Friday, January 21, 2011
All About Fondy
For those of you who don't live in Wisconsin, "Fondy" is the endearing name we call Fond du Lac. I am not a native Fond du Lacian but I've been here for nearly 15 years and I'm pretty sure we're staying for the long haul, since Brian and his brother Rick's business is here.
I'll admit that I didn't think much about Fondy when my first husband Dan and I moved here back in October of '96. I was very sad to leave all my friends and family in Green Bay and it seemed like Fond du Lac didn't have anything unique to offer.
Of course, that turned out to be a wrong assumption. I have met so many wonderful people here! Fondy has a top-notch community theatre and arts center and for a town of 40,000 it has so much more to offer than you'd think. Our downtown is thriving and is growing and expanding every year. We have a fantastic library with an art gallery that our group, Fond du Lac Visual Arts, curates. There is something to do here nearly every single weekend of the year, and we have festivals year-round (this weekend is Chocolate Fantasy!).
I would've loved to have seen Fond du Lac in its earlier years, though. I recently found these old FDL artifacts that made me even more curious.
Take this Huber Bros. trading stamps booklet, for example - wouldn't it be neat if we could see what the pharmacy looked like? The copyright on the booklet is 1936, so it's 75 years old. From doing a little digging I know that the pharmacy was around before the turn of the 20th century and that the Huber family actually manufactured some of the drugs themselves (not uncommon back then). I don't know when they went out of business, but it was before I moved here.
The letterhead from Universal Blade Service has to be pretty old too, considering the phone number is only four digits! I got these sheets from Old Stuff Only, a marvelous online wholesaler, who thinks the letterhead might be from the Twenties. That sounds about right. The shop was on Morris Street which is in a pretty industrial part of town. There are still some businesses that operate there but as with every city in the US, so much is gone.
I think Fondy is entering a renaissance period of sorts - we're creating an Arts District in our downtown and going full speed ahead in that arena. People are opening niche shops on Main Street - always a good sign. I want more Wisconsinites to discover how many things Fondy has to offer!
Here is an ATC I did as an homage to Fondy. I tried to cram as much Fondy-related ephemera as I could: a Schreiner's sugar packet (if you visit Fondy, you HAVE to eat at Schreiner's - it's in the town charter. Okay, it's not, but it should be - it's an institution!), a snippet from a vintage postcard showing the Dorcas Chapel at Marian University (formerly Marian College - and that chapel is either revered or reviled. No in-between feelings.), a ticket from Lakeside Park, a gorgeous park right on huge Lake Winnebago (home of Walleye Weekend, [which is why I have the stamped image on there too] and the Holiday Light Show); The FDLCT logo from one of the show programs; and the logo from our paper (and my former employer), The Reporter.
I hope you like where you live as much as I do! :D