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Fox River Hotel

Learn about the history of the Fox River Hotel, 213-217 E. Main St., and other historic sites in Downtown Waterford on May 24 when Absolutely Waterford kicks off its Heritage Walking Tour.

Submitted by Waterford Area Local History Collection

WATERFORD — Step into the past during National Historic Preservation Month with Absolutely Waterford on Thursday, May 24, when volunteers debut the village’s first self-guided Heritage Walking Tour.

For several years, volunteers from the Main Street organization have been busy researching Waterford’s early years and are ready to celebrate some of the places that have helped to frame the village as it is today.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 5 p.m. at Waterford Public Library, 101 N. River St. Don Houston, village president, will formally honor the historic sites included on the tour with an official proclamation.

Village founder Samuel Chapman, portrayed by researcher Bob Gariepy, will do the honor of cutting the ribbon to commemorate the tour. Participants are then invited to visit each site using brochures complete with a map and QR codes that link to individual web pages.

Sites are marked by classic bronze plaques that identify them by their historic names and dates. Using the plaque information, participants are invited to join in a scavenger hunt for historic facts for a chance at a unique prize.

Event volunteers will be on hand at each site until 8 p.m. to collect game sheets and offer information about the dedicated places. Refreshments will be served in the library’s community room throughout the event.

“We are excited to bring the Heritage Walk to our community and proud of the work we put in to make it a reality,” said Dawn Jurgensen, Absolutely Waterford president. “Together we are working to promote our downtown district and instill more community pride by educating locals and visitors about our rich past.”

Included on the free walk are: Mealy’s Funeral Home, 225 W. Main St.; Enve Salon and Day Spa, 212 W. Main St.; Simple Rustic Detail, 102 E. Main St.; Dubis Law Office, 208 E. Main St.; Art’s Town Tap, 234 E. Main St.; Waterford Area Chamber of Commerce, 300 E. Main St.; Café 213 and Rendezvous Jewelers, 213-217 E. Main St.; St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 300 S. First St.; and The Rail Stop Saloon, 600 E. Main St.

According to Jurgensen, the tour will expand in the future as more property owners wishing to participate come forward and additional research is completed.

Walking brochures will be available at the Absolutely Waterford/Chamber of Commerce office and each of the other dedicated sites, the library, Village Hall and other locations throughout the community.

For more information about the Heritage Walking Tour, Absolutely Waterford or to donate, go to or contact Dawn Brummel, Main Street manager, at 262-534-9000 or


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