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John Kraske, Mukwa Motel

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About the Artist/Site

Located on Highway 54 west of New London, the Mukwa Motel and Farmers Retirement Home lies on the northern edge of the Mukwa State Wildlife Area of central Wisconsin. This artful bit of rural humor was begun by Chicago-born farmer John Kraske shortly before his retirement.

According to the Post-Crescent newspaper, he began assembling the site in 1991, two years before he retired from farming. Kraske, who died at 96 in 2016, told the paper in 2001, “It’s just something some crazy farmer did who didn’t have anything better to do with his time.”

“Every year or so we add something to it,” he said at the time. “I generally make a tour of all the garbage cans in town and see what people have thrown out. You’d be amazed. I think half my house is furnished with stuff somebody threw out. Don’t tell my wife, though.”

Kraske said he originally planned to call his constructions the Northport Motel after the neighboring town. “But I thought that wouldn’t be right, disparaging the name of Northport.”

He claimed to have only run afoul of neighbors only once, over the poor condition of an American flag. And based on the coverage in the paper, the site seems to have been viewed favorably.

Google street view shows the Motel still extant in 2016, although somewhat deteriorated.

~William Swislow

 

 

Map and site information

Not Exact Address
New London, Wisconsin, United States
Latitude/Longitude: 44.40285 / -88.740471

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