Check out these unique destinations that reflect the genuine character of our region.
S43 W31575 Depot Road, Waukesha, Wis., Tenchimneys.org
This 60-acre estate located in the rolling Kettle Moraine of southeast Wisconsin truly contains 10 chimneys. There’s a main house (six chimneys), a quaint country cottage (three chimneys) and a one-room Swedish-style log cabin studio (one chimney). Today, the estate exists as a world-class house museum with a mission to serve the arts.
Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, the estate’s original owners, are widely considered to be the greatest acting team in the history of American theater. By the mid-1920s, they were two of the highest-paid stage actors in the country. Dedicated to both their craft and each other, the couple decided to take major pay cuts to join a little-known theater company. The decision was made with the understanding that, by contract, they would only perform together, and not in the summer, so that they would be free to enjoy their beautiful estate, Ten Chimneys.
In 1913, Alfred Lunt used an inheritance from his father to purchase land; he personally designed the original Ten Chimney’s main house as a home for his mother and sisters. In 1922, the chicken coop was transformed into a cottage for Alfred and Lynn. By 1932, the couple had moved into the main house; in 1940, final additions were made.
Today, the estate is filled with remarkable collections of original furnishings, art and artifacts. It’s open to the public for estate tours, exhibitions, cabarets, rental spaces and lecture readings.
Field of Honor Veterans Memorial
100 Heart Blvd., Loves Park, Ill.
Loves Park’s Field of Honor Veterans Memorial was dedicated 20 years ago to honor all who served during the 20th century. It features five vertical columns representing the five major wars and eight resin-composite life-sized soldier statues surrounded by 40 U.S. flags. The memorial also honors civilian contributions to the war efforts.
Located in Arthur W. Anderson Peace Park, the memorial was constructed largely due to the efforts of late local World War II veteran Arthur “Art” Anderson. Staff Sergeant Anderson served in the field artillery division of General Patton’s Third Army in Europe and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. At the end of the war he helped to liberate prisoners from war camps.
Anderson raised money and chose the location (just north of Loves Park City Hall) for the memorial, in hopes of educating the community and future generations about the sacrifices made by those who fought in the wars of the 20th century.
The memorial hosts celebrations including Memorial Day and Veterans Day programs. This year’s Nov. 11th Veterans Day event will begin at 10 a.m. and include an address by former Loves Park Chief of Police Jim Puckett, who served as a marine in Vietnam. The event will also include a performance by the Harlem High School band.
Rockford Park District maintains the memorial.
National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium
350 E. Third St., Dubuque, Iowa, rivermuseum.com
With traveling exhibits, a live, ever-changing aquatic community and rotating daily programs, there’s always something new to check out at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. The museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums, a distinction held by only 9 percent of American museums, and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.
The museum campus has more than a dozen aquariums featuring wildlife found in the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. It offers daily activities, such as the “Creature Feature,” in which visitors are introduced to one of the Aquarium’s many animals. Educational talks are regularly held on topics ranging from green sea turtles to musical demonstrations of the museum’s calliope. This musical instrument, powered by steam, was once common on steamboats.
The museum & Aquarium also includes the Mathias Ham House, a country villa built in 1856 by one of Dubuque’s earliest entrepreneurs.
A new addition to the museum campus is the National River Center, where visitors can explore a river cave and visit a saltwater aquarium that holds sharks, stingrays, schooling fish and an octopus. There you’ll also find a special effects 4D theater.
Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues.-Sun.