Because your favorite weekly newspaper is based in a college town, readers know the concept of “déjà vu,” the feeling you’re someplace you’ve been before that moment.
My four years of high school French have failed to reveal to me the correct phrase for feeling where you’re someplace you’ve been before, but you’re watching your children doing the same thing you may have been doing.
I’ve had that feeling when I’ve been watching our oldest son march in the Platteville Middle School Band in five different parades this year. He’s emulating his mother, who marched in the Lancaster middle and high school bands zigzagging their way across southwest Wisconsin’s favorite parades.
As a seventh-grade marcher, he’s already marched in more parades than I did when I was in high school. Our lone parade each year was our Homecoming parade, such as it was, on a few streets around our far East Side Madison high school.
Saturday’s parade was also amusing in that the only one of the family who didn’t march was the University of Wisconsin Marching Band alumnus. (The UW Band generally marches in one parade per year, Homecoming, plus marching to and from Camp Randall Stadium, hats backward to look back on another Badger win.) Our youngest son marched with the Cub Scouts, our daughter marched with the Brownies, and their mother was a chaperone/emergency uniform fixer with the band. That left me to get photos.
I had two people ask me Saturday why I wasn’t in the parade. If I was in the parade, in addition to probably encountering someone with a loud voice who doesn’t like my work, the view is pretty much the same for those in a parade — the same entry in front of you and behind you for the entire parade.
I’ve had a sort of déjà vu feeling every time I watch a Platteville High School football game because the Hillmen’s colors — “cardinal” (the football version of which looks more like maroon to me) and silver/gray — are my high school’s colors. Two differences are that (1) the Hillmen play in a far, far nicer stadium than Warner Park in Madison (though that is an exceedingly low standard — off the top of my head I can’t think of any southwest Wisconsin football stadium worse than Warner Park), and (2) the Hillmen win more often than they lose, which cannot be said about my alma mater in the early 1980s. (To wit: In four years, three, one, one and four football wins.)
Main Street was part of the original U.S. 151, and that segues into my next thought, which occurred to me after I read the U.S. 151 column I wrote two issues ago. My description of the original 151 route — from west to east, Chestnut Street, Main Street and Mineral Street — was incomplete since Main Street and Mineral Street don’t connect. I assume based on the current city street layout that they’ve never connected, so I conclude that the fourth street in the mix is probably Broadway (also known as Grant County B) to connect East Main and East Mineral. Road design in the old days: A big hill up Chestnut past B&B Service, a hard right onto Main, veer left onto Broadway, veer right onto Mineral, and go down and up the hill, and there is your U.S. highway.
If you drive south of the Platte Mound on West Mound Road, you will encounter at least two and possibly all three versions of 151 — the present four-lane, the previous two-lane (now County XX), and a road that on at least one map is listed as Old 151. It’s a dead-end east of West Mound Road, and Evergreen Road west of West Mound. Grant County has other roads whose names begin with “Old,” including Old Lancaster Road west of Platteville (one assumes the previous route of Wisconsin 81), Old Highway Road (which serves as the west frontage road of U.S. 61/151 south of Kieler), Old County B (which connects U.S. 61 and current County B around Rockville) and others.
What was U.S. 151 in the days when Ed’s Café was open all night to serve those who with the post-bar time munchies is now Business 151, a category of highway that, as you’d expect, is usually used for former versions of upgraded roads. Businesses that have addresses on Business 151 are on either East Business 151 or West Business 151. Google Maps also claims that Business 151 is also called “Dubuque Road,” though I have yet to see a Dubuque Road address in print.
At the risk of igniting chaos in the post office and forcing every Business 151 business to have to redo stationery, business cards and so on, shouldn’t Business 151 have more of a marketing-friendly name than just Business 151?
Unfortunately, that’s as far as I can suggest, since a few logical names are already taken, including Mound View Drive or Southwest Road. UW–Platteville’s news release about the new Pioneer Pete brought up a term I hadn’t read since middle school geography — “monadnock,” an isolated rock hill, ridge or mountain that rises abruptly from surrounding plain. The Platte Mound is a monadnock.
I suspect that naming Business 151 Monadnock Road would only lead to a combination of misspellings and inquiries about who Mr. Monadnock was. On the other hand, that could be an alternate explanation for the big M on the mound. Since Cardinals, Hillmen, Pioneers, Woodchucks and Merchants have been previously taken, that could be the nickname for a future athletic team. I could, I suppose, change the title of this column to “View from the Monadnock,” except that the writing takes places to the west, with a view of the Monadnock, not from the Monadnock.
(How do these items in this column go together? Parades on Main Street follow the old one-way path from west to east, after, one assumes, 151 moved from downtown to the south side. All three versions of 151 had to go to the south of the Platte Monadnock — I mean, Mound.)