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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Peshtigo Historical Days at Badger Park - Sept 2008

(this is one of series of posts of various campgrounds we have been to over the years... I am going through my files in alphabetical order and posting past camping trips in my blog.... something to do over this long long winter---- sigh)

I know that the name of this park begins with a B....  but I had it in my files under Peshtigo, which is the city where it is located.  This is the next town up the highway from us, about 20 miles.

Peshtigo is famous for a huge fire, that happened the same night as the famous Chicago Fire of 1871.   There is a fire museum (link below)  that we have been to a few times.  The fire was so bad and so extensive, it burned wayyyy down south to even where our house is located now.  Only the tallest white pines along our river survived the fire.   Here is what the website says about the fire:

On the evening of October 8, 1871 the worst recorded forest fire in North American history raged through Northeastern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, destroying millions of dollars worth of property and timberland, and taking between 1,200 and 2,400 lives.
The great Midwestern city of Chicago also happened to endure a terrible fire that same fateful night, and for whatever reasons -- an irresistibly charming legend about a cow and a lantern among them -- the Chicago Fire became part of the national consciousness while the Peshtigo tragedy gradually slipped into obscurity, eventually remembered primarily by scholars, local "old-timers" and Wisconsin school children (who are required to study their state's history in the 4th grade).
In recent years America's "forgotten fire" has proven to be anything but. The tragedy is a subject of inquiry and debate among meteorologists, astronomers and conservationists. It has been dramatized by novelists and playwrights. It continues to fascinate history buffs and frustrate genealogists.

Peshtigo holds an annual Historical Days Festival in their town, which included a horseshoe pitching tournament.  Steveio LOVES to pitch horse shoes.  So we got hold of some friends, Eric and Angel, with their two boys to join us for some camping!  Eric and Steve make a dynamo team at shoes, and are both very good.

We called up to make camping reservations and got the very last site in the park... ack!   It was in the front row which is the sunnier area of the park, which is great for folks with satellite dishes, but we would have preferred to be back in further by the tall trees and closer to the back.  As folks came to attend the festival, they started parking their cars, as places in the park filled up, they began parking inside the campground, willy nilly all over.  We were surrounded by cars!  They parked right up tight to our camper and even to Eric and Angel's tent!   Oh well, next time we know we should make reservations earlier.

Campground rates:  50 Campsites with Electricity ($18/night, $115/week, $200/two weeks, $400/ one month, $720/two months, $900/three months, $1,050/four months, $1,125/five months & $1,250/six months).   The dump station is on a weird back-in position by the shower house.   Here is some more information on the park itself.

 Badger Park

   Contains over 57 acres of land for recreational use: playground, beach, trailer and camping sites with electrical hook-ups, and modern restroom facilities. Located at the north end of Emery Avenue on the Peshtio River.  An exciting new addition to Badger Park is "Badger Boardwalk". This huge, 10,000 square foot playground/recreation area draws children from miles around, to swing, crawl, climb, and play on its many fun rides and activities. "Badger Boardwalk" was very much a community-wide project, drawing volunteers from the very young to senior citizens into the design, planning, and construction of the project. The playground was built completely with donated funds, and it is freely available for use by anybody. Come and have some fun with your family!

Then there is also the Peshtigo Fire Museum

   Housed in the firest church built in Peshtigo after the fire of October 8, 1871. Exhibits depict our area's past, Guided tours available. Open from Memorial weekend to October 8, hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Over 17,000 registered guests annually. Free admission. Donations accepted.
Peshtigo Fire Cemetery

   Contains the graves of many persons who lost their lives in the fire of October 8, 1871. A mass grave contains the remains of several hundred unidentified persons and a monument is erected to the 800 persons who died in the holocaust. The cemetery is located on Oconto Avenue.

We got up there on Friday and set up on our campsite. It was more crowded than we like, but heck, it was only for a weekend.  Plus, it is a park located within city limits, so it is to be expected.  

Angel and Eric came and pitched a tent the next morning before the event started.  The guys were excited to play shoes, and got all signed up in the tournament. Angel signed up too for the second round, as she pitches too.  I kept an eye on the boys, plus Heather and Jesse came up with litlte Jameson,  and later Erin and Mark came too.   

Besides the horseshoes, they had a big parade, a centennial reenactment, a craft festival, live music all day and into the night, a bunch of big blow-up bouncy toys for kids, and lots of food vendors and beer tents.  The park itself has a huge wooden playground structure that kept the boys busy for hours.  All within the park location, so it was easy to walk back and forth to various features and back to the RV to rest or check on the dogs. 

Steveio and Eric kicked butt on the tournament and won first place in the first round and second place in the second round.  Angel got paired up with a new guy who didn't ever throw shoes before in his life, and imbibed on enough beer to make his throws pretty dangerous-  even to the surrounding spectators!   

ahhhhh my Steve... such form.... such grace.... such finesse......
visiting with jameson at badger park (2)

Travis and Jacob were very happy to have something to do while the folks were pitching shoes...    They made best buddies with our dogs and we had a great time walking about the grounds.  (see all the cars parked in right in front of our rig? that was by Eric and Angel's tent, and they were also parked tight along the drivers side of our motorhome too)

  visiting with jameson at badger park (1)

Sunday morning, the boys came into our camper early to have breakfast and let their parents sleep. They were disappointed that our TV didnt bring in their favorite cable tv shows, just our few local stations on antenna.   They had a hard time understanding that concept. I had bought those fun little boxes of cereal so they could choose their own flavors.  It was fun to spoil them a bit.  We also cooked out each day on the grill, and did the some-mores and treats around the campfire too at night.

visiting with jameson at badger park (12)

Sunday morning we went for a nice long walk with the dogs, down by the river that borders the campground on the north side.  There were geese all over and that means geese poop all over too.  So we had to stay on the gravel road and not go into the grass.   We also found a huge wasp nest so steered clear of that too.    It was a nice morning, and their parents got to sleep in a bit while the boys were under supervision. A mini-vacation for them too.
 visiting with jameson at badger park

The boys played lots of arcade games and midway games, and still had some coupons leftover for redeeming into prizes.  I think they went through a pile of money from the parents, asking at different times from each parent so the other parent didn't know they had already gotten money!  Stinkers!
  visiting with jameson at badger park (8)

When Heather came to visit with little Jameson, the boys thought he was pretty cool.... and little Jacob even held him and got to know all about babies.   Good training for being good daddies themselves some day.

 visiting with jameson at badger park (4)visiting with jameson at badger park (5)

 visiting with jameson at badger park (7)

Erin and Mark came up too, and spend the night with us.... It was fun to have wee ones in our camper in the morning!  The first of many times that Jameson has slept in our motorhome....   now to get the new granddaughters to come this year.  I don't think that will be a problem!
visiting with jameson at badger park (11)

So that was it for a weekend in the big little town of Peshtigo...


  1. The history of that fire is so sad!So many people gone and the lower states never even knew!!
    It sounds like a park and museum that would be nice to visit.
    Walker Loves to play Horseshoes also. We use to carry our set when we camped out with the family..I need to go find them and put them in the trailer.
    I remember taking those little boxes of cereal camping in the tent.They are also great to snack on..lol

    Question..how many men's t-shirts does it take to make the rugs you showed recently?

    Hugs friend..Cindy from Tx

  2. Yah. it's sad. More people died in the Peshtigo fire than the Chicago fire. If it wasn't for the Govenor's wife finding out and sending aid, more folks would have perished from the after effects and cold that set in.

    Tshirts weave up cool in colorful bands of knit fabric into a long wearing rug. I would say about 10 tshirts per running foot of a rug. So if a 3 ft rug were desired, about 30 tshirts. If you are thinking of having me weave one, you can send me freshly laundered Tshirts and I will do the rest. I charge $1 per running inch plus shipping to send it back.


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