You Show Off
09.09.2014 - 10.09.2014
When you have someone who became as wealthy and civic –minded as John Kohler (the plumbing fixture magnate), you better show off. I think he left that stipulation in his will along with half a dozen other locations he bequeathed to his beloved town.
Kohler-Andrea State Park, is just one of the locations. Andrea was also an early settler who left his summer home land as a state park. Then John left his land. The state bought the interlacing 1000 acres and made a very nice state park on the dunes.
I don't remember noticing this any of the other 11 states' parks I have traveled into this year, but here the camp rangers are gun-carrying, bullet-proof vest-wearing sheriff deputies.
"Is that to shoot the bears?" I asked.
"Well, no, ma'am. We don't have bears here. But I have full arrest authority throughout the park."
I kept my mouth shut and didn't ask him how many criminals he had to shoot or arrest in the park.
Later, I was telling this to a group of people who were camping down the road. One couple grinned about it with me. Others commented how thankful and safe they felt knowing the guy at the desk carried a gun. I must admit I didn't keep my mouth totally shut; I muttered "oh, for crying out loud."
I would have much preferred he could have told me something about the flora and fauna.
The gem of this area is the John Kohler Arts Center.
Kohler has had an artist-in-residence program for the past 40 years. In return for the opportunity, each artist must leave two pieces: one for the factory and one for the arts center. The exhibits are fantastic. The videos and explanations of the program and how the artists and production associates work together made me a bit emotional.
True to their production, some of the items take on a bathroom fixture theme. All of the washrooms have been designed by artists and are quite a thrill to see.
Kohler also has the American Club. Originally, this structure housed immigrants brought over to work in the plant. Today, it is a resort that outshines the Grand. In my opinion, spend your money here instead of at the Grand.
However, skip the Horse and Plow. Although the Bread and Bean in Sheboygan Falls had a nice ambiance and great people, the food was just so-so.
I stayed at the Rochester Inn just up the road in Sheboygan Falls.
The inn rooms are beautiful - ask for a second floor, two-level suite. If they are not full, they will probably upgrade you to one of these rooms without asking. The reviews rave about the breakfast. However, it is served at 8:30, so all I had was a croissant and fruit - but still tasty.
My whole purpose for stopping here, however, was when I learned you could take a tour of the Kohler plant. This three hours was one of the highlights of my time in Wisconsin. I can, however, understand that it might not be to everyone's liking. Just in case you are interested, Kohler uses SAP as their ERP software.
After seeing all the civic responsibility of the company, and the processes I will never buy anything but Kohler again!
Just off I43 near both Kohler and Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin is the Acuity Insurance Company. Towering by the plant is a 200 pound American flag.
They like to claim that it is the highest, but any of you followers of my blog will know the one in Azerbaijan that I photographed last year is taller. You can see pictures of that in my photo gallery.
Actually, I hear that one in another Mideast oil country has even surpassed that, so Acuity's must be the third tallest now.