In Wisconsin, the Dells is usually associated with water parks, summer fun, and tourist venues. However, indoor water parks weren't always a prime attraction. Boat tours of the Wisconsin River date back to the 1800s, and Dells land formations and scenic river views of the time were captured by photographer H.H. Bennett, whose photos played a large role in bringing tourism to the area.
Bennett's 1870s photography studio is still present today, in the form of the H.H. Bennett Studio, maintained by the Wisconsin Historical Society.
While much of the museum focuses on the history of photography in the Midwest, Bennett's photography portrays use of the Wisconsin River by tourists and loggers, as well as native Ho-Chunk people.
The museum also holds the steering wheel from the last operating steamboat on the river.
Interested in learning more?
Click here to view H.H. Bennet's photos or visit the museum.
Click here to view the Wisconsin Historical Society website.