Point Basse is the French term for “low point” or “shallows.” For thousands of years, the Native Americans had a trail that ran east and west across the state from Lake Poygan to Black River Falls. They chose Point Basse as the point at which the trail crossed the Wisconsin River. 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. Historic Point Basse offers the opportunity for those who want to make a contribution to their community a chance to do so. We need volunteers who can… * serve as a guide * serve as a costumed re-enactor * do maintenance * have skills for building and restoring historic buildings, furniture, and tools * provide clerical skills * sew and design costumes I love Point Basse. Many times I go walking on the grounds situated on the beautiful Wisconsin River. The atmosphere is designed for reflection and a prevading sense of peace. Open to the public and loved by many in our community. It's also a great place to take photos! The Blacksmith ShopIn the early frontier days, the blacksmith was the heart of the community. Point Basse Inc recreated the blacksmith shop seen in this photo. A talented local blacksmith sets up shop here on festival days.