The Wisconsin Veterans Home in King, is truly a remarkable facility, on a beautiful site, and with a wonderful historic story. You need to go and see for yourself. There is no better time than during their annual open house, to be held on May 19, 2013.
Upon moving to Waupaca to open the Apple Tree Lane Bed & Breakfast, we of course had heard about the Veterans Home, but had never been there. Everyone had told us we needed to see it. Not really having an appreciation why, it took going to their annual open house to understand.
Although we certainly enjoyed the little slice of Americana with the old car military vehicles, tours, excursions on the double-decker stern-wheel boat touring the Waupaca Chain O' Lakes, band concerts, food, sun, and ice cream cones, there was so much more we learned, appreciated, and quite frankly, treasured.
The Soldier's Home which was later renamed the Wisconsin Veterans Home, was incorporated in 1887 by the Wisconsin Department of the Grand Army of the Republic. Initially, it was a retirement home for Civil War veterans and their spouses. I heard it termed a "wonderful residential Victorian Village". Over time, it evolved into health care facility and home, and today it cares for approximately 800 of our veteran hero's and their spouses. It operates similar to a small city and boasts its own power plant, public works bureau, fire department, and oh, bowling alley, theater, mini golf and more.
Loving history, nature and architecture, we really enjoyed strolling the grounds. There are five U.S. Registered Historic Places in King alone. Digging into the history prior to going was fun. The old Greenwood Park Hotel, 1883, and the Chain's first summer resort, became Marden Hall and today, the building has been replaced by a new Marden Hall Recreation Center. The Veterans Cottages Historic District is comprised of white cottages, chapel, and other buildings located on 5 acres of park-like setting and built between 1890-1925. Some are examples of the Queen Anne design and some Neo-classical styles. Of course, there are many other buildings, both existing and no longer standing, that all have a story...
Whether you come to Waupaca and stop to see the Veterans Home or see if from afar as you are on the Chain 'O Lakes, give a thought and a prayer to the many hero's who have fought for our freedom.