Chicago, Illinois is a city of 2 million, rich in cultural and historical marvels. Spooner, Wisconsin is a town of 2,000 with a powerful artistic and historical spirit, as well as many bars and one cheese shop. This past weekend, I visited Spooner and experienced its wonders. I concluded that Spooner is the Chicago of Wisconsin. These are some of the sights I experienced that led me to that conclusion:
1. Chicago has Navy Pier...
And Spooner has the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum!
Chicago's Navy Pier is a huge cultural attraction that features the world-famous ferris wheel, tours, and expositions, as well as a colorful history that dates back to 1916. Spooner's Canoe Heritage Museum features various canoes. The museum offers classes in canoe building, as well as an annual canoe and wooden boat show. Navy Pier and the Canoe Museum both inspire a sense of awe in their visitors. The tourists that visit Navy Pier will leave astounded by a Chicago cultural landmark, and attendees of the museum will leave with the knowledge of how to lash canoe joints together.
2. Chicago has the Willis Tower...
And Spooner has An Abandoned Dairy Queen!
Chicago's Willis Tower is one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world, respected by experts and tourists alike as an awesome structure. Spooner's Dairy Queen is a closed ice cream store. It began its life in 2003 as a small representative of one of the world's most successful ice cream franchises. A sign outside the establishment originally read "Cool Treats," Dairy Queen's way of advertising its delicious offerings to the world. Over time, letters wore off the sign so that it read "Coo Reats" and eventually simply "C R at." Now the sign reads "Sold," because the Dairy Queen has been sold, shut down, and abandoned.
3. Chicago has the Bean...
And Spooner has a central Dirt Patch!
Chicago's Bean is a sculpture of revolutionary architectural design that attracts thousands of tourists every day. Spooner's Dirt Patch is a section of earth that has been worn down over many years by the hard-working feet of Spooner's devoted citizens. Lucky observers may see pieces of trash surrounding the Dirt Patch. On my visit, I was fortunate enough to see the Dirt Patch decorated by an empty bottle of Mountain Dew. Legend has it that those who see garbage by the Dirt Patch will have good luck for a year.
4. Chicago has Lollapalooza...
And Spooner has the Heart of the North Rodeo!
Chicago's Lollapalooza is an enormous music festival that has featured hundreds of musical acts over its 15-year history. Spooner's Heart of the North Rodeo features horseback riding, barrel racing, and a rodeo clown named Bryan. On the Sunday of the annual weekend rodeo, Spooner holds a Cowboy Church Service at the event grounds. Lollapalooza and the North Rodeo are equal in their enormity, and I felt like a changed person after attending each of them.
Chicago and Spooner are both treasure troves of culture. Chicago is known as the Windy City for hot air blasted in its layered political history; Spooner is called the Crossroads of the North because two highways meet at a crossroads kind of near there. The cities are equivalent in majesty, and both hold large places in my heart. Without a doubt, Spooner is the Chicago of Wisconsin. Come visit some time! The Dirt Patch is calling your name.