Stop and Smell the Coleus


Next time you’re in the neighborhood of Foundry Books take a close look at Gayle Bull’s impressive collection of coleus.  There’s a huge variety and tons of color.

These are just some of the coleus on display.


 Almost makes me want to write a haiku.

Since the Midwest’s haiku enthusiasts are gathering in Mineral Point this weekend, maybe one of them will write a coleus inspired haiku and send it to us –

- Contributed by the Hays

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Little Free Walk of Little Free Libraries

Last October, reporter Helen O’Neill visited Mineral Point, WI, and was charmed. The article she wrote was released a few days ago by the Associated Press and was then picked up in the following media outlets: ABC NewsPost Bulletin, Rochester, Minnesota, SF Gate, San Francisco California, The Charlotte, Dallas-Fort Worth, The New Zealand Herald and The Daily Mail, United Kingdom.

That’s just a partial list.

One of the features of Mineral Point that captivated Ms. O’Neill were the Little Free Libraries.

“Whimsical free libraries — handcrafted miniature houses that look like birdhouses filled with books — are tucked into street corners.”

This Saturday, July 26, 2014, Mineral Point will celebrate these Little Free Libraries with a Little Free Walk and the unveiling of two new libraries. If you’re curious about these libraries and cannot attend this event, you can take your own tour anytime.  After all, most places in Mineral Point are deemed a “Walker’s Paradise” by

This celebration coincides with a visit from Maya Stein and Amy Tingle, two poets traveling the US on a tandem bike to promote Little Free Libraries.  When they’re not traveling the country on a tandem bike, they operate a mobile creativity company based in Nutley New Jersey, called Food for the Soul Train.  It’s like Shake Rag Alley on wheels.   Check them out on Facebook.

Maya and Amy began their most recent bike tour in Boulder, Colorado and will end in Beloit, Wisonsin.  Right now their tour, “Type Riders II – The Tandem Poetry Tour” is in Iowa and heading our way.  They arrive on Saturday, July 26th.

Mineral Point is proud to be one of the stops on this creative tour.

To celebrate their arrival, we will be holding a Little Free Walk for Little Free Libraries, this Saturday.  Festivities begin at 3:30 p.m. at the Elementary School Garden, with the unveiling of a new Little Free Library donated by the family of former Elementary School Principal Anne Palzkill, and built by Anne’s brother.  If you haven’t yet seen the school garden, that’s reason enough to attend the opening.

After the unveiling, we will tour the other Little Free Libraries in town including the following:

* The Elementary School Oak Savanna Little Free Library, contains more than 50 unique, laminated mini-field guides created by the students in last year’s 3rd grade class.


* At the Foundry Books‘ Little Free Library visitors are invited to leave Haiku.  By the way, Foundry Books is hosting the Cradle of American Haiku festival July 25-27th.


* The Longbranch Gallery has one of the town’s first Little Free Libraries.


* Roland Sardeson has Little Free Libraries for sale on the Corner of High and Commerce.  Roland built most of the Little Free Libraries in town.


* High Street Sweets‘ colorful Little Library is filled with children’s books.

photo-1 * Shake Rag Alley has two Little Libraries.  This one near the street contains arts and crafts books and was donated and constructed by Dr. Matt Michalski.

photo-3The other one is tucked into the grounds of Shake Rag Alley and houses children’s books.  The interior has fairy drawings by elementary students.


The walk will culminate in a celebration at Pendarvis where they will unveil a new Little Free Library, that is currently being painted on the porch of High Street Sweets.

The total walk is approximately one mile.  Refreshments will be served along the way.  You can join or bail at any point.

The event is completely free and everyone is welcome.

- Contributed by the Hays

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The Man Behind the (Opera House) Curtain

ParrishIt’s been a while since Parrish Johnston walked from the old high school with his classmates to see “All Quiet on the Western Front” on the Mineral Point Opera House’s big screen. Now when Parrish goes to the newly-restored, 99-year-old theater, he is behind the scenes instead of in the audience.

Last month Parrish was named the new director of the Opera House. He follows Phil Mrozinski, who stepped down after a decade and a half at the helm. Phil spearheaded the fundraising and restoration of the theater, which celebrated its grand reopening in 2010.

Parrish moved with his family – mom Diana and dad Tom of Johnston Gallery and Brewery Pottery; and sister Claire, new Mineral Point Chamber of Commerce president – to Mineral Point from neighboring Edmund when he was 15.

Parrish has fond childhood memories of weekend movies with the family and school field trips to the Opera House.

“When I was in high school there were two yearly trips down to the Opera House in the spring for the student body. The yearly musical was put on and the entire school would walk down to experience the production. I also have really fond memories of making the hilly trek from the old high school over to the Opera House a hot May day to watch ‘All Quiet on the Western Front,’ which was amazing to take in on the big screen.”

As director of the Opera House, Parrish is looking forward to being an active part of the community and helping to bring more events to town.

“I think that we can bring in a variety of musical acts and I’m hoping to get more movies shown. I see the type of acts that the Opera House in Stoughton is able to bring in, and I believe we can bring in some great music. I hope the community responds and supports these efforts. The community did a wonderful job of supporting the Opera House during the fundraising and restoration efforts, and I would like to make the building a more central part of the community.”


Local band Point Five filled the Opera House last weekend, playing original tunes and covers of bluegrass and Americana.

“There are a lot of touring bands that play shows in Chicago and Minneapolis a few days apart and need somewhere to play in the interim. I’m hoping to be able to pull some of these acts into Mineral Point. Having a gorgeous, fully-restored Opera House should be a great draw and my hope is to be able to get some large nationally-known bands to play a show in the future. My pie in the sky hope would be to convince Wilco to come up from Chicago and play.”

Last weekend many tourists attending Shake Rag Alley’s Woodlanders Gathering enjoyed the Point Five concert at the Opera House. Parrish is hoping to draw in out-of-towners during the Fall Art Tour as well, when Grand Marquis plays Oct. 18. The Kansas City band plays blues and prohibition-era jazz. According to their website, they are “Blues and Trouble.”

littleshopThis weekend at the Opera House: Alley Stage’s production of Little Shop of Horrors. The musical about a man-eating plant is directed by UW-Madison student Shannon Heibler, with music direction by Tim Ekenberg. Local actors include Mike Mitchell, Alexis Knouse, and Jessie Hodgson. Hayley Mason, Logan Eigenberger, Darby Fitzsimons, Braden Zywicki, Hannah Coyne, and Logan Walsh round out this talented and energetic cast. Shows are July 18-19 and July 25-26 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students, and can be purchased at Brown Paper Tickets or at the door.

– Contributed by Susan Webb


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A Good Sign


Recently, people have reported seeing a rare white deer on the outskirts of town.

While it is good luck to catch a glimpse of the elusive white deer, it is extremely bad luck (and illegal) to kill one.  It’s like killing a unicorn.

Throughout history, the white deer has been a revered mythical symbol. It features prominently in countless legends and stories, from Native American lore, to King Arthur and Harry Potter.

We hope this particular white deer finds a mate, has many little white fawns and lives happily ever after in the hills of Mineral Point.

If you have a photo of this deer that you want to share, please e-mail it to, and we’ll add it to this post.

Contributed by the Hays

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As you stroll through the Mineral Point Farmer’s Market this morning with your mini quiche and your coffee in hand, check out the scrap metal assemblages of market newcomer David Fritsch.


His pieces come in a variety of sizes, and a range of rustiness — perfect for any garden!


He makes little crab-like guys,


bigger bird-looking items,


and larger pieces, like this one.


The art of David Fritsch is yet another reason to head to Mineral Point’s Water Tower Park on Saturday mornings.

- Contributed by the Hays



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