Joe and Nancy

Joe and Nancy
Our Home on Wheels (Click on image above for our web albums.)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Mercury Marine Museum, Fond Du Lac, WI & Milwaukee Soldiers Home National Historic Landmark

The day before (Sept 18) our tour of the Miller Brewing Company in Milwaukee, we toured the small Mercury Marine Museum in Fond Du Lac.  After we toured the Brewery, we drove into the VA Home in Milwaukee which is on a hillside just west of the Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team.  I'll provide a few pics from the VA Home later in this blog.
Founder Carl Kiekhaefer starts Mercury Marine in a converted barn in Cedarburg. He and a dedicated team of boating enthusiasts set out to create the best engine on the water.  Carl Kiekhaefer resigned as President of Kiekhaefer Mercury in 1969, and the name was changed to Mercury Marine. During this time, Mercury produced snowmobiles, like many other companies in the late 1960s. The first ones incorporated a 250 cc two-man chainsaw engine.
His company was able to manufacture items to help support the war effort as well.
The museum is fairly small, but packs a lot of information on the evolution of the Mercury outboard and inboard engines in the marine industry.
I was into a lot of bass fishing in Virginia/North Carolina between 1975-1992 and had several bass boats with Mercury as well as Evinrude and Yamaha outboards.  So, the museum probably meant a little more to me than it did to Brenda and Nancy, but they seemed to be interested in the history and the science and mechanics behind the production and marketing.
That's a wrap of our tour of the museum.  Now for a few pics from the VA Home in Milwaukee.
The Milwaukee Soldiers Home National Historic Landmark District is an invaluable historical asset to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the nation. Established just after the Civil War, this 90-plus acre district rests on the grounds of the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center and represents Milwaukee’s role in furthering veteran care in America. One of only 43 National Historic Landmarks in Wisconsin, it is the most intact Soldiers Home in the country and the only one with the majority of its surrounding recuperative village remaining.
Today, this great historic asset is threatened. In response, a broad-based coalition of civic organizations and leaders has come together to renew and restore this living landmark in a way that rehabilitates and reuses the historic buildings on the site, while providing enhanced services to the veteran community. With wise stewardship, the Soldiers Home can be a place of enhanced services to veterans, commemorating the Civil War and honoring the sacrifice of veterans of all wars.
There were many old buildings in dire need of restoration, including the large gothic-looking structures of the 19th century as well as the many residences of the former doctors and administrators of times past of the Milwaukee Soldiers Home National Historic Landmark. 
 It was a rather melancholy mood we experienced as we drove through the historic grounds.  I just hope there is way money can be raised or appropriated to bring these gems back to life, if not at least preserved and maintained for future generations to witness history.
Well, that about winds up our journey through this blog.  Till the next time, RVing Beach Bums signing off.  This blog written & published from our home in Virgina Beach, VA.