On June 2, 1837, Robert and Mary Wakely and their two young sons--Chauncey and Robert--arrived at Point Basse on a keelboat that had been poled up the Wisconsin River from Portage City (now Portage). Two years before, they had left their home in New York. The Wakelys found a wilderness basically untouched by the white hand. They began building their dream for their new life on the frontier. They built a trading post, a warehouse, an inn and a home for themselves and their family. Mary was the third white woman to brave this frontier area.
As early as 1846, the Wakely family is reputed to have owned a dozen or so buildings but today only one still exists. All others have burned, been moved, or suffered some other ill fate. Soon after the acquisition of the "Wakely House," a one-room schoolhouse and a log cabin were donated and brought to Point Basse. The Columbia School now doubles as our visitor center complete with restrooms and a kitchen. The log cabin is very rustic and well suited as a setting for our Fur Trade interpretation.
The lives of eleven Wakely family members and their contemporaries are interpreted on the grounds at various events.
The Citizens of Point Basse host open-house affairs, with the focus on historic and nature education. However, they are available for other public appearances any time provided advanced arrangements are made.