Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sparta, Wi. & Owatonna & Sleepy Eye, Mn.

Tue - May 4th

Sparta, Wisconsin claims to be the "Bicycling Capital of America". The statue is of Ben Bikin' on the "Largest Bike in the World" at their tourist information center in the city park.

There are many biking trails in this area and into Minnesota. We stopped at the Deke Slayton Memorial Space & Bicycle Museum in Sparta. Donald K. (Deke) Slayton graduated high school here in 1942. He was one of the first seven Mercury astronauts. I'm not much into astronauts, but they had a lot of his stuff there.

On the main floor they had the usual county history stuff about pioneering and settling, plus antique hats and dresses and this doll collection with Barbies, Kens, Allans, Midges and Skippers.

The bike museum was on the second floor with the astronaut stuff. This bike was ridden by a woman from Sparta in the Ididasport as described in the next photo.

This is an excellent museum.

In the 1890s when ladies bicycling costumes first appeared, men were prone to snickering. High society did not accept such apparel in fancy eateries or hotels. A Chicago man laughed when seeing the bloomers being worn, but the wearer had him arrested and he was fined $10.00 plus costs.

How many of you could keep up with this old duffer. I, for one, am impressed!

This is Louis Sullivan's National Farmers Bank Building, now Wells Fargo Bank, in Owatonna, Mn. It is supposed to be the most beautiful bank in the world. It was built in 1906 and is a National Historic Landmark.

This is the view of and above the tellers as you walk in the front dooor. The ornate clock is the focal point. There is a farm scene mural on each wall, but this one has been partially covered by a balcony they put in for viewing the lobby. There are more than 200 colors in the terra cotta detailing along the ceiling and on the arches above the murals. Terra cotta is a hard, ceramic-like clay.

There are four of these electroliers (electrically lit chandoliers), one in each corner of the lobby. Each one weighs 5,500 pounds and is designed to resemble a blooming flower. The lobby is 60 feet square and 49 feet high and is designed to resemble a giant treasure chest. It is referred to as Sullivan's "Jewel Box".

In 2009 every piece of stained glass was removed and carefully cleaned. The ironwork was repaired and the stained glass windows and skylight were re-leaded.

This shows one of the murals and the office cubicles below it with their trellis work ceilings and built-in lights.

This is a statue of the Indian chief that Sleepy Eye, Mn. was named after. We stopped here and hiked the three mile paved trail around the lake. They have a very nice park by the lake with camping sights.

We are back in our hometown of Brookings, SD. for a couple of weeks, minus a few days over the weekend to spend with our daughter in Sioux Falls. We will be camping with friends over Memorial weekend and then heading north to visit my family, so probably no blogs for a while.

Happy camping,


No comments:

Post a Comment