“Lake Mills rocks. From Rock Lake to legendary downtown.”

One memory that's iconic for me was a weekend canoeing trip I took with my dad. He was busy running a business and didn't get a lot of time to do that kind of thing.

Photos by Megan Monday

Jim | Lake Mills, WI

“We went from Babs Island to Beaver Dam rapids. There weren’t developed campsites like there are today. We struggled through rapids, we lined our canoe down sometimes rather than paddling it. It was an old Grumman Sander, and one of the first ones. It really wasn’t made for white water, but it got us through.”

Jim is from Lake Mills, the town famous for its cool, clear Rock Lake. Famous also, Jim says, for Friday nights down at the town-square. VFW sliders, music at the gazebo…it’s one of those “cute little downtowns that every small community wishes they had.”

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"As a kid I gradually got into enjoying fishing. I remember once I was out with cane pole. I was so anxious to get fishing in the spring. The muskies were spawning everywhere, all up and down the shoreline. I had never seen one up close at that point. I go back there today and I always remember being there for that, to see that. You just had to be there at the right time.

My family came to Wisconsin in the 1840s, about the time it became a state. At some point, a few decades ago, the Milwaukee Historical Society published a translation of all the letters that my family had written over a 40-year period, back and forth between Germany and Wisconsin. The whole thing is documented in these detailed letters. It’s fun to look back over those and see the similarities and the differences to what we have today.”

-Jim | Lake Mills, WI

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