Wisconsin Life # 603: “By Land or By Sea”

September 27, 2018


Wisconsin Life host Angela Fitzgerald hops onboard a Door County Trolley in Egg Harbor for a tour of the lighthouses in the area. She makes a stop in Baileys Harbor and takes a tractor ride across water to the Cana Island Lighthouse.

This Door County Trolley isn’t far from home. We next head to Crandon where this trolley along with many others are made. The trolleys may be made in northern Wisconsin, allowing employees to snowmobile to work, but most trolleys are sent elsewhere and used for transportation in vacation spots around the country. Kristina Pence-Dunow, the owner of Hometown Trolley, says happy employees make a happy product and works to create a family atmosphere on all levels of the business. Building two to three trolleys a week, Pence-Dunow keeps busy as her company continues to grow.

We then make our way to Lake Winnebago where Bob Stark found his passion for the water at age ten. Bob now has a specific passion for the locks on Lake Winnebago, the Fox Locks. These locks were the state of Wisconsin’s first public works project and were built in 1850. To this day, they are hand operated. Boats of all shapes and sizes make their way through the locks, entering at one water level and exiting at another. The total drop after going through the entire locks system is about 170 feet. Bob explains that drop is about the height of Niagara Falls. He continues to help preserve the lock system so future generations can enjoy the locks as a living museum for years to come.

Bob Keiper and Gary Eldred are flintknappers. They use ancient techniques to turn rocks into stone tools like knives or arrowheads. But first they must find the right kind of rock, and that leads them to Hixton, Wisconsin. Knapping is a German word meaning: “To break stone.” Keiper and Eldred travel all over the country to knap with other knappers, sharing stories and stones from years of knapping. They have been knapping for 40 years and have no plans to stop. The discoveries they find keeps them coming back for more.

There is a lot of history to be dug up by the flinknappers, but above ground there is history to be found. The UW Glass Lab is a historic one: it’s the first collegiate glass program in the country. Founded in 1962 by ceramics professor Harvey Littleton, it jump-started the studio glass movement in America. Helen Lee, a master glassblower who teaches at the UW Glass Department, has a unique relationship with this form of art. Lee grew up bilingual, speaking English and Chinese. She works with molten glass using fluid movements. These movements mirror her movements between languages, expressing this in her pieces.


Sign Up Form

Sign Up for Our Bi-Weekly Newsletter

Get your favorite Wisconsin Life stories, meet the crew, and go behind the scenes.