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“Enjoyable Historical Site” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Wade House

Wade House
W7965 State Highway 23, Just off Hwy 23, Greenbush, WI
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Ranked #1 of 1 Attractions in Greenbush
Type: Historic Sites, Cultural
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Attraction details
Owner description: Now in its 61st year of operation, Wade House historic site is owned and operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society. Set upon 240 rolling acres near the northern reaches of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, the site celebrates the world of plank road stagecoach travel, horse-drawn transportation, and mid-19th-century settlement and town building. The new Wade House Visitor Center and Wesley W. Jung Carriage Museum offers a rich array of exhibits providing orientation to the site and its themes. The wonder of Wisconsin's largest collection of carriages and wagons awaits each visitor to the site in the new, state-of-the-art 20,000 square-foot carriage museum. A visit to the site's historic area includes a guided tour of the 27-room stagecoach hotel built in 1850 and active demonstrations by costumed staff in the Dockstader Blacksmith Shop and Herrling Sawmill, which features an up-and-down saw powered by the Mullet River. Visitors are transported to and from the historic area via horse-drawn wagon, or they may enjoy a scenic boardwalk and walking trail. The Visitor Center includes a Gift Store and the Butternut Cafe, which offers lunch to museum visitors or travelers from 11 am - 2 pm daily.
Madison, Wisconsin
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Enjoyable Historical Site”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2013

This site presents a wonderful assortment of history. The Wade House is an old inn beautifully preserved and just the right amount of artifacts. Our guide was well-informed and interesting. Likewise the blacksmith shop was informative. Sadly, the saw mill was not open in the time slot between the Wade House tour and when the horse-drawn "bus" arrived to take us back to the carriage museum. The new carriage museum is great. However, I would have enjoyed learning more about the history of transportation throughout the State of Wisconsin -- from native trails, to explorer and fur trader land and river routes, and to the development of state roads. The short portion of "plank road" was a nice little touch.

Visited September 2013
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25 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Kenosha, Wisconsin, United States
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
“Wade House”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2013

Our family kids (7,9,14) were there on July 25th 13. The house was great to tour through, the blacksmith and saw mill was interesting with all the history and they just opened a new carriage museum at the main check in area, and of course the carriage ride to the house was great!

A great place to visist and we plan to go back!

Visited July 2013
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Festus, MO
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
“Good but control your children”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2013

This is a very educating tour. Grounds are nice and clean. There were 2 couples on the tour that brought their out of control children. They were very disrupted and cried and yelled the entire tour of the house. It was very hard to hear the guide. The parents seemed oblivious to this and talked throughout the tour themselves. The father carried one child who continuously yelled and kicked the whole time. He would cut into the line and you would have to protect yourself from this child's kicking. The Wade House needs to set rules about children under a certain age being allowed in. If you can't control your children, don't bring them. Sorry, but you could tell these children acted like this ALL the time. Other than that, it was good. The carriage museum is awesome. The blacksmith building was interesting. The restrooms are super clean. Nice trail through the woods back to the main building.

Visited July 2013
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Litchfield CT
14 reviews 14 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Fantastic collection of carriages and more...,”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2013 via mobile

The visit starts with the most fantastic collection of carriages from simple farm ones to fancy stage coach, to early ones used to fight fires and more. Than take a Percheron horse drawn wagon ride to a guided tour of the lovely three story restored Stagecoach Inn. Top that off with blacksmith and sawmill demonstrations. All for great value of $11. Check the wagon ride schedule and house tour when getting tickets to time the visit. Walking back to the visitor center rather than waiting for a ride back took no more than 10 minutes.

Visited June 2013
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Harvard, IL
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Interesting and informative!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2013

The Wade House Historic Site is an interesting place to visit. There is a beautiful new visitors center located on Hwy 23 - double check your directions - their website is not updated to reflect the new entrance yet (May 25, 2013).

The center has a wonderful collection of antique carriages in the lower level that is worth looking at. There is horse-drawn wagon that takes you from the center to the Wade House, Sawmill and Blacksmith Shop.

While the docents in the Sawmill and Blacksmith Shop were very informative and could answer all of our questions, the Wade House itself was a little disappointing for us. The docent is an elderly woman with a very soft voice - difficult for us to hear. It seemed like she was well informed, but again, I could not hear her well. I also feel that too many people went through at the same time, making it difficult to move through the house. Perhaps they should have more than one docent in the house and stagger the tours.

I think that once the Visitors Center is more organized - they only opened a week before our visit - things will improve. When we arrived and paid the entrance fee (a bit steep) we were told that the next carriage would be leaving in 5 minutes from the lower level; after waiting 15 minutes, one gentleman went back to the counter to ask what the status was. The young woman tried to call the carriage driver to see where he was on the route, but apparently had no response. She then walked up the trail to locate him. She found him a short distance away and we finally boarded the wagon. It is only a short 5 minute ride up the trail (about 1/2 mile) to the original site.

The disorganized part is that once he dropped us off, we had no idea when he would return! We had to wait about 20 minutes after we finished the tours before he returned to pick us up. It would be nice if there was a regular system for drop off/pick up times - perhaps every 15 minutes? Or even on the half hour. At least you know when you need to be at the wagon stop!

I also find it odd that although the Visitors Center, the Sawmill and Blacksmith Shop are open at 10 am, the Wade House itself does not open for a first tour until 1pm. So if you arrive early, like we did, you will be doing a lot of wandering around aimlessly or you will skip the Wade House itself. It just does not take 3 hours to tour the center and the other two sites.

So, although the history is interesting, just plan on it taking more time than you would think.

Visited May 2013
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