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Day One: Wisconsin Dells Heritage Tour

The historic studio of H. H. Bennett is open four tours daily May through October.
The historic studio of H.H.
Bennett is open for tours
daily May through October.

Begin your journey in beautiful Wisconsin Dells, 45 miles northwest of Madison just off Interstate 39/90/94. Discover "the soul of the Dells" through the camera lenses of Wisconsin's most famous and prolific photographer, Henry Hamilton Bennett, at the H. H. Bennett Studio & History Center. From this simple brick façade studio, Bennett established a worldwide reputation as one of the deans of 19th-century American landscape photography. As much an entrepreneur as an artist, Bennett marketed his stunning stereoscopic images of the dells from coast to coast, luring tourists by the trainload and giving rise to Wisconsin's booming tourism industry. His photographs also depicted life among the area's native Ho-Chunk people, with whom he enjoyed a warm and friendly relationship. Strolling through his studio today, you'll see more examples of his dramatic photos — from raftsmen hauling lumber down the Wisconsin River, including some of the first stop-action photos ever taken, to street scenes of Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul.

Leaving the studio, board a tour boat for a cruise upriver and explore the sculpted sandstone bluffs for yourself or take an action-packed trip on the famed "ducks" — World War II-era amphibious vehicles that travel on land and water. You can also rent a canoe for a leisurely on-your-own tour of the Upper Dells. In the evening, end your day enjoying a stroll along the new river walk along the banks of the magnificent Wisconsin River in the heart of downtown Wisconsin Dells. Spend the night in one of the area's many fine hotels, and enjoy the amenities of Wisconsin Dells' fabulous collection of restaurants and other amusements.

Expand your place in history

Society members at the History Lover level receive:

  • Free site admission
  • 10-percent discount on store items

Become a member today!

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