Racine, Wisconsin, is full of incredible landmarks! From houses and statues, to parks and beaches! You can find landmarks along Lake Michigan, scattered throughout the city, and even on the route into town. Give yourself plenty of time to visit the museums and landmarks of Racine to understand and appreciate your city.
Today, the Willard Keland house (similar to the Johnson-Boyd house), referred to as “Wingspread” by Wright, is privately owned and unavailable for tours. Despite the inability to tour, history has not been lost! Designed in 1936, the house was finished in 1939. Purchased by Herbert Fisk Johnson, his daughter, Karen (pronounced “Kaar-in”), adored it so much she had Wright design her home, too!
Karen Johnson and her husband, Willard Keland, met with Wright in 1954. The house cost $165,000, which may not seem impressive by today’s standards, but at the time, a Racine home averaged about $15,000! The home, a Usonian design with “Prairie-style” elements, was “much larger than most Usonians.” Coincidentally, the residence “would be the last of many Wright-designed structures in Racine.” The house was built nearly 50 years after Wright designed and erected the Thomas Hardy House in 1905.
Upon its dedication in 1943, the Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln statue found in Racine’s East Park “was the very first memorial to honor the Lincolns as a couple.” Miss Lena Rosewell, who gave the sculpture to the community, deeply revered Mary Todd Lincoln. Mary Todd Lincoln stayed in Racine for most of the summer in 1867, while no records show President Abraham Lincoln ever visited Racine during his lifetime. Miss Rosewell, who passed away in 1935, additionally donated her entire estate (totaling $20,000) to the Racine community as a memorial.
The statue, devised and carved by Chicago artist Frederick C. Hibbard, has a five-ton base of pink Minnesota granite with Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln chiseled from Elberton gray granite. The statue can be observed every day from sunrise to sunset. East Park is a few blocks from Downtown Racine, in front of the Racine campus of Gateway Technical College.
Settled on the sandy shorelines of scenic Lake Michigan, the accessible Racine Zoo is an outdoor experience for the whole family. During the winter of 1923, the Racine Zoological Society was created to work alongside the park board and raise awareness of the Zoo. The Zoo, a nonprofit, was founded in March 1923 by Jacob Stoffel, Jr. Stoffel donated the first animals to the Zoo, and today the Zoo is home to “some of the world’s most remarkable and endangered wildlife.”
Following Stoffel’s lead, numerous associations in Racine donated animals, including badgers, foxes, and mountain goats. Monkeys were the first species not native to the United States added to the Zoo in 1925. Presently, the Racine Zoo cares for about 75 diverse species and more than 300 individual animals from Wisconsin and around the globe.
Founded in 1908, the 50-acre beach provides 2,500 feet of shoreline. Everyone can enjoy the beach courtesy of the wheelchair-accessible mat extending to the coastline. With free parking and admission, the sand volleyball, picnic area, and restrooms are open to the public. Bring the kids to play in the Kids Cove playground before hiking along the Lake Michigan Pathway. Learn more about Racine’s Beachside Oasis and Racine North Beach’s acknowledgment as the “first Wisconsin beach to be designated as a Certified Blue Wave clean beach by the National Clean Beaches Coalition.”
Pritchard Park spans 79 acres in the City of Racine. Home to the SC Johnson Community Aquatic Center, visitors can enjoy the Wieczorek Pavilion for large group events. The park likewise hosts a playground for kids with baseball diamonds and soccer fields. Park goers can use the jogging trail, and children can fish in the pond. The Veterans Memorial can be observed in the park’s southeast corner (near Ohio Street and Highway 11), not far from the South Picnic Shelter. Take a look at the map to see all the park’s features and consider purchasing a personalized brick for the veteran in your life.