The Village of Whiting was the focus of Saturday’s Poky Pedal. Twenty-two Poky Pedalers enjoyed an afternoon of Bike Fun exploration on the Poke-Around Ride – Village of Whiting. It was a wonderful day with comfortable temperatures and overcast skies that sheltered us from the blazing sun.
Starting from Koziczkowski Park just north of the boundary between Stevens Point and Whiting, we traveled many scenic streets and paths throughout Whiting as we learned the village’s past while discovering features of its present. Here are some of the highlights:
- At the site of the former New Page paper mill that shut down in 2011, we learned about village namesake George Whiting and the Wisconsin River Paper and Pulp Mill he founded on that site in 1891.
- The area near the dam that forms McDill pond was formerly known as McDillville, named after Thomas and Alexander McDill who purchased a sawmill that was powered by that dam in the 1860’s. The dam and that sawmill were originally built in 1852.
- We heard the story of the controversial choice of the name Whiting instead of McDill when the village incorporated in 1947.
On Post Road just south of the intersection with Tommy’s Turnpike, we visited the site of a former drive-in theater that ceased operation in the mid-1970’s. Several Poky Pedalers shared their recollections of the well-known ways to sneak in and watch movies for free.
- In Upper Whiting Park, we saw several native mounds that are thousands of years old. A kiosk in the park describes the cultural significance of such mounds to the original settlers of this region of Wisconsin.
- At the Plover VFW, we viewed an M60A3 tank and learned that the US Army replaced these with the M1 Abrams tank.
- We visited the 8-acre site of Whiting’s oak wilt infestation from 2005 and learned how they dealt with that issue.
As we crossed a footbridge over the Plover River, we learned why an osprey nest sits atop a utility pole. We saw two little osprey chicks pop their heads up, but their parents were away, presumably off fishing.
- We visited the site of the original Whiting School and Village Hall dating back to the incorporation of the village in 1947. We had seen the school bell from that building when we stopped earlier at the Whiting Municipal Center.
There is much more that we experienced during our Poky Pedal, but I want to mention two last items.
We took a rest stop at the lovely Village Gardens, formerly Lensmire Gardens. Besides an extensive greenhouse, the site has a beautiful garden area to stroll through. Weddings are often held on the grounds – in fact, the daughter of one of our Poky Pedalers will be married there later this summer – but we were fortunate that no wedding was scheduled that afternoon so that we could freely wander the gardens. To complement this pleasant setting, Village Gardens has a small cafe serving ice cream and other treats. It was such a relaxing place that motivating Poky Pedalers to leave was quite difficult.
Finally, there were the triple seahorse ornamental statues. Typically unnoticed by the casual observer, which might lead one to think these statues are relatively uncommon, they seemed to be everywhere. We spotted 5 triple seahorse ornamental statues over the course of our afternoon of Bike Fun. Perhaps the village board should designate the triple seahorse ornamental statue as its official lawn ornament and should prominently display one on the village flag.
More Poky Pedals will be happening soon. Check out the Upcoming Poky Pedals page for your next opportunities for Bike Fun with PPSP. The 2014 Bike Fun Calendar has all the remaining Poky Pedals through October. I look forward to sharing Bike Fun with you on all the upcoming Poky Pedals.
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