The 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 the 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, is 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.

Sportsman's Show.  There are daily demonstrations of flycasting, Indian archery and field work with hunting dogs.  Trout fishing is available for fishing enthusiasts.

Flame-grilled steak is served in the Gay '90s cafeteria.  Banjo players and an old-fashioned nickelodeon provide music in the beer garden, where the menu offers a typical Wisconsin knackwurst lunch."

The Wisconsin pavilion as it appears today in its current home in Neillsville, Wisconsin.

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 as well as a cheese and gift shop.

During The Fair, the rotunda was a single-floor, completely open space.  When it was reconstructed in Wisconsin, a basement level (pretty much an inverted copy of the lobby structure) was added.  Stairs near the entrance to the pavilion take visitors 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 holds radio stations.  The upper floor houses the broadcast offices.  The new 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.

Another 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, a 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 a 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.

Chatty 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 you 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 knowledgeable of its history.  Using what resources they have, they have managed to keep this relic of the 1964-65 New York World's Fair looking great.

As 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 "Pavilion Cheese".

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 example, 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 expensive.

The structure, itself, however, has clearly been well preserved and in some cases upgraded.  Fans to circulate air 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.  

Overall, this 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 long way to letting them know how much their work to preserve this pavilion is appreciated.

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 a few souvenirs with the pavilion on it.  At the time of my visit, they had shirts, mugs, and a few specially labeled items like caramels.

Drop 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 around for generations to come!

Here are some photos I took during my visit to the Wisconsin pavilion in July of 2017.

Chatty 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!

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 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 ferris wheel...

Which they also have the toy for...and which appears to be in immaculate condition!  
I have that very same World's Fair edition Kodak camera! :)

An amazing paper and cardboard advertisement for the wonderful condition!

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 here!

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!!! do several other items like mugs, tee shirts, and candies!



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.

Visit the pavilion's official website 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 be 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 accordingly.

Remember...These wonderful experiences from the New York World's Fair are still around today thanks to the support of certain individuals or organizations.  While 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 3.5 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 life!  

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. :)

The 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!

Kevin Grap
Reesa Martin
Kristy Bronner
Nicole Desmond
Joe Desmond
Susan Tackett

This page is hereby dedicated to these individuals.