Wakeley’s Tavern once provided a welcome stop for trappers, hunters, lumbermen, traders, and settlers traveling along the Wisconsin River. In 1837, rapids at this spot stopped Robert and Mary Wakeley, who were poling their raft up the river. Realizing that the rapids would force other travelers to stop here, too, they built a tavern. The location also was one of the few natural fords in the river, making it a convenient resting place for those traveling by land. Eventually the tavern became a stagecoach stop on the route from Necedah to Stevens Point and on the military road running north from Galena, Illinois. From the 1870s to 1916, Robert Wakeley also ran a cable ferry from his inn to Nekoosa across the river, hence the nickname Old Ferry Farm. The former tavern is the oldest extant building in Wood County. It is a simple two-story wooden house with a side-gabled roof. The then-popular Greek Revival style finds expression in the simple yet heavy cornice that returns at the gable ends, like the ghost of a classical pediment.
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Wakeley’s Tavern, Old Ferry Farm
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