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Visit Cassville & Experience Life Along The Great River

Sometimes it seems the more you travel, the more you miss along the way …

For well over 30 years, we’ve embarked on weekend journeys to enjoy river cities and towns in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin, among others.

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Downtown Cassville – Volunteer Park

Nestled in northwest Illinois and northeast Iowa are some long time favorites, like Galena and Dubuque. This part of the Midwest, where Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin meet, is a four season delight with rolling hills, towering bluffs, fertile river valleys, and beckoning river towns.

One such river town has long been on the radar to visit ….

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Summer In Cassville

A short, scenic drive from Dubuque, Galena, and Prairie du Chien, Cassville, Wisconsin offers visitors a glimpse of life along the great Mississippi River, Coupled with unique attractions and a warm, welcoming sense of community, Cassville should be on any Midwest traveler’s to do list …

After a number of years of promising “we’ll get there soon”, we finally paid a long overdue visit to this enjoyable small town along the Mississippi River. It was our first visit, but as we said when we left town on the Cassville Car Ferry, it definitely won’t be the last!




Introducing Cassville

Cassville has quite a history, much of it influenced by its geographical location. Check out a map of Wisconsin and you’ll see this small village of just under 1,000 is the southernmost Wisconsin town directly along the Mississippi River …

Cassville’s story dates back to the 1820’s – it was originally considered as the Wisconsin territory capital site due to the location on the Mississippi and proximity to large population centers. The idea was promoted by none other than Colonel William Hamilton, son of Alexander Hamilton …

By the time Wisconsin became a state in 1848, Madison (about 100 miles east) had been chosen as the capital location. Cassville shook off the disappointment and began to grow, aided by the energy and influence of resident Nelson Dewey, who later became Wisconsin’s first governor …

Ferry service across the Mississippi River, now one of Cassville’s most prominent attractions, began in the 1830’s, connecting southwestern Wisconsin and eastern Iowa. Train buffs love it here; as many as two dozen trains a day pass through Cassville on the tracks near Riverside Park by the river …




Today, the village is an appealing stop along the Wisconsin spur of the Great River Road. A perfect day trip destination from several nearby river cities, Cassville is also a sportsman’s paradise. The area’s fishing is outstanding, and winter brings scores of bald eagles, who nest in tall trees along the river and in the towering bluffs above town. While the eagles are known to be here year around, your best chance of catching a glimpse is from December through March.

A relaxing place to spend a night or two, Cassville is within minutes of the well known Stonefield Historic Site and the spectacular views at Nelson Dewey State Park …

Follow along as we spotlight just a few of Cassville’s many charms below …

Visit Cassville: The Highlights

Cassville Car Ferry – The Pride of Cassville

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The Pride Of Cassville

When you’re arriving or leaving town, odds are you’re doing it on the Cassville Car Ferry, and why not?

The only service of its kind connecting Wisconsin and Iowa, the Pride of Cassville is the most recent incarnation of ferry service here. In one form or another, ferry boats have crossed the Mississippi at this location for almost 200 years.

The ferry accepts cars, bikes, passengers, and larger vehicles and operates seven days a week during the summer (reduced schedule in colder weather months). It’s a first come, first serve operation … just pull your vehicle onto the ferry as directed and you’re off to the other side!

You’ll travel between downtown Cassville’s Riverside Park and Iowa Highway 52/C9Y – the whole trip takes about 20 minutes. Take in the river scenery as you travel across; keep your eyes peeled for wildlife in and along the river. You’ll probably notice bald eagle nesting locations in the tall trees on the Cassville side …

If you’re lucky enough to be in town on select summer weekends, the Pride of Cassville occasionally hosts sunset river cruises. Locals and visitors alike bring lawn chairs aboard to enjoy a leisurely cruise to experience sunsets over the river …

A one of a kind attraction, the Cassville Car Ferry operates on demand during normal operating hours. It’s far and away the best way to reach Guttenberg, Iowa from Wisconsin … the ferry stop is just six miles south of town on the Iowa side …

For complete details on the Cassville Car Ferry, including rates, hours, days of operation and much more, click here …




Okey’s Market

Where Cassville does its daily shopping, Okey’s Market is a mainstay in town, dating back to the 1930’s and even before. A convenient one stop shopping destination for groceries, libations, fresh meat, UPS drop off service, lottery, and more, it’s located right on the Great River Road (Amelia Street) just down the block from the Cassville Municipal Building …

MidwestRiverCities.com/cassville

One Stop Shopping At Okey’s

A friendly, family owned full service operation, you’ll find everything you need, forgot to pack, or crave. We bought some house marinated chicken breasts to take home and they were fantastic!

And speaking of fantastic, here’s a Cassville Insider Tip: check out the cooler section where you’ll find hot dogs, lunch meat, etc. There you’ll see a selection of in house made jerky and sausages. They’re prepared on site by the Okey family. It’s worth a trip to Cassville just to taste them – they’re that good!

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House Made Sausages & Jerky

Two of the sausages we especially liked are landjaegers and smoked bbq beef stix. Landjaegers are a traditional Swiss snacking sausage which are very popular in southwestern Wisconsin. Made from a combination of beef, pork, spices, and typically a dash of wine, landjaegers have historically been a preferred snack for hikers and outdoorsmen. If you’ve never tried them, do yourself a favor and stop in at Okey’s …

The smoked bbq beef stix are lean and tasty with a subtle smoked bbq flavor – perfect to pair with any of the Wisconsin cheese you’ll also find at Okey’s Market …

Bakery, produce, sundries, lotto tickets, picnic fixings … you’ll find it all at Okey’s!




The Oldest Bar In Cassville: Vogt’s Town Pump

Regular readers of Midwest River Cities know we always make a point to seek out and visit the oldest continuously operating bar wherever we go …

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The Oldest Bar In Cassville

In Cassville, that’s Vogt’s Town Pump, a friendly laid back place located in the heart of town just a block from the river …

Noted for their Saturday prime rib special, Vogt’s Town Pump features a casual menu of all your comfort food favorites, along with frequent daily specials and cold beer on draught (get your Spotted Cow fix here!) …

As comfortable as your favorite pair of jeans, this place dates back at least seven decades and has always been known as the Town Pump. The current owners (Vogt’s) have owned it since the early 1990’s …

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Enjoy Great Food & A Cold Beer

Kind of a local gathering place as the name implies, the Town Pump looks the part with a wonderful pressed tin ceiling and long wooden bar to the left as you walk in. It’s a great place to mingle with locals, learn what’s going on in town, and discover some of Cassville’s rich history … and did we mention they have Spotted Cow on tap??

There are a handful of other local pubs and restaurant/pubs in town, beckoning for a return visit in the winter to see the bald eagles. Just steps away from Vogt’s Town Pump are the Silver Spigot Saloon and across the street, the Lighthouse Lounge

On the eastern edge of town you’ll find J & J’s Sand Bar and a few minutes east, the well known Anker Inn Smokehouse. More about all these places after our subsequent visit …




Stonefield Historic Site & Nelson Dewey State Park

Two of Cassville’s best known and most beloved attractions are located just minutes outside of town. They’re the Stonefield Historic Site and Nelson Dewey State Park, named after Cassville’s first prominent citizen who later became the state’s first governor …

Open seasonally in the warmer months, Stonefield Historic Site is a treat for all ages. Stonfield features a recreated rural farm village and an early 1900’s era farmstead along with the Wisconsin State Agricultural Museum.

Special events, exhibits, and programs are hosted throughout the season and it’s a great place to educate younger visitors about agricultural practices and their advancements. Stonfield is located on the former Nelson Dewey estate. The actual site of his home (which burned in the 1870’s) is now a restored home you can visit, featuring period decor and furnishings …

Nelson Dewey State Park

Up on a 500 foot tall bluff and adjacent to the Stonefield Historic Site is Nelson Dewey State Park. Spectacular views of the Mississippi River can be found here, along with ample opportunities for camping, hiking, and other outdoor pursuits …

Due to their close proximity, these two attractions afford a pleasant day’s outing just outside Cassville. Leave in the morning and come back into town for drinks and dinner!

Riverside Park

The crown jewel of Cassville parks is the aptly named Riverside Park, which serves as the welcome mat to downtown. There’s been a park at this site for well over 100 years … it’s a community gathering spot year around with community events, a veteran’s memorial, the Cassville Ferry, boat launching, and more …

MidwestRiverCities.com/cassville

Cassville’s Riverside Park

The park stretches a quarter mile and plans are afoot for a river walk and amenities for bikers, walkers, and visitors alike …

The perfect place for a Cassville picnic, Riverside Park also features a wildlife viewing gazebo at the upper end along with playground and recreational equipment for youngsters …




Cassville Historical Walking Tour

MidwestRiverCities.com/cassville

Walking Tour Brochure

If you’re a historic architecture buff or simply appreciate efforts to preserve history, Cassville has published a brochure (shown) which is available from the Cassville Municipal Center in the heart of town.

This self guided heritage tour offers visitors an opportunity to see landmarks and buildings erected by some of Cassville’s earliest citizens. The brochure notes over two dozen stops, along with addresses and a handy map to find your way …

Compiled by the Cassville Historical Society, visitors can embark on the tour on foot or by bicycle. It’s the perfect way to get to know the town and view noteworthy architecture from the 1800’s onward …

More Information About Cassville

This travelogue only reflects a short visit to Cassville – we have another longer visit planned in the winter months to see the bald eagles frequenting the river front area …

Like many other small river towns, Cassville deserves a bit of time to explore and appreciate its charms. The proximity to the Mississippi River rivals any other community we’ve visited and here in Cassville it’s right there for all to enjoy.

While it’s easy to simply drive through historic river communities like this, we encourage you to stop, linger for a while, and explore. The scenery here is dazzling … tall limestone bluffs form the backdrop behind town and the mighty Mississippi River makes its way out in front.

To fully enjoy this community and experience all we’ve listed above and more, plan for an overnight stay. And stay tuned as we add to this travelogue after our winter visit … we can’t wait to see the bald eagles!




Thank You …

midwestrivercities.com/cassville

Cool Cassville T-Shirt!

We’d like to thank Kristin Infield and Patty Okey for their assistance both before and during our visit. Kristin and Patty are members of the Cassville Tourism Committee and their warm hospitality and coordination of our visit is greatly appreciated. Thank you Kristin and Patty!

Discover more about Cassville’s attractions, lodging, local businesses, and more at Cassville.org

Thank you for reading, and enjoy your visit to Cassville!

    5 Comments

  1. The article is fantastic!! Cassville is truly a gem! Next time you are in town, we hope you can stop in and visit the Eckstein Memorial Library too! 🙂

    • Hi Patti, we’ve just added pictures from the visit. We can’t wait to come back!

  2. Thanks for visiting. Your wonderful write up is so much appreciated!

    • Patty, the pleasure was ours, thanks for your hospitality! We’re looking forward to visiting again and seeing more of Cassville …

  3. I have many fond memories of visiting Cassville as a child and an adult. My sister still lives outside of town a few miles and my dad was Walt Okay’s cousin. It truly is a beautiful gem.

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