Wisconsin pavilion as it appeared
during the World's Fair.
"The Indian heritage of the Badger State provided the inspiration for
the modern tepee that houses this exhibit. The displays tell
stories of Wisconsin's farms, industries, and great outdoors.
Outside the pavilion, experts demonstrate fishing and archery
techniques. A 17-ton cheese, said to be the world's largest,
displayed on a huge, air-conditioned van, protected by chromium and
glass. A cafeteria and a beer garden are located in the area,
which is set amid pine trees.
Show. There are daily demonstrations of flycasting, Indian
archery and field work with hunting dogs. Trout fishing is
available for fishing enthusiasts.
steak is served in the Gay '90s cafeteria. Banjo players and
old-fashioned nickelodeon provide music in the beer garden, where the
menu offers a typical Wisconsin knackwurst lunch."
Wisconsin pavilion as it appears today in its current home in
At the conclusion of the New York World's Fair, the pavilion was
purchased by Ivan Wilcox, a resident of the Wisconsin town of Boscabel.
Unable to reassemble the pavilion due to unexpected costs, he
sold the pavilion to Central Wisconsin Broadcasting, who reconstructed
it in Neillsville. There, it would house a new radio station
well as a cheese and gift shop.
The Fair, the rotunda was a single-floor,
completely open space. When it was reconstructed in
basement level (pretty much an inverted copy of the lobby structure)
was added. Stairs near the entrance to the pavilion take
down to a sunken garden which wraps around the outside of the basement
level. The original
pavilion structure was placed on top of this new basement level.
Inside the original rotunda, the back half of
the building was divided into two floors. The ground floor
stations. The upper floor houses the broadcast offices.
basement level holds stock rooms, restrooms, a small exhibit of
privately-owned World's Fair
memorabilia, and historical photos of the pavilion in its early years.
part of the original New York World's Fair exhibit, the "World's
Largest Cheese" also had made its way to the newly-erected pavilion in
Wisconsin. Displayed on a glass and chrome enclosed flatbed,
replica of the original cheese was placed on display next to the
pavilion. The real cheese had been cut up and sold as part of
fundraiser for a local boys band in Eau Claire shortly after the Fair
had ended, so a replica was commissioned to be displayed. The
original truck and the replica cheese had become severely damaged by
the elements, were removed in 2005, and are no longer on display.
Belle, the "World's Largest Talking Cow", stands between the pavilion
and the concrete pad where the World's Largest Cheese once stood.
If you drop a quarter in the box in front of her, she'll tell
a quick story about the pavilion and how it travelled all the way from
the New York World's Fair.
This World's Fair pavilion is very active as a
cheese and gift
shop which sells local dairy products and Wisconsin-themed souvenirs.
The owners are very aware of its significance and
of its history. Using what resources they have, they have
to keep this relic of the 1964-65 New York World's Fair looking great.
proof of their respect for the history of this pavilion, several
merchandise items feature an image of the building along with "1964-65
New York World's Fair Wisconsin Pavilion" on it. Their cheese
labels also include an image of the pavilion along with the words
The paint on the pavilion is difficult to
maintain due to the general design of the building, so paint work isn't
necessarily done on a regular basis. The roof paint, for
is left to deteriorate until it gets to a point where it would make the
best financial sense to spend the money on having someone come out with
specialized equipment to strip and repaint it...which can get pretty
The structure, itself, however, has clearly been
well preserved and in some cases upgraded. Fans to circulate
in the rotunda were installed, original lighting fixtures have been
maintained, the tile murals surrounding the base of the original
structure (which depict Wisconsin's original inhabitants, Native
Americans) have been well preserved.
pavilion is being lovingly cared for in order to ensure it is around
for future generations' enjoyment and the owners should be applauded!
If you are ever in Wisconsin, regardless of
the drive it would
take to get there (I drove 3.5 hours West from a convention just to visit
and buy cheese before driving back 5 hours East to my hotel in Chicago that
night), I highly recommend you visit the pavilion. The
owners, Kevin and Peggy, are exceptionally friendly and love meeting
people who understand the
significance of the building. Just visiting them would go a
way to letting them know how much their work to preserve this pavilion
Buy their local cheese products. I
can tell you from personal experience that it is the most amazing
cheese I have ever had in my life (I'm not regularly a cheese
person...but oh this cheese is making me a changed man!). Buy
few souvenirs with the pavilion on it. At the time of my
they had shirts, mugs, and a few specially labeled items like caramels.
a quarter into Chatty Belle's box and let her tell you the story of the
pavilion. Help support this local attraction so it can be
for generations to come!
Here are some photos I took during my visit to the Wisconsin pavilion
in July of 2017.
Belle, the "World's Largest Talking Cow", stands near the Wisconsin
pavilion at its current home in Neillsville, Wisconsin. Drop
a quarter into Chatty Belle's box and let her tell you about how the
pavilion came to be located here after serving as the representative
structure for the state at the
1964-65 New York World's Fair!
At The Fair, the pavilion was a single-story structure with vaulted
ceilings. When it was reinstalled in Wisconsin, a lower level
was designed to mirror the main floor/original structure.
Around that lower level, a sunken garden with fountains and
inspirational messages was installed to provide a respite for visitors.
Around what would be the base of the original pavilion, the original
tile murals which depict Wisconsin's "native" inhabitants has been
lovingly cared for. Each panel has a different set of "Native
American" characters. Not too many people realize that the
building, itself, was meant to be a space-age representation of a
tepee, or Native American tent. You can see the glass roof through the
window with it's repeating "W" motif in tinted glass. The
colors are actually a little reversed from when it was installed during
the fair, due to an unfortunate mishap when the glass roof was being
shipped back to Wisconsin.
When the pavilion was installed in Wisconsin, the radio station studios
occupied the back half of the original rotunda building. To
accommodate more modern operations, an extension was build off of the
back of the original building. As you can see, they saved the
tile mural from the section where the addition now connects to the
original building. If you ask me, that's dedication. :)
To the right, you see an entry door and partially-enclosed bridge which leads into
the rotunda. To the center and out of frame at the bottom of the photo are the stone steps
which lead you down and to the right...into the sunken garden.
Let's step down into the sunken gardens and take a look...
A plaque welcomes us to the sunken gardens, followed by three terraced
fountains. Each fountain has a matching plaque. The
first reads "Health". The next reads "Wealth". The
last and lowest fountain reads "Love". They add a kinetic and
audio element to the garden which makes it exceptionally peaceful.
Benches around the base of the building provide places to relax while
you enjoy the garden. In the garden, you'll find fun little
surprises like glass flowers, small statues of animals and insects, and
other artistic additions. The world around you seems to
disappear when you're down there. It's very refreshing!
Let's head inside and check out the rotunda!
WISCONSIN-A-RAMA!!! JACKPOT!!! CHEESE AND SOUVENIRS GALORE!!!
And don't even get me started on the amazing architecture!!!
Okay... We *are* gonna talk about the amazing architecture!
Look at the roof! The "W" motif is beautiful!
If you head up the stairs to the upper level, which was added when the
pavilion was reconstructed in Wisconsin as offices for the radio
station, you'll find the original architectural model of the pavilion.
It has a list of specifications for the building as it
currently stands, but the model represents what the rotunda looked like
during The Fair.
Near the model, they have binders of historical photos of the pavilion
during its reconstruction in Neillsville as well as documents which
have been filed to have it recognized for its historical value to
popular culture, the State of Wisconsin, and it's value as a unique
piece of architecture.
Some of the captions are quite hilarious! One photo shows a
man using the letters from the tower to spell out "WISCONSIN", and they
called it a "spelling test".
"Giant couw (sic) looks on as construction continues in late
September"... I can't stop laughing!
There's also a bit of vintage ephemera in the binder...like this ad.
A map of the 1964-65 New York World's Fair, showing the original
location of the pavilion, is also included in the book.
Speaking of the New York World's Fair...
Let's head downstairs to the basement level to view their collection of
privately-owned memorabilia from the 1964-65 New York World's Fair!!!
At the bottom of the stairs, you are greeted by this original poster
from The Fair.
I can't tell you how big my smile was at seeing this!
Down a short hallway, past stockrooms and offices, you'll find two
good-sized cabinets filled with memorabilia from the pavilion and The
Fair. There's also a wall of photos on the right from the
pavilion's early days in Neillsville.
The photos are crisp and clear and full of vintage amazingness!!!
In one of the cabinets, a complete set of Sinclair Dinosaur Mold-A-Ramas!
I was about to die!
A commemorative plaque from The Fair celebrating Wisconsin Day at the
Fair...along with a photo of the pavilion as it stood at The Fair.
Behind and in the distance, you see the US Rubber tire-shaped
Which they also have the toy for...and which appears to be in
I have that very same World's Fair edition Kodak camera! :)
An amazing paper and cardboard advertisement for the Fair...in
There was a lot more memorabilia to see, but I really want you to see
the amazing CHEESE SELECTION and PAVILION GIFTS they have available
The cheese selection goes on for days and days! Several cases
of locally-produced cheeses!
And check out their labels! They have the pavilion on them!!!
...as do several other items like mugs, tee shirts, and candies!
I scored this NEW VINTAGE HOUZE ART DISH OF THE PAVILION!!!!!!!!!
...And ALL THE CHEEEEEEEEEEEESE!!!!
Thanks for joining me for this visit to yet another pavilion from the
1964-65 New York World's Fair!
Neillsville, Wisconsin is a small town in the heart of the state.
It's about a 3.5 hour drive from Milwaukee along beautiful
highways. You'll pass through the Wisconsin Dells on your way
there, and there are plenty of exciting waterparks and nature
attractions to explore on your way to the Wisconsin pavilion.
and be sure to reach out to them via their e-mail link should you
decide to plan a visit. Their stated hours of operation can
flexible based on when someone is working at the radio station.
Let them know you're excited about visiting this World's Fair
pavilion and request the updated hours so you can plan your visit
wonderful experiences from the New York World's Fair are still around
today thanks to the support of certain individuals or organizations.
visiting these relics from The Fair, be sure to ask how you get
involved to help ensure they
remain part of our world! You might just be able to become an
important part of the legacy of the New York World's Fair, too!
Enjoy this short video of myself with Chatty
Belle during my
visit to the Wisconsin pavilion in 2017. I had just driven
hours from Milwaukee, spent a little over an hour inside the pavilion
looking through historical documents and checking out the building, and
talking with the most hospitable person I have ever met in my
I don't normally like to record myself on video,
but I was on "cloud 9" at the time I recorded this and felt compelled
to be in the video. :)
following individuals contributed towards making it possible for me to
visit and document this relic of the 1964-65 New York World's Fair.
I'd like to take a moment to thank them for
helping make my
dream to personally visit the remaining parts of the New York World's
Fair pavilions come true!
This page is hereby dedicated to these