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The Badger State Part 2: Green Bay

Updated: Feb 9


My second stop in The Badger State was in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and the first thing I learned about the city is that it is the "Toilet Paper Capital" of the world. Northern Paper Mill was founded in Green Bay in 1901. Renamed, Northern Tissue, it became the largest manufacturer of toilet paper in the world in 1920. In 1935, Northern Tissue invented the first, splinter-free toilet paper. Yes, toilet paper apparently had splinters, once upon a time. That is one more thing I can say I am grateful to have not experienced.

The city of Green Bay is named after a part of Lake Michigan known as ... you guessed it ... the Green Bay.  It was originally called Baie des Puants, meaning "Bay of the Bad Odors," because the stagnant water was filled with malodorous, green algae.  


Green Bay Packers

With a current population of just over 330,000, Green Bay is the smallest city to host an NFL team. As I do when I travel somewhere new, I asked many locals to give me a list of the not-to-miss attractions. Across the board, they all told me to visit Lambeau Field, the football stadium of the Green Bay Packers. This response piqued my curiosity, as I have never had locals tell me to visit a football stadium, or any other sports arena, unless of course, there was an event taking place.

Curly Lambeau Statue

What I discovered when I got to Lambeau Field, also known as the "Frozen Tundra," was that it wasn't so much the stadium itself, but the city's pride in their football team, that led to the recommendation from so many Green Bay residents. The Green Bay Packers, for those like me who didn't know, are the only, non-profit, publicly owned, football team in the country.

Vince Lombardi Statue

The Packers hold the record for the most league championships in the NFL. Of their 13 titles and four Super Bowl victories, five championships, including two Super Bowl victories, were achieved under renowned coach, Vince Lombardi, whose statue stands prominently near the stadium's entrance.

Lambeau Field isn't the only place in Green Bay where the Packers are honored. In downtown Green Bay, you can celebrate the Packers on the three-mile, Heritage Trail City Walk. Among other things, you will see the birthplace of the Green Bay Packers, Curly Lambeau's childhood home and 25 bronze plaques commemorating the journey of the Packers.

Brown County Courthouse

If football does not interest you, the city offers other things to see. For example, the Brown County Courthouse, which is a three-story, Beaux Arts style building with a Marquette raindrop stone face, a copper-covered dome, a bell, and a clock tower. When the courthouse was constructed in 1911, it was called "the grandest courthouse in the west." If you drop by when the courthouse is open, take a quick tour to see Franz Rohrbeck's, hand-painted murals, dating back to 1910.

Spirit of the Northwest

Just outside of the courthouse, is a 1922 sculpture by Sidney Bedore, depicting a Fox Native American, Jesuit missionary, and French explorer. In 1664, when the explorer arrived in Green Bay, and in 1668 when the missionary did the same, Native Americans had already been living in Wisconsin for approximately 10,000 years.


The Automobile Gallery

My next stop was at the Automobile Gallery, which was closed when I arrived. After learning that I was only in town for a short time, the kind staff let me in nevertheless, and allowed me to explore the gallery for over an hour. Of the more than 70, classic cars I saw, the ones below were my favorites.

1981 Ferrari 308 GTSi

There were certainly more expensive Ferraris made, but none is more famous than this one. If you were a fan of the CBS television show, Magnum P.I., I am sure you recognize it. From 1980-1988, fans tuned in to see Thomas Magnum, played by Tom Selleck, drive this red Ferrari around the island of Oahu, Hawaii, and solve crimes.

1964 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III

The Rolls Royce also graced T.V. screens in the 1980s on the famous, original, Grey Poupon mustard commercial.

If you haven't seen the classic commercial, take a peak and you will understand why the cleverly placed jar of Grey Poupon, in the back seat of this Rolls Royce, had me laughing and reminiscing.

1981 DeLorean DMC-12 Gull Wing Coupe

To round out the fabulous 80's, who can forget this iconic car that was immortalized in the 1985 film, Back to the Future? The moment I saw this car, I smiled and thought of the scene where Doc Brown unveils the car to Marty McFly in a mall parking lot.

1918 Dort Speedster

While the 1980's may seem like a long time ago, there were much older cars at the Automobile Gallery. Much, much older. For example, this beauty that was created by two high school dropouts, William Durant and J. Dallas Dort. The duo founded the Durant-Dort Carriage Company in 1886 and by the turn of the century, Durant Dort was the largest carriage manufacturer in the U.S. Never heard of them? Perhaps you know the company by its other name - General Motors Corporation.

1914 Ford Model T Touring Car

When the Model T first went on sale in 1908, the cost was $825. In 1927, when it ended production, the car was a mere $360 dollars and was owned by over 15 million Americans. Thus, Henry Ford is credited with building the first "common car for the common man."

1917 Milburn

Long before Tesla, there were many, many others. In fact, by 1900, electric cars comprised around one third of all vehicles on the road. The Milburn Wagon Company was one producer of the fully electric vehicle. This 1917 electric car was one of the most popular and lightweight of its time.

2010 Morgan Aero SuperSport

Moving on to some more recent cars, this 2010 vehicle is one of only 200 ever produced. Morgan has been making vehicles since 1909 and is heralded for their blend of "old-world craftsmanship and out-of-this-world styling and performance."

No. 20 Sonax Indy Car

This car made its appearance during the 2000 Indy Car Season and has a generous Indy 500 portfolio. It can reach speeds of more than 220 miles per hour!

2020 Ford GT

Lastly, this car is the grandchild of the legendary, Ford GT 40 which broke Ferrari's winning streak at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the 1960's, making it the first American car to win a badge on European soil since 1921.

The car was purchased in 2020 for $750,000. Today, it is worth over two million dollars and only has 12 miles on it. This was the most expensive car I saw during my visit to the Automobile Gallery in Green Bay.


Angelina

While in Green Bay, I ate at various restaurants, but the standout was Angelina Restaurant, run by a woman named, Angelina. Angelina immigrated to the United States from Italy in 1993. Disappointed after tasting what passed for Italian cuisine in the U.S., she set out to open a restaurant that serves authentic, Italian cuisine, and she succeeded.

Bucatini all' Amatriciana

Guanciale, Garlic, Onion, Crushed Red Hot Peppers, White Wine, Tomato Sauce

Black Cherry Gelato

My meal, which I enjoyed on the cozy, outdoor patio, was absolutely delicious. I recommend this restaurant to anyone who is visiting Green Bay.


That wraps up my time in Green Bay. Next up on my Wisconsin adventure, is my visit to Door County, on the shores of beautiful, Lake Michigan. I hope you'll stay tuned.

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