“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Wisconsin Dells in Columbia County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

A Glimpse of the Old Dells

A Glimpse of the Old Dells Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, September 2, 2020
1. A Glimpse of the Old Dells Marker
Photo captions: 1) Steamboat "Alexander Mitchell" at mouth of Witches Gulch, 2) Looking out of the entrance of Witches Gulch, 3) View out Witches' Gulch of tourist stand, 4) Witches' Gulch, looking out of Phantom Chamber, 5) Looking out from Boat Cove, 6) H.H. Bennett sits on row boat with is wet plate tent behind him behind Gates Ravine, 7) Witches' Gulch approach to Phantom Chamber, 8) Opposite Steamboat Rock.
Welcome to Witches Gulch

In the 1800s, Witches Gulch was a far from accessible. Centuries of fallen trees and other debris made a hike through the gorge a physical and mental marathon.
In H.H. Bennett's search for new places to photograph, he followed an opening back from the main river channel. He reached another opening that looked intriguing, but he could not get through it by boat. He thought he heard a waterfall bank in the rock gorge, so he waded, crawled and swam back into the gorge, and sure enough, he found a waterfall. Bennett was unable to get over or around it, but he could not dismiss this discovery.
The following winter when everything was frozen, Bennett skated into the rock gorge. He cut sets into the ice of the frozen waterfall, and succeeded in climbing over the fall, eventually reaching the head of the ravine. Because of the dark and mystical rock formations that he found in this place, Bennett named it Witches Gulch.
Bennett encouraged Captain Bell of the Dell Queen to travel to Witches Gulch with him again that winter. His the spring of 1875 when the water was high, Bennett
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and his brother along with the captain floated logs and boards into the gorge and built a walkway so the tourists could travel through the gorge.
Witches Gulch has been a regular stop on the boat tours ever since. In 1877, the first food sand (sic) was built to serve the shore-landing visitors.

Visit the Studio

H.H. Bennett is the man who made the Dells famous! In an era most photographers never left their studios, Bennett actively explored the Dells with his camera, capturing its natural beauty on film. Selling photographs and stereo views from his studio, he promoted the dells as a tourist destination. Bennett developed the image of nature as a playground to be enjoyed, not feared. Bennett is considered one of the ten best landscape photographers of the nineteenth century.
Visit the H.H. Bennett Studio today! Explore Bennett's restored 1800s photography studio, and interactive museum of Dells history. See Bennett's photos in glasses-free stunning 3D! Many historic prints are available in museum store. Located just one block east of the Dells Boat Tours dock in Downtown Wisconsin Dells!
Erected by H.H. Bennett Studio.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicNatural Features. A significant historical year for this entry is 1875.
A Glimpse of the Old Dells Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, September 2, 2020
2. A Glimpse of the Old Dells Marker
43° 40.579′ N, 89° 47.721′ W. Marker is near Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, in Columbia County. This marker is in Witch's Gulch and can only be accessed by boat tour. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Wisconsin Dells WI 53965, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. This Beauty Is Yours Because Others Before You Love The Dells (within shouting distance of this marker); H.H. Bennett Photography & Promotion of the Wisconsin Dells Area (approx. 0.9 miles away); Indians -- Flora & Fauna (approx. one mile away); Leaping the Chasm (approx. 1.1 miles away); Lumber Raftsmen (approx. 3.2 miles away); Natural Ingenuity (approx. 3.3 miles away); Henry Hamilton Bennett (approx. 3.4 miles away); Kilbourn City (approx. 3.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Wisconsin Dells.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 1, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 1, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 530 times since then and 56 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 1, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.

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Feb. 24, 2024