Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

My impressions of East Ellsworth, Wisconsin November 18, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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A section of East Ellsworth's compact business district.

A section of East Ellsworth’s compact business district.

I DON’T KNOW QUITE HOW to describe East Ellsworth. It’s not a separate town of its own, as far as I can determine, but the eastern side of Ellsworth, Wisconsin.

Love the original bar name and signage.

Love the original bar name and signage.

Jaspers Eastender Bar & Grill.

Jasper’s Eastender Bar & Grill.

East Ellsworth is heavy on the drinking establishments with at least four bars within a stone’s throw of each other. My husband and I didn’t venture inside any of them on the October weekday afternoon we visited this community. But plenty of vehicles lined the streets, causing us to wonder where all those folks might be. Inside the bars?

Wisconsinites love their Packers as evidenced by this sign on the corner Packers bar, painted green and gold.

Wisconsinites love their Packers as evidenced by this sign on a corner bar, painted green and gold.

Packers' colors prevail even on the exterior of this corner bar.

Packers’ colors prevail even on the exterior of this corner bar.

Not that that’s good or bad. I’m just saying that as outsiders viewing East Ellsworth for the first time, we got the sense that this could be a pretty wild place on a weekend evening or during a Sunday afternoon Packers game.

Another shot of the East Ellsworth business district.

Another shot of the East Ellsworth business district.

Words like rugged and hardscrabble pop into my thoughts.

Businesses besides bars exist in East Ellsworth.

Businesses besides bars exist in East Ellsworth.

How's this for an exterior bar attraction.

How’s this for an exterior bar attraction.

This sign in a storefront window grabbed my attention. So small townish...

This sign in a storefront window grabbed my attention. So small townish…

We observed a business district that appeared rough around the edges. Grass wedged between spaces in the cracked and uneven sidewalk. Orange traffic barrels leaning. Pavement that looked more jigsaw puzzle than street. Aged buildings, some in need of paint touch-ups. The whole area appeared tired and worn.

I should clarify that this assessment should not be taken as harshly critical, simply as an honest reaction. First impressions can be powerful.

The Big Cheezy seems a fitting name for a business in cheese-producing Wisconsin.

The Big Cheezy seems a fitting name for a business in cheese-producing Wisconsin.

Even though my eyes noted the roughness, my spirit appreciates East Ellsworth. This place possesses small town Americana character. Strength of individuality, not found in cookie cutter chain businesses, exists here. I will take an East Ellsworth any day over a strip mall along a four-lane in Most Anywhere, USA.

What's not to love about this business sign?

Simple signage like this possesses a certain charm.

How about you?

FYI: Click here to read my previous post about Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery and its famous cheese curds.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling