Many small towns have swimming pools. Although some prefer to call them Aquatic Centers these days. But both terms are a bit high-falutin for Weyauwega. So instead, we have a swim lake.
It’s basically the same thing as a swimming pool, in that it has locker rooms, showers, life guards, and a concession stand, and is surrounded by tall chain-link fences to keep children and the inebriated from wandering in and drowning. But instead of a rectangular structure with vertical walls, a concrete floor, and a bright blue vinyl liner, Weyauwega’s swimming hole is an irregularly shaped structure with gently sloping sides, a gravel floor, and a concrete shoreline. In short, it’s exactly like a real lake but without the mucky bottom and the fishy smell.
In other words, it’s nothing like a real lake. But I’m new here, and I’m not one to make waves. Even at the pool. Or the swim lake.
The Weyauwega Swim Lake (or Swimming Lake, depending on which sign you’re reading) is located within Weyauwega Community Park.
Established in 1972 (according to the sign at the High Street entrance) the park sits on 12 acres, and is host to ball fields, tennis courts, picnic tables, covered pavilions, a playground, and a handful of buildings operated by various local civic organizations.
A few blocks from Community Park is Mill Street Park. Located at the intersection of Mill and Sumner streets, Mill Street Park features a half-court basketball area, a swing set, and a couple of benches. Across the street and kitty-corner from Mill Street Park are the Sumner Street tennis courts. The park and the tennis courts flank the Weyauwega Public Library which is located at the same intersection, which means one can exercise both one’s body and one’s mind in one trip if one were so inclined.
Incidentally, kitty-corner from the library at the intersection of Mill and Sumner Streets is ThedaCare Physicians Weyauwega. Which means, if you happen to skin your knees jumping off the swing at its forward apex, or pull a hammy while chasing your opponent’s killer serve, or slice your finger open while paging through a copy of Weyauwega Remembers, medical treatment is not far away. Unless it happens after 5pm or on a weekend, in which case you’re probably going to die.
I’m kidding. We have paramedics in town who will happily patch you up if you can’t walk it off. Just limp or crawl four blocks north and take a right onto Wisconsin Street. The firehouse will be down two blocks on the left.
If you reach to the post office you’ve gone too far.
In that case, just turn around and go back a half block. The firehouse will now be on your right.
A few blocks north of Mill Street Park sits Petersen Park.
Straddling both Mill Street and the Waupaca River, Petersen Park boasts a small playground, a few picnic areas, and a boat launch. Here you will also find the famous rye mill silo.
Of course, famous is a relative term. They don’t know about it as far away as, say, China, Europe, or possibly even Milwaukee. It’s famous because it’s where the old Weyauwega rye mill used to operate and because you can’t look up Weyauwega on Google without a picture of the structure coming up in your search results. Built in 1855, according the Weyauwega Chamber of Commerce (www.weyauwegachamber.com/) the mill was the largest in the world at the time and was considered a state of the art facility in the field of flour manufacturing.
A few steps away from the rye mill silo puts you on the Yellowstone Trail.
Established on May 23 of 1912 (with thanks to Wikipedia) the Yellowstone Trail was the “first transcontinental automobile highway through the upper tier of states in the United States.” As you can see by the map below the trail will take you all the way from Plymouth, Massachusetts to Seattle, Washington by way of Yellowstone National Park.
(courtesy of By JRidge at English Wikipedia, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15816247)
Of course, you’d have to walk many a mile to get from Petersen Park to Yellowstone National Park. I suppose you’ll just have to pace yourself.
And speaking of pace: in Weyauwega the pace is fairly slow. Not slow as in ploddingly or painfully slow. More like slow as in smooth, or gentle. Like a light breeze, or trickling stream. Here, the words hustle and bustle are rarely used, and then only to refer to 1970’s disco-era dances and 1870’s ladies’ undergarments.
If you think I’m kidding, check out the city’s very own slogan, which appears at the bottom of their very own homepage.
“A TASTE FOR LIFE OUT OF THE FAST LANE”
That sorta says it all, I think.
And it may not be for everyone, but it suits the Jarhead and me just fine.