‘Exploring down under in the driftless’

Today the Dubuque Telegraph Herald ran reporter Michelle London’s interview with me on Minnesota Underground: A Guide to Caves & Karst, Mines & Tunnels and Wisconsin Underground: A Guide to Caves, Mines and Tunnels In and Around the Badger State. A sidebar features six sites in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin–all within easy day-trip range of Dubuque.

Good News!

Family historians who pause now and then to read genealogical fiction are cheering the announcement that Wisconsin author Kathleen Ernst has found a new publishing home for her Chole Elefson mystery series. The series follows the heroine’s adventures in solving mysteries set in various historic sites, from Old World Wisconsin to Pendarvis. Number 11 in the series, The Weaver’s Revenge, is expected to appear in spring 2021 from Three Towers Press, an imprint of Henschel Haus Publishing, Milwaukee.

            Ernst worked at Old World Wisconsin for a dozen years, wrote educational programs for public television, and authored award-winning children’s books for American Girl, as well as the Chole Elefson series. Her research delves deep, including travel, ethnic handwork, and cooking that bring a time and place to life and add credibility to her written words.

A Book in Hand

•Doris CAVES book cover-1What a joy to come home yesterday to find the eagerly awaited carton at our back door! The feeling of this book in hand powers connections with all the mines, tunnels, and caves ever visited, especially those in our neighboring state of Minnesota.

Coauthored with Greg Brick, PhD., Minnesota Underground: Caves & Karst, Mines & Tunnels is available from the publisher with free shipping until Dec. 15.

Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books

Doris is excited to speak about Wisconsin caves on a panel, “Nature–Our Home,” at 4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 2, during the 10th Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books. The panel also features Marcia Bjornerud, geologist and author of Timefulness, and Michael Edmonds, historian and author of Taking Flight.

This is the 10th anniversary year of the Festival, which welcomes readers of all ages to the UW-Milwaukee at Waukesha, 1500 N. University Drive. There is no cost for most sessions. Learn more at www.sewibookfest.com.

Also, remember to register for Jerry Dorsheid’s presentation of late 20th-century slides from the Neda Mine. The presentation is set for Tuesday, Nov. 5, beginning at 7 p.m. in Arena, Wisconsin. Information: contact Doris at greenknightd@outlook.com.

The Bat Show: Nov. 5 in Arena

Jerry Dorsheid, who currently serves on the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board, will present 30 slides from the 1996 Neda Mine Bat Project. The former iron mine is located in the Niagara Escarpment near Mayville.

 When: Tuesday, November 5, beginning at 7 p.m.

 Where: Arena, Wisconsin.

 RSVP & Directions: Email greenknightd@outlook.com. Space is limited.

Fall Presentations: ‘Wisconsin Underground’

What a cool, colorful season to talk with readers interested in caves, mines, tunnels, family history, and other passages to adventure! Looking forward to meeting and learning from folks at these events:

  • Monday, September 23, 7 p.m., Kiel Public Library
  • Tuesday, September 24, 10 a.m., Caestecker Public Library, Green Lake
  • Monday, October 7, 2 p.m., Neenah Public Library
  • Thursday, October 10, 12 p.m., Fond du Lac Public Library women’s group
  • Saturday – Sunday, October 19 – 20, Wyoming Valley School, Spring Green

Whether it’s an unusual geologic feature, local history tale, or genealogy mystery, come ready to listen and share if desired. Books available for purchase and signing following the PowerPoint presentations.

palisades square



Wonder Cave

Cave exterior lo-res

Wish I’d visited Wonder Cave in time to include it in Wisconsin Underground: A Guide to Caves, Mines, and Tunnels In and Around the Badger State.

Rudolph Grotto Gardens and Wonder Cave fulfilled Fr. Philip Wagner’s promise to Mary, years after he experienced a healing at Lourdes. Construction of the glass- and tile-embellished rock grotto began in 1919. A single corkscrew-like passage with several stairways begins near the bottom of the man-made mound and winds to the top and back down before exiting on the other side of the rock mound. The low, narrow one-fifth mile pathway passes by numerous niches and alcoves filled with statues and religious messages.

Location: Rudolph, Wisconsin (near Wisconsin Rapids). Cost to tour cave: $3; no cost to tour gardens.

cave passage lo-res

Bunnies and Book Talks

Some summers bring raccoons or woodchucks everywhere. This summer, the numbers of bunnies bopping across the road in front of my car make driving on township roads feel like dodging kernels inside of a popcorn popper.

Like the fireflies and the season’s first glimpse of an antlered buck, the bunnies distract me. Still, I’m looking forward to talking about Wisconsin Underground: A Guide to Caves, Mines, and Tunnels at these libraries:

And bunnies have their place, too.

Thanks to Libraries, a Reviewer, Readers

Here’s to all readers who engaged in discussions at recent library book talks and taught me much! From a report of Westby cave items now housed at the Smithsonian to a tour of haunted subterranean spaces at Bong State Recreation Area, I have plenty of leads to follow up on new Wisconsin Underground sites.

Thanks, too, to Joel Patenaude for his review of Elsie’s Story in Madison Magazine. The books may be published, but the discussions and explorations continue…