There is much to see and do while in the Portage area. Historic sites and museums are accompanied by various cultural outlets and a calendar year full of events, leaving just one question: What to do first?
Fort Winnebago Surgeons Quarters is the only remaining building of historic Fort Winnebago and one , of the oldest log houses in Wisconsin still standing on its original foundation. The log house is fully refurbished as a home of the army occupation days, with authentic artifacts from the fort.
The Historic Indian Agency House, built in 1832, is one of Wisconsin's earliest houses still in existence. It was constructed as a residence for John Kinzie, the Indian Agent to the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago), and his wife, Juliette Kinzie. After 100 years of varied use, the house was restored to its 1832 frontier grandeur and officially reopened in 1932.
The William L. and Zona Gale Breese home was donated to the city of Portage in 1946 and housed the Portage Public Library until 1994. In 1996, the Museum at the Portage (now temporarily closed due to a cleanup from a minor fire this spring) was established to showcase displays relevant to the history of the city. Within the Museum, visitors will find Zona Gale's study preserved and a permanent collection of photographs and artifacts depicting historical events that occurred in the city.
The American Legion State Headquarters building includes a museum, which houses such historical relics as statues, uniforms, medals, photos and documents from the history of Wisconsin’s American Legion, as well as war era memorabilia.
After the successful publication of her first novel in 1906, Zona Gale built a home for her parents on the bank of the Wisconsin River. Its classical Greek revival exterior is in contrast to its rustic Craftsman interior. Gale’s 1920 bestselling novel, Miss Lulu Bett, landed her the Pulitzer Prize in 1921 and her home was given to the Women’s Civic League in 1932.
Visitors in town overnight are afforded a selection of comfortable lodging facilities, sure to make any stay memorable. Several full-service hotels and motels offer much in the way of modern amenities, both inside the room and out. Guests also choose between private rental cottages, as well as high quality campgrounds for those looking for a more rustic environment. Visit the Portage Area Chamber of Commerce’s online Membership Directory at www.portagewi.com for a list of referred lodgers.