Tag Archives: wisconsin

it’s all about that stance.

elvis’ fight-stopping karate stance memorial plaque

in 1977, elvis presley, while riding to madison from the airport, noticed a street fight in progress at a service station. while his limo was stopped at the nearby red light, the king ran from the car and threatened the combatants with a classic karate stance.

the young men recognized elvis and stopped fighting in favor of shaking hands with the star. elvis reportedly left after ensuring that everything was settled and taking time to shake hands with several onlookers. elvis died 52 days later.

the incident was reported by thomas still for The State Journal, who called it presley’s biggest brawl since Jailhouse Rock. a plaque to commemorate the event is installed where the gas station once stood. it shows elvis with a guitar and in a pseudo-karate stance and describes the incident.

‘if there hadn’t been an elvis, there wouldn’t have been the beatles.’ 

-john lennon

credit: atlas obscura, the state journal, thomas still

one man’s castle……



                                                   mars cheese castle in kenosha, wisconsin

Some people eat cheese. Others make it. Still others sell it. And some, like the Ventura family, honor it with a magnificent roadside castle.  Since 1957 the Mars Cheese Castle has proudly dispensed a wide selection of cheese and related products to travelers looking to take home a memento of their journey through Wisconsin. Originally opened as a gas station in 1947, Mars Cheese Castle eventually grew to become the largest, oldest, showiest purveyor at the junction of 1-94 and Wisconsin Highway 142, a spot once dubbed “Wisconsin’s most visible cheese interchange” by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The store was named not after the planet but after the original owner, Mario Ventura Sr., though this detail hasn’t stopped the venue from incorporating a small touch of outer space into its castle motif.

In 2011, plans to widen I-94 forced Mars Cheese Castle to abandon the storefront it had used for over 50 years. Rather than mourn the loss of their beloved fortress, the proprietors used the opportunity to update the store’s image. Whereas the turrets on the former building’s facade merely suggested a castle, the new, larger store, outfitted with a drawbridge and a watchtower, is an abode truly fit for a king (of cheese). In exchange for its willingness to relocate, the state agreed to allow Mars Cheese Castle to keep its iconic sign, which, at 80 feet tall, violates current height restrictions for signs along the interstate.

Though cheese is, of course, the main attraction, Mars Cheese Castle also sells a variety of food items, and cheese-themed knick-knacks, including the state’s most essential souvenir, the famed Wisconsin cheese-head hat.

Mars Cheese Castle’s iconic sign stands 80 feet tall

“how can anyone govern a nation that has

two hundred and forty-six different kinds of cheese?”

-charles de gaulle

credits: atlas obscura

the tie that surprisingly binds



i was 6, and my middle sister and i shared a best friend. school was out and the whole summer was ahead for the 3 of us, with nothing to do but enjoy it together. our vision came to an abrupt halt when we found out that our best friend in the world was heading off on a vacation with her family to a far-off land called, ‘wisconsin.’ we couldn’t bear to be away from each other and so we came up with a plan to stay connected even though we might find ourselves in different states. we spent all day and gathered up every bit of string and yarn and twine we could find. we spent hours tying them all together to create ‘the world’s giantestbiggestlongeststrongest string ever.’ 

soon the big day arrived, the day of their departure.  as our friend and her family drove off, she was sitting backwards in her family station wagon and she kept the back window down. she held tightly onto one end of our magical string, while we stood on the street in front of her house holding onto the other end. after about 100 feet, at the corner, the string broke. my sister and i stood there dumbfounded and a bit sad as we realized our plan had not worked out as we expected. we could only imagine what she was feeling. when she returned 2 weeks later, we all laughed about it and went on with our summer together. the most wonderful thing is that through many years and many states and many life events, including the death of my sister, we still remain friends, like sisters, and forever tied together.