08 Jun WRAP-UP: Wacky Wisconsin – SCA’s 42nd Annual Conference
WISCONSIN DELLS, WISCONSIN
JUNE 5-8, 2019
Chula Vista Resort
For SCA’s 2019 Conference we headed to southern Wisconsin to a location along the Wisconsin River in a region of glacier-carved sandstone formations. The Dells were formed by catastrophic flooding at the end of the last ice age. The railroad arrived in 1897, which started the area’s significant tourist-oriented development. Our conference hotel was the Chula Vista Resort. Formerly called the Cold Water Canyon Resort, it’s located at a spectacular site that is part of Native American lore.
Wednesday June 5, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
SUNSET CRUISE OF THE UPPER DELLS
With a scenic backdrop of sandstone cliffs and rock formations, the SCA welcomed members and guests to Wisconsin with a kickoff evening cruise for the reception plus a three-hour excursion, including dinner, adult beverages and a short stop at Witches Gulch a stunning narrow canyon only accessible by boat.
Thursday June 6, 9:00 – 10:30 p.m.
Wacky Wisconsin Dells with Baraboo & Spring Green
We started our day with a walking tour of the Dell’s kitschy downtown. Next, we headed to Dr. Evermore’s Forevertron, described by the team at Roadside America as “Steampunk long before the word was even invented.” We then headed south to Baraboo, the hometown of the Ringling Brothers, to tour the Al Ringling Theater. We then traveled to teheccentric House on the Rock, an “attraction of exceptional interest and quality,” according to AAA. Then it’s on to Richland Center to view the only remaining commercial structure by Frank Lloyd Wright that still exists from this time period. Unfortunately, we arrived a bit too late, and were only able to take half the tour. But any disappointment was more than compensated by a spectacular dinner at the Del-Bar Supper Club.
Friday June 7, 8:30 – 5:00 p.m.
PAPERS SYMPOSIUM: UPPER DELLS BALLROOM, CHULA VISTA RESORT
The heart of any SCA conference is the papers symposium, where members and new friends, share formal – fun and visual – research. Presentations selected by the SCA Board were focused on the topics of tourism in Wisconsin as well as other roadside topics. We also welcomed “Five Minute Stories,” an SCA tradition where members to sign up that day to share short talks on their favorite interests. The SCA membership meeting followed and closed the day.
Saturday June 8, 9:00 – 10:30 p.m.
WRIGHTIAN WISCONSIN, RACINE, MADISON, & MILWAUKEE
On Saturday, we tripped our way to Racine through the old Dells’ motel district, now mostly converted to service worker housing, headed through historic Portage on the original road from Milwaukee, Route 16, took several side trips, drawn by old gas stations, ice cream stands and whole blocks of Frank Lloyd Wright houses before taking a spectacular tour of Wright’s famous SC Johnson Headquarters. After a Kevin Patrick-guided tour through downtown Milwaukee, the conference came to a close at Mader’s restaurant, where good beer and German food made the ride back to the Dells a satisfyingly sleepy journey.