Thursday, September 13, 2007

Book Scouting in the Village that Time Forgot

Supposedly the main reason we went to the Cooksville, Wisconsin Fall Festival last Sunday was for book scouting purposes.

True, they have 3-4 tables full of used books for sale at the festival. Cooksville is a rural community and the festival isn't advertised in the Madison paper so it means I get the books to myself and don't have to share them with other dealers. Can't pass up on an opportunity like that.

In truth, however, I figured there was a good chance this could be a four hour vacation for me and my four daughters and we needed one. A trip to New England is out of question at this time but a trip to Cooksville is as good as a trip to a New England village.

The village green and mid-19th century homes make Cooksville "a wee bit of New England in Wisconsin." Most of Cooksville is listed in the National Historic Register. It was founded in 1842 before Wisconsin became a state. Its peak population was 200; now it's 67.

Anyway, we arrive and I immediately went to the book tables because I was here to work, right? I didn't find much. A bird book. The children's book Giants Come in Different Sizes by Jolly Roger Bradfield. Not much, but those two books will pay for the lunch and other incidental expenses we had that day.

Speaking of lunch, it was typical midwestern fare served in the church basement: hot dogs/burgers/brats, baked beans and chips:

There was a square dancing performance while the girls decorated cookies and made crafts:

And my favorite part: The village green. It is a large, open green space surrounded by brick and stone homes in the Greek Revival and Gothic Revival styles. No play equipment, no benches, no picnic tables, just wide open space. Aaahhh:

It's hard to narrow it down to just a few photos of the brick houses but I'll try:

The original house built by the two Cook brothers in 1842:

This is the General Store, still standing and in full operation, with a functional gas pump on the front porch. On the inside there is no blaring TV and no blaring radio, like modern convenience stores always have. The only noise was the creaky wood floors:

The children thought it was necessary to purchase Cow Tales candy. It's a vintage candy but I had never heard of it before even though I was raised in Wisconsin:

It would've been extra cool if I had found some rare, valuable book there, but it's nice, at least, that what little we found will pay for the expenses of this mini vacation.

I wonder if this February I could travel to Hawaii and find enough used books there to pay for the trip....
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved the story. The photos, too.


4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to go to Cooksville! It's a movie set waiting to happen. Love the photos, too!

9:18 AM  
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10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed Cooksville! We have lived here for the past 6 years and it's truly a little slice of heaven. Hope you come back to visit us again!

6:55 PM  

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