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  • Wingspread Wingspread Racine, Wisconsin
    Wingspread is the Herbert F. Johnson house that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and it was constructed in 1938-9 in Wind Point, near Racine, Wisconsin. This imaginative creation centers on the living room with four wings spreading out from it; or they were called zones, one going to the master bedroom, another to the children's bedrooms, the next to the kitchen and the servants' bedrooms and the last going to the garage/guestrooms. The living room is similar to a huge dome room with a tall stone fireplace rising from the middle of it. Frank also designed the Johnson Wax headquarters in Racine, and it was built during the same period. The house is not lived in now, but was given by the Johnsons in 1959, to their foundation, where it is now a conference facility for international education. The unusual structure was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and then became a National Historic Landmark in 1989. The overall shape is remindful of a four-winged pinwheel and is around 14,000 square feet in size. It is a magnificent building set on 30 acres of woods, lagoons and ponds with the house in a ravine where the brick, limestone, stucco and wood house setting off the landscaping; especially in the evening, when the floor to ceiling glass that surrounds the 30 foot fireplace is lit up and resembles a giant lantern filled with firelights. The house is called a prairie house and is one of many that were designed and built by Frank Wright. The Johnsons lived here for 20 years, before giving it to the Johnson Foundation, and it is the gathering place for all groups that come to the beautiful home for conferences. The fireplace is actually one of five that are on three different levels, and give the place a warm feeling aided by the oak veneer that runs through the ceilings. Some of the more significant conferences that have been held here was the National Endowment for the Arts, National Public Radio and the first blueprint for arms control. It is a special place for all to visit, although, unfortunately, tours are not given. 

  • Johnson Wax Administration BuildingJohnson Wax Bdlg Racine, Wisconsin
    Another Frank Lloyd Wright design in Racine is the Johnson Wax headquarters of the S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. and was put on the National Historic Landmark list in 1976. The administration and tower buildings were put on it and it is a streamlined design containing over 200 different types of bricks used in the interior and exterior. Pyrex glass was used in the tubing and clerestories so that light could come into the building. Frank chose cream for the color of the columns and mortar, and Cherokee red for the bricks, floors and furniture; which was also designed by Wright, echoing the soft curves of the entire structure. To go inside, you must go under the 14 story research tower, and through a low ceiling parking lot supported by "dendriform" or tree-shaped concrete columns. This ceiling creates a feeling of compression, and upon entering the lobby, the dendriforms rise two stories creating a sense of release or spatial compression; which are signatures of Wright in many of his designs. They include his playroom in his Oak Park home and studio, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City and the Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois. The biggest area of open space is the great workroom, as Wright considered it and it contains no interior walls and was designed for the secretaries. A mezzanine was built for the administrators. The building's construction caused some concern with building inspectors, since the base of the dendriform columns were only 9 inches in diameter, and the top was 18 feet at the top where the lily pads as Wright called them held the ceiling. The inspectors wanted a test column built to hold 12 tons of materials, and when Wright put 60 tons on the pad and it cracked on the top, it fell breaking a water main 30 feet under the ground. After this test, a permit was issued. Another issue that arose was the sealing of the glass tubes of the clerestories and the roof. Leaks were found to exist, so rubber gaskets were designed to place between the glass and roof, and corrugated plastic was used in the roof to seal the whole thing.  

  • 1888 Bohemian Schoolhouse
    This schoolhouse was built by the Czech immigrants that came to the area in 1850, from the Bohemia and Moravia regions of the Czech Republic, where they built farms and a settlement. The early village was constructed between the Five Mile and Seven Mile roads on the Caledonia township, which later became known as Ceska Betlemska or Bohemian Bethlehem. Later on it was called Tabor and was the model for the many other Wisconsin Czech farming settlements that were built in the state. Wanting to save their heritage, the families of Tabor built the schoolhouse in 1888, and it was used to teach the children of these immigrants their Czech history and language; on the weekends, and was used until 1916, and then it became the local community center. The Racine County Historical Society obtained the schoolhouse in 1974.

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  • Racine Art MuseumRacine Art Museum Racine, Wisconsin
    In 1941, Jennie E. Wustum, a widow of Charles A., gave their home, property and trust fund to the city of Racine so that an art museum and park could be built that would be enjoyed by future generations of the city. Later that year, it became known as the Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts, thanks to the city and the Racine Art Association; which later became the Racine Art Museum Association, Inc. The grand opening was on November 16, 1941 and it started to grow, in its acquisitions and the community. Individuals and organizations were eager to help support the museum, with Western Publishing Company giving supplies for the classes held there, and Chicago artists came and exhibited their creations there. A photographer for Life magazine, Evan Dimitry, came to the fundraisers; and the camera club of Racine, as well as the Charles A. Wustum Flower Guild met there. The museum was given the professional accreditation from the American Association of Museums in 1986, which was quite an honor since only 5% of the museums in this country receive such distinction. RAM or the Racine Art Museum is downtown and its mission has been described as wanting to elevate the stature of craft to fine arts by exhibiting collections of fibers, metals, wood, glass and ceramics along with the sculptures and paintings. By showcasing education and community outreach, the museum tries to give visitors a chance to understand that contemporary craft is also considered fine art. RAM was first thought of when the Wustum galleries could only show 10% of the burgeoning collection due to space restraints. It was helped by two big donations from the SC Johnson Fund and M&I Bank of Racine. RAM's store opened on November 17, 2002 and the grand opening of the museum itself was May 11, 2003. The museum's architecture was a continuation of the great architectural traditions of the city, and was designed by Brininstool & Lynch, an award winning firm; with 46,000 square feet of space. Inside are a collections area, galleries, a sculpture courtyard, a library and care area. The exterior of the building is covered by translucent acrylic panels and create an aesthetic "exoskeleton" for the structure.  The museum is a really unique building in that it is designed with "green" intentions a while before it became a popular decision. The windows are frameless, so that passers-by could see the artwork that is shown so easily in these clear panels, and the floor backing is made of recycled tires. It is an integral part of the community, and still features local and regional artisans, and still hosting art education and community out-reach programs; which is actually the biggest in the state. They also feature national and international exhibitions of contemporary crafts and works on paper.

  •  The Southeastern Wisconsin Aviation Museum
    The SC Johnson company has had a long tradition of corporate aviation, going back over 70 years, when the most influential person to develop the company was H. F. Johnson, Jr., who was the former chairman and also the grandson of the founder. Herbert used a 1929 Taperwing WACO to fly around the country with cases of liquid wax to sell to the local department stores. Two years later, he bought a WACO cabin plane, later called the Johnson Waxwing to fly across the nation to distribute Johnson electric floor polishers to contest winners, and during the stops would give people and the winners rides on the plane. In 1935 he organized and was part of the Johnson Carnauba Expedition to northeast Brazil, in a Sikorsky S-38 amphibian so that they could explore the Amazon looking for carnauba palm; which was the company's source for wax. Herbert got his pilot's license in 1932. The 1929 WACO taperwing was a 2 person open cockpit biplane, powered by a Wright R-760 engine that could fly up to 135 mph and used 12 gallons of fuel each hour. The company pilot was Ed Hedeen, a barnstormer and world champion barrel roller; who won many air cup races during his tours for Johnson. During the early days of aviation, these magnificent planes were crowd attractors, but not many were used to promote a company's products. Ed eventually started the biggest flying school in the state at Air City Airport in Sturtevant. The plane is here in the museum, along with other interesting antiquities that pertain to the fantastic passion of flight.

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Local Restaurants in Racine
  • Sebastion's
    Sebastion's in Racine, Wisconsin is a prime example of excellent cuisine served in a casual fine dining establishment. The seafood is always fresh and never seen the inside of a freezer, the meat is USDA choice or better, dry aged at least 21 days to get the best flavor and texture and the 25 various sauces that are used in the menu are always made from scratch. As is with all fine eating restaurants, the menu and wine list changes since the freshest produce changes. The restaurant uses its own garden vegetables and herbs, as long as the growing season is right. Small plates offered include; day boat scallops with potato croquette, smoked tomato-corn relish and lime butter sauce; soup of the day; tempura with chicken and vegetables; papaya glazed shrimp is grilled and served with lime and avocado relish; tuna is sashima grade tuna wrapped with ginger and nori, tempura fried, sliced and served with ponzu glaze and wasabi; mussels and frites are braised with onions, garlic, champagne, cream, rosemary and bacon; micro burgers with tomato, lettuce, fresh mozzarella, basil, pomme frites and aioli; WPB is mixed greens, walnuts, pears and bleu cheese, tossed with balsamic vinaigrette; crab cakes are made with jumbo lump crab, served with mustard and apricot sauces with daikon-jicama salad; spinach, apple, pecan tossed with apricot vinaigrette, smoked bacon, pecans and goat cheese; beef satay is two curries, garlic-chili sauce, daikon-jicama salad; mixed greens tossed with fresh basil vinaigrette and shredded parmesan; grilled margherita with olive oil, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and fresh basil on grilled homemade crust; steak sandwich with gruyere, caramelized onions, pomme frites and aioli; or the wedge which is romaine, onion strings, bacon and bleu cheese dressing. Entrees include; bone-in ribeye au poivre is a 22 ounce aged, choice Angus beef, peppered, grilled and served with bourbon-dijon sauce and garlic-chive mashed potatoes; salmon is miso glazed grilled salmon, cucumbers, pearl cous cous and toasted barley salad tossed with dill buttermilk dressing; bistro steak is a center cut ribeye, grilled and served with a roasted chili butter and pomme frites; grouper is encased in crisp shredded potatoes, served with champagne-chive beurre blanc and vegetable of the day; twin filets and shrimp is twin tenderloin steaks, each topped with a large gulf shrimp and béarnaise, served with garlic-chive mashed potatoes and demi-glace; fruit of the sea is scallop, shrimp, grouper and mussels in a spicy rosemary-green curry sauce with fresh lime; filet mignon is an 8 ounce barrel cut aged choice Angus beef tenderloin, served with béarnaise, demi-glace and dauphinoise potatoes; or portabella schnitzel which is panko and herb encrusted portabella with sautéed spinach, toasted barley and pearl cous cous with truffle oil drizzle. 

  • The Corner House
    The Corner House is one of the favorite spots for locals to eat at in Racine, Wisconsin that has an excellent and extensive menu. One of their famous dishes is the prime rib along with other house specialties, and the steaks, seafood and lobster are equally delicious. The ambiance is down home and friendly. The specials are mouth watering dishes that will keep you filled for the day and keep that satisfied smile on your face. They run Sunday through Thursday with Friday and Saturday having their own. The Sun - Thurs include; steak Diane which is a strip sirloin sautéed with fresh mushrooms, garlic, red wine and Diablo sauce; steak beef tenderloin tips simmered in wine sauce with mushrooms and served on a bed of rice; filet of beef Siciliano in a skillet, topped with sautéed peppers, onions, mushrooms and lyonnaise potatoes; chicken dijonaise is a breast of chicken sautéed with broccoli flowerettes in a dijon cream mustard sauce; fresh chicken livers sautéed with onions and sherry; breaded pork tenderloin served with brown pork gravy and applesauce; beef Stroganoff is slices of tenderloin sautéed with mushrooms and onions, with a fold of sour cream, served with noodles; calves liver is served with crisp bacon and smothered in onions; salmon steak served with béarnaise sauce, and all entrees are served with soup, salad, potato and hot baked bread. Friday night specials include; brook trout pan fried or broiled with lemon parsley butter; fish fry fillet of cod in beer batter and tartar sauce; salmon steak with béarnaise sauce; Boston scrod is broiled with lemon wedge; lake perch is fried golden brown with tartar sauce and lemon wedge; catfish is pan fried or broiled with lemon; petite lobster tail broiled with drawn butter, or orange roughy oven broiled whitefish with a great flavor. Saturday's specials include; an appetizer trio of shrimp dijon, stuffed mushrooms with crabmeat, escargot with garlic butter, shallots, wine and herbs; steak colbert is a split filet mignon sautéed with red wine and Diablo sauce on rice pilaf; Caesar salad with romaine lettuce, coddled egg, anchovies, croutons and parmesan cheese; breast of chicken dijonaise; salmon steak with béarnaise sauce; orange roughy Francaise almondine sautéed in lemon butter sauce; veal Francaise sautéed in lemon butter sauce; fettuccine with shrimp and broccoli topped with Mornay sauce; steak au poivre with crushed peppercorns and wine sauce; lobster and steak is either a petite filet or prime rib; lobster tail; steak Diane.



Mussels at Sebastion's Racine, Wisconsin


Sebastion's filet Racine, Wisconsin


Grouper Sebastion's Racine, Wisconsin


Salmon Sebastion's Racine, Wisconsin 


Petite filet and lobster tail Corner House Racine, Wisconsin

Lobster tail Corner House Racine, Wisconsin

Split filet Corner House Racine, Wisconsin

Chicken Dijonaise Corner House Racine, Wisconsin


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  • Racine Zoo Racine Zoo Racine, Wisconsin
    Sitting on 32 acres of land along the shores of Lake Michigan, in Racine, Wisconsin, the Racine Zoo offers visitors over 70 species of animals, but more specifically on the species that are native to Wisconsin. There is a special room for the amphibians and reptiles that are indigenous to Wisconsin. Of course there are many animals from around the world, like the snow leopards, Masai giraffe, orangutans, black rhinos (like the one at the right), and Amur tigers. The giraffe's name is Twigga, and many of the animals are protected under the American Zoo and Aquarium Association's species survival plan. Since 1923, the zoo have been free and it was one of the first in the country; until 2007, when the economy declines have forced them to now start charging to view these beautiful animals in natural settings. There are other amenities that focus on the needs and delights of children, including; a playground, children's zoo and hands-on discover center; with all of it looking over a gorgeous beach. During the summer, the zoo has free Sunday band concerts and the Animal Crackers Jazz series. As of the summer of 2009, some of the many animals living here include; Ankole-Watusi cattle, red kangaroo, West Caucasian tur, wallaroo, white-handed gibbon, Arabian camel, Patagonian mara, straw-colored black lemur, black-handed spider monkey, Grant's zebra, Andean bear, Damara zebra, Canadian lynx, brown-nosed coati, skunk, meerkat and Transvaal lion. Birds include; red-billed blue magpie, African penguin, golden pheasant, marabou stork, cattle egret, western screech owl, white-breasted cormorant, European roller, Indian peafowl, black swan, bedgerigar, western rosella, cockatiel, yellow-crowned Amazon, helmeted guineafowl and Guam rail. 

  • Wind Point Light
    The Wind Point Lighthouse is at the north end of Racine harbor in the village of Wind Point, Wisconsin on Lighthouse Road. It rises 108 feet into the sky and is one of the oldest and tallest active lighthouses on the Great Lakes. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Designed by Orlando Metcalfe Poe and built in 1880, it was originally lit by a three-wicked kerosene lamp, magnified by a third-order Fresnel lens. It was changed to electric in 1924, and then a DCB-24R airport beacon replaced that light in 1964; and can be seen as far away as 19 miles. The signal house, garage, oil house and two outbuildings are still on the property and the village has maintained it since 1964. They use the old keepers' quarters for their police headquarters and village hall. The lighthouse went through a refurbishing in 2007, where the doors and windows replaced and brick repointed and the whole tower painted.

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  • River Bend Nature CenterRiver Bend Nature Center Racine, Wisconsin
    The nature center sits on 80 acres of natural landscapes along the shores of the Root River in Racine, Wisconsin and the trails are free. Fees and registration are for the programs and events that are held there. The landscape is made up of fields, wetlands and forests that give the many varieties of animals and plants a place to live and thrive; as well as a wonderful recreational area for nature students of all ages, bird watchers, cross-country skiers, hikers, bikers, canoeist and kayak enthusiasts. Each year over 10,000 local students come to the center to learn, watch and discover the many beautiful sights and sounds of this natural environment. They have a summer kids camp, maple sugaring event in April, canoe and kayak trips on the river, cross-country skiing, teambuilding and scouting programs, birthday parties and different building rentals. The nature center now is renting canoes and kayaks to individuals; but if you need or want a guide, you should make a reservation.   

  • Oak Clearing Farm & Museum
    Oak Clearings is an alluring 90 acre wooded property about 20 minutes from Racine, Wisconsin in the town of Yorkville. There are two creeks running through the farm, one on the north and one on the south, with bridges going over the creeks, and paths meandering into the woods. The natural environment is pristine, with large oak trees; one is 15 feet in circumference, along with white oak, burr oak and red oak. Also found in the forest are black cherry, willow, pine trees, walnut and maple trees with numerous ornamental plants abounding. Many acres are cross fenced for the horses to run and graze; as well as many historical buildings since the farm started in 1867. In 1988, the Oak Clearing Museum was started with the idea of starting a local historical attraction in the center of the county. The museum continues to evolve, with rotating exhibits about the early years of the county and all of its antiquities. These artifacts are the culmination of over 30 years of collecting by Gerald and Marie Karwowski, since Gerald is a well known local historian. He has spent that time gathering , filing and documenting the many thousands of items that pertain to the residents, businesses, places and events that have occurred in Racine county since its inception.

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May 11, 2011