaceful environment at their Hidden Springs Trout Farm. Two spring-fed ponds are full of fish, which the family sells by the pound. They also offer filet services and will package caught fish, on ice.
However, our group of history buffs focused on the museum and adjacent grounds. A fifth generation of the Henschel family currently runs the operation, and members of the family's 7th generation have also lived here. Earlier generations of the family lived with members of the Ojibwe, Potawatomie, Winnebago, Menominee and Ottawa tribes for approximately two decades.
Today the Henschel collection is one of the most complete in Wisconsin, demonstrating evidence of more than 10,000 years of human presence. From chipped, bone and ground stone tools to projectile points, to copper implements, and pottery this tiny museum is packed with treasures - many of which were found loose on the property. Other items come from the immediate vicinity and/or loan.
During our visit a glass case displayed turquoise and sterling jewelry alongside small pieces of pottery and a massive dream catcher hung beside the window. Across the room open trays displayed animal bones beside stone chips and flakes from making arrowheads.
Tutorial signs described the healing benefits of holding raw stones and seven distinct historical periods related to indigenous peoples. Another sign stated, "The most important thing in life is your relationship with the Great Spirit."
The owner’s great-grandfather once stumbled upon 2 ½ feet of skeletons, when his horse fell into what looked like a ‘hole.’ Actually an Indian mound that is likely 2,000 years old, it housed 45 skeletons 'sitting' around an enormous conch shell that measured 21 inches long and 29 inches in circumference. Stone walls and white oak logs are in the lower chamber, which may date back more than 2,000 years.
The family has since built a representation of this ancient mound, to share with visitors. After a Native American named Rolling Thunder blessed the site, a 1996 dig uncovered the state's oldest Red Ochre burial site here, too. The team also found two cremation pits and a ‘turkey tail’ used to fan smoke in blessing.
Located near the resort area of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, Henschel's was a completely unexpected and intriguing spot to spend an afternoon. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children.
out and Rainbow Trout.
Fish anytime of the year—without a license. You won’t go away empty handed from here.