Whitewater, Wisconsin

History and Culture of Whitewater, Wisconsin

Whitewater is designated a Preserve America Community (one of only 15 in the State) as well as a Main Street Community–this speaks volumes about our town’s commitment to preserving our heritage.

Begin by requesting a copy of Touring Historical Whitewater from the Whitewater Tourism Council. This free guide lists 77 locations throughout Whitewater of historical significance and contains photos as well as a detailed map.

Whitewater’s Historic Train Depot was designed in 1890. In 1852 it was the first rail line to cross Wisconsin. The depot’s scenic location on Cravath Lake makes this a must see and is open weekly as a museum. Call ahead as hours vary seasonally. Free admission.

Nestled in the middle of town is a collection of effigy mounds. Studies suggest that these mounds were a gathering place for several Midwestern Native American Tribes. Geometric and animal shapes range from 60 to 300 feet and were built between 800 A.D. and 1200 A.D. Look for The sign along the main drive through the Indian Mounds subdivision.

Pack a lunch and head just a couple minutes outside of town to Whitewater’s Artesian Well. Hand dug in 1895 it has continued to flow ever since. On the way back, consider a stop at the Fuzzy Pig to peruse an interesting selection of gift items and antiques in a unique setting.

Interested in Civil War Memorabilia? Part museum, part shop, Lodgewood Manufacturing in downtown Whitewater carries a wide range of items including period clothing, weaponry, documents and medals. Well informed staff can answer all your questions. Call ahead as hours of operation can vary.

Whitewater train station, pond between trees, water flowing from rock

Situated in the bluffs of the Kettle Moraine overlooking Whitewater Lake, Heart Prairie Lutheran Church proudly stands surrounded by a pioneer cemetery. Built around 1857 by Norwegian pioneers, Norwegian was spoken exclusively in the church until 1902. The grounds can be viewed from the outside daily or you can take in a service during the months of June-August. Services are held Saturday at 5pm and Sunday at 8am. Special oil lamp services are also held at 8:30pm the last Sunday of the summer months. Views of the lake can be seen from the pews. Parking is limited so arrive early.

Minutes from Whitewater you will find Old World Wisconsin and Hoard Museum. Old World is truly history come alive where a world has been re-created in which farmers, tradesmen and shopkeepers lead their lives the same way these settlers did. Bring the whole family to see, hear and smell the same things that filled the senses of those hardy souls who chose to build new lives in a faraway place called Wisconsin. Plan to spend the day. A local history museum with a big story to tell, the Hoard Museum is like no other. Here you’ll meet the Sauk warrior Black Hawk and hear the story of the 1832 Black Hawk War. Find out what kind of soldier young Abraham Lincoln was and learn how “Fort Atkinson” came to be. Visit website for hours of operation.

Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne are widely considered the greatest acting team in the history of American theater. The Lunts’ passion for excellence and commitment to the art of live theater was legendary, even at the beginning of their careers. Summer after summer, the Lunts came to Ten Chimneys to retreat, relax, and rejuvenate. Ten Chimneys is a landmark unique among our national treasures. Ten Chimneys’ diverse collections and enchanting décor are comprised of the original pieces hand-picked by the Lunts in the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s. And the magic is undiminished. Located only 24 miles from Whitewater, Ten Chimneys is a must see for the true history buff.

Cows in pasture, road leading through forest, fall foliage reflected in lake

Hamilton House

Soak up local History 24/7 by staying in one of Whitewater’s Historic Bed and Breakfasts. Hamilton House provides superior lodging and a history all their own. Helpful innkeepers are quick to answer any questions you may have and may offer up a few surprises.Lodging at the Hamilton House inn, you will be nestled in the heart of Whitewater. You can stroll the downtown shops and dine in a number of restaurants. Enjoy the Fireside Dinner Theater, The Irvin L. Young Auditorium or one of many University of Wisconsin cultural events.

Front view of Hamilton House Bed and Breakfast
Cows laying on green grass in bright sunshine

Kettle Moraine – Wisconsin’s playground

The surrounding area provides you with some of the best bicycling, horseback riding, hiking or cross-country skiing in Kettle Moraine State Park. You will be less than 5 miles form the beautiful new Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Hang gliding is also a popular sport in the area and lessons are available. There are 4 lakes close by for water sports and the Lake Geneva tourist area is also near.

Other attractions include golf, Alpine Valley Music Theater and Resort, shopping in the many antique stores or a visit to historical Old World Wisconsin or The Elegant Farmer Market.

Hamilton House Bed & Breakfast

Premier Lodging in the Southern Kettle Moraine State Park