Wade House Stagecoach Inn, Greenbush, Wisconsin, opened in 1850 to serve stagecoach travel on the bustling Sheboygan and Fond du Lac Plank Road. An excursion to the Wade House takes visitors to the 1860s era of horse-drawn transportation, westward expansion, the American Civil War, and the mid-19th century architectural design of a town and settlement.
Wade House, Wisconsin, Stagecoach Inn
Tours of the Wade House and grounds begin without a short, illustrative ride to the Wade House aboard a horse-drawn wagon. Dressed in period attire, a costumed interpreter leads tours through all three floors of the inn, which was originally constructed in 1844 as a log cabin and tavern. Comprised of locally-harvested and sawed lumber, the regal and distinguished three-story, Greek Revival-style inn typified the trendy building design of the era. The 27-room stagecoach inn, which functioned as a respite for fatigued travelers, was the idea of Yankee settlers Sylvanus and Betsy Wade.
The Herrling Sawmill, reconstructed in 2001, was operated by Theodore Herrling and soon became the supply of lumber for the local settlement’s requirements. The original sawmill that stood at the same spot operated from 1854 to 1910. Utilizing the heat of the forge, it was the blacksmith’s craft to keep carriages operating and horses well-shorn. Recreated when the site opened in 1953, the fiery, utilitarian shop is an exact period representation of a role essential to the period.
Home to one of the country’s finest, rarest, and most eclectic array of carriages, sleighs, wagons, and more, the Wesley Jung Carriage Museum holds more than 125 horse- and hand-drawn vehicles. Wesley W. Jung was the grandson of Jacob Jung, the owner of a successful carriage-making company in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Forty percent of the museum’s carriages were made by the Jung Carriage Company.
Wade House Civil War Reenactment
The Wade House celebrates not only the world of plank road stagecoach travel, but it also hosts a slew of special events and programs throughout the year. One of the site’s biggest and most attended events, the immersive two-day experience, which includes Civil War music from the battlefield and a visit from Abraham Lincoln, usually falls on the last weekend in September. Reenactments include two battles daily and explorations into a soldier’s battle life in artillery, infantry and camp.
Bordered by 240 pristine acres within the northern boundaries of the Kettle Moraine National Forest, Wade House Historic Site is located off Highway 23, midway between Sheboygan and Fond du Lac.