Where I Come From

5/29/2018 - Tricia Steele Andrews

Kenosha, WI is a great place to live work and play.

Kenosha is my town, it's where I come from. It is where I was born and raised along with my 3 sisters. I was educated in the Kenosha Unified School District and I also attended college locally. I still live in the same neighborhood I grew up in all these years later. To say I am rooted in Kenosha would be an understatement. It is where I live and raise my family, where I work, and where I play. I love sharing its vast history and opportunities for fun, and encouraging others to check it out!

As I said, my roots run deep here and it starts generations ago. My Grandma Emma proudly worked at Kemper Center back when it was a girl’s school. Located on the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan, the Kemper Campus now encompasses over 17 acres of landscaped grounds that include Durkee Mansion, Kemper Hall Conference Center, Ambrose Hall, Simmons Auditorium, Griffin Observatory, The Kady B. Faulkner Building, Kemper Chapel, and the Anderson Arts Center. Kemper is a great location for events and meetings, touring, taking a stroll, and visiting or attending one of their many wonderful events throughout the year. 

My grandma’s brother drove buses for the City of Kenosha decades ago. I wonder what he would think now of our transit system. It has evolved and yet taken a step back in time all at once with our Electric Streetcar and Lakefront Trolley systems. You can roll around our redeveloped downtown area on one of these rides, taking in all the sights, sounds, and smells of the area. The streetcar or trolley will also drop you off at the Kenosha Public Museum which was founded back in 1933 and has grown throughout the decades. I now take my own little one there to explore. We enjoy taking in all the exhibits, playing in the Field Station, and attending their various events. Did you know when I was little the museum was actually housed where the Dinosaur Discovery Museum is now located? Although the items that are featured inside that building have changed, the fun and adventure that can be had there is the same as when I was a kid. And if you really love museums and history then you definitely have to check out the Civil War Museum as well – which tells the stories of people from our community and their contributions to the Civil War effort.

My Grandpa Ralph and his family came to Kenosha in the 1940s - he worked on the trains. Visitors can still make their way to Kenosha daily to visit and play via train. Kenosha is conveniently the last stop on the Metra line from Chicago. Once here, one of the first places you should stop (since you’re already there as you exit the train) is Choo Choo Charlie’s. Known for its unique way of delivering your food, via model trains, it is a must for both local residents and visitors alike!

My neighborhood is rich in things to do and places to explore. Every Wednesday from 6:00 a.m. to Noon and Saturday from 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. from June to November, you can visit Columbus Park for the Kenosha Farmers Market. At this neighborhood market, you can mingle with dedicated, local farmers right in the heart of the city. They offer a wide variety of items, from fresh cut flowers, local produce, farm fresh eggs, live plants, honey, and pickled goods. This farmer’s market is a true gem, there are several other great markets in our community, too. 

There are many unique shopping opportunities in my area as well. Against the Grain Creative Concepts imagines custom creations and sells antique & vintage building materials, reclaimed lumber, local art, and home décor. My husband and I like to frequent the shop and check out all of their interesting art and furniture, as well as the beautiful architecture of the building it is located in. It’s not far from downtown, but tucked into the residential neighborhood – a true hidden gem.

I also love to frequent establishments that have been in Kenosha just as long as my family has been or longer. One of my favorites is DeBerge’s Framing and Gallery. They have been in Kenosha for 4 generations, providing quality framing, art, gifts, and more. I still have the wonderful box of Prismacolor colored pencils that were purchased for me back when I was in college. The staff there is so friendly and helpful, and they have a passion for providing outstanding service. Jack Andrea is another place I adore. In Kenosha for 106 years, they continue to thrive and serve our community with a variety of gifts, candy, apparel, cigars, and much more. Plus, they have an awesome café that includes breakfast and lunch staples, as well as soda foundation treats and desserts. Yum! And speaking of yum, Big Star Drive-In tops my list of places you must go to. Opened in 1954, it has been serving Kenosha its famous double cheeseburgers and ice cold root beer in frosted mugs by carhops ever since. I have such fond memories of going there with my mom and dad and sisters all piled into the family station wagon to enjoy their hamburgers, fries, and cheese sticks.

I know you will love my town, its history that lives on today and dedicated families and establishments that make it so unique. It truly is a great place - Explore, learn, and enjoy!

Tricia Steele Andrews

Community Blogger

Devoted Mom & Wife. Fourth generation Kenoshan. Lover of all things natural & organic. Passions include time with family & friends, gardening, country music, libraries, art, animals, & ancestry!