A cellphone snap of an 1878 church near Norwalk, Wisconsin (pop. 638)

Built by German immigrant farmers, miles from any village, surrounded by hills and cornfields.

Looking well-looked-after, in a nice setting, surrounded by thriving crops.

Apart but without any feeling of isolation, just peacefulness.

The church is called St. John the Baptist, and the corn certainly looked well-watered.



1870's, wisconsin

Walks Around Wisconsin. The church on Summit Ridge.


23 thoughts on “Walks Around Wisconsin. The church on Summit Ridge.

  1. We have a lot of corn around us. It seems to have been a terrific year for it. The corn grown around us is feed corn for animals not sweet corn. It’s huge ,about 10 foot high. The squirrels are having a great time pulling off the cobs and eating them!

    • Hi Anne – yes, it does seem like it’s been a terrific year for field corn in the Great Lakes region. I didn’t realize squirrels did that! As kids, we’d run between the rows of corn, and the stalks were three times our height by this time of year.

  2. Except for the well-watered corn, the description of the area around the church fits the landscape around our little community including the picturesque church we also have by the same name.

  3. I came to think of scenes from the film, Witness (1985) with Harrison Ford when I read your post: Walks Around Wisconsin, The church on Summit Ridge.
    The rural scenes are recorded in Pennsylvania, and it’s not that far from your hike.
    Funny coincidence!

    • Thanks for your interesting comment, Hanna. I enjoyed that movie, especially the barn raising. Yes, very similar scenery to Pennsylvania, lots of small dairy farms on hilly land. Eastern Pennsylvania, where my father’s family arrived in the 1700’s, still has lots of descendants of German immigrants, often Reformed and Lutheran. Wisconsin area was settled by a later wave of immigrants, often from predominately Catholic regions of Germany. And lots and lots of Danish arrivals, too, in the 1870’s-1880’s. There’s even a town north of where I live, which I haven’t visited yet, called Denmark!

  4. Thank a lot for your answer, Roger. There are lots of interesting stories hidden in migration. That’s probably why it is popular to uncover the ethnic and geographical origins of one’s ancestors.
    I saw The Barn Scene once more and I love the way they work, it looks like a breeze. It’s a nice scene in every way and very life-affirming.
    I’ve read they built the barn in one day.
    PS If you should pass the town, Denmark one day it would be nice with a story and some photos 😊

  5. The first thing that came to mind when I saw this photo was our Sunday routine when I was a kid in Iowa. First came church, then dinner with the grandparents, and then the drive through the country to “look at the corn.” Usually, we’d end with a stop for ice cream, or a pork tenderloin sandwich and a root beer at the A&W.

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