Near Nekoosa in Wood County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Point Basse, the French term for "low point" or "shallows," is located in what is now the Wood County township of Saratoga. For thousands of years Native Americans crossed the Wisconsin River here, the midpoint of a trail that ran east and west from Lake Poygan to Black River Falls. North and south along the river are mounds constructed 700-1,000 years ago by these early residents.
Albert Ellis, Surveyor General of Wisconsin, felt Point Basse was the premier location for a settlement. The river provided water access, and the Pinery Road between Portage and Whitney's Mill at Nekoosa provided land access.
South, the Wisconsin River was open to watercraft all the way to the Mississippi River, and beginning in 1844, steamboats began carrying supplies, lumber, and passengers. Point Basse became a rendezvous site for Indians, voyageurs, lumbermen and raftsmen, and a social center for local residents.
Robert and Mary Wakely built a tavern, inn and trading post on this site in the years after their arrival in 1837, including piers, a shingle mill, warehouse, and barn. For a time the site was called "Old Ferry Farm" because of the cable ferry that operated from this point to the west bank of the river until 1916, but to early residents and travelers it was "Wakely's Tavern."
The site was placed on the National Register of Historic Sites in 1974. The stone arch bridge was added to the Register in 2001.
Location. 44° 17.997′ N, 89° 53.436′ W. Marker is near Nekoosa, Wisconsin, in Wood County. Marker is on Wakely Road 0.3 miles west of County Highway Z, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Nekoosa WI 54457, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Wakely’s Tavern (a few steps from this marker but has been reported missing); Point Bas (approx. 0.2 miles away); Nekoosa War Memorial (approx. 1.2 miles away); a different marker also named Point Basse (approx. 1.6 miles away); Ed “Strangler” Lewis (approx. 1.7 miles away); Veterans Memorial John Edwards Jr. (approx. 3.2 miles away); John Jones 2nd Burial Site (approx. 3.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Nekoosa.
Also see . . .
1. Historic Point Basse. (Submitted on August 18, 2014.)
2. Wisconsin Historical Society. Architecture and History Inventory. Wakely's Tavern. (Submitted on August 18, 2014.)
3. Wisconsin Historical Society. National Register. Wakely's Tavern. (Submitted on August 18, 2014.)
4. Wisconsin Historical Society. Architecture and History Inventory. Wakely Road Bridge. (Submitted on August 18, 2014, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.)
5. Wisconsin Historical Society. National Register. Wakely Road spanning Wakely Creek. (Submitted on August 18, 2014.)
Additional keywords. Wisconsin Heritage Site #209 · Point Basse Bridge
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Native Americans • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 18, 2014, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 214 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 18, 2014, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.