Wisconsin Towns on the Mississippi
The Mississippi River carves its way through some of the greatest scenery in America, providing an escape from the everyday routine. There are many opportunities to connect with this great river, follow sandy shores and wooded bluffs, and watch fully loaded barges and paddle boats travel through the locks.
Genoa, Wisconsin was a regular port for steamboats and an important avenue for railroads. Over 2,000 small pleasure boats, from canoes to cabin cruisers, and hundreds of river barges pass through this Lock and Dam annually. The pool above the dam is ideal for all forms of water recreation. Two clamshell button factories existed in Genoa in the early 1900's, and the highly-prized pearls from the clams funded many houses in the river towns. A pearl, nearly an inch in diameter, was found nearby in 1903 and ended up in the crown jewels of England.
Ferryville, Wisconsin began life as "Humble Bush" but became Ferryville when ferry service across the river was established in the mid-19th century. The village is at the foot of beautiful bluffs that rise some 600 feet above the mighty Mississippi. Ferryville is at the rivers edge and is an excellent area for hunting, fishing and water sports. An observation deck offers a beautiful view across Lake Winneshiek, a widened area of the river formed by the Lynxville dam. From first weekend in May through the last weekend in October there is an open-air market in Sugar Creek Park, with vendors featuring garden plants, home made preserves, antiques, and Amish craft items. The park has camping facilities, electric hookup, lavatories, and playground equipment.
Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin is Wisconsin's second oldest city. Established by French voyageurs in the late 17th Century, the city is located near the confluence of the Wisconsin River and the Mississippi River. Today Prairie du Chien is noted because of its five National Historic Landmarks and its nine sites on the National Register of Historic Places. In the summer, the Prairie Villa Rendezvous attracts tens of thousands of visitors. Nearby, Wyalusing State Park is one of Wisconsin's oldest and most beautiful state parks. It is the only park where the campground is 500 feet above the Mississippi River. The overlook is so high, that during the summer months it is possible to look down on soaring turkey vultures!
In Cassville, Wisconsin, the Cassville Car Ferry connects two National Scenic Byways; the Great River Road and the Iowa Great River Road. The ferry served the early settlement as far back as 1836 and it continues today, making the same trip back and forth across the mighty Mississippi. It is the oldest operating car ferry in the state of Wisconsin. During the eighteen hundreds, visitors would take dinner cruises to Cassville that culminated with a dance in the Denniston House ballroom.You can still see one of the mooring rings almost directly across from the Denniston House.