Old Platteville

The community of Platteville isn't the oldest European settlement in Wisconsin, but its history starts long before statehood.

In 1835 the downtown was laid out around a city square.  Narrow streets and thin lots echoed the designer's English heritage.

Unlike most other Wisconsin cities, it's possible to see the design almost 200 years later.

The Historic 2nd Street District seems to be mostly restaurants and bars.  It may be as busy now as it was during the peak of Wisconsin lead mining.

As a side note, the lead mines are the reason Wisconsin is the Badger State.  The mines were fairly shallow with entrances dug into hills.

When passers-by noticed the miners climbing out of the mines, they thought the miners resembled badgers.

The state's southwest is home to most of Wisconsin's lead mining history. Many mines survived into the 1940s.  The last one closed in 1979.

The University of Wisconsin Platteville is one of the largest businesses in the area now.  A presence which may be singly responsible for the success of the Historic 2nd Street District.

The vintage downtown is bustling with small retail shops and a couple nice restaurants.  We ducked into Steve's for lunch.  It's a cool place inside.  If you go, check out the back room where a ship takes center stage.  (I can't describe it more, you'll have to come up with your own description.)

The village square is off the main drag these days, but remains the center of the town's spirit.

Fanned across the city's green are statues representing those who served the United States through the years.

The American Revolution, Civil War, World Wars I and II, Korea, and Vietnam are recognized.  There is a female statue representing women who have served.

Across the base of each statue extends a roll call of the area's men and women who gave their all for our country.

It's a peaceful park.

An unexpected spot for visitors to slow down in this historic community and consider those responsible and their sacrifice.

Platteville is the largest city in southwest Wisconsin, surrounded by smaller satellite towns,  It's tempting to fly through at 65 miles an hour, but do yourself a favor and see the hidden gems along Wisconsin's roads.