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Camp Douglas, Wisconsin: The Sea Shell (Gone)

Fondly recalled gift shop, far from the nearest ocean.

Was just northwest of Milwaukee, just south of the US41/Wi.60 intersection between the villages of Slinger and Jackson in Washington County.

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The Sea Shell - Vague Recollection

I am responding to Laura Smith's contributions regarding the Sea Shell gift shop/roadside attraction. There was indeed a location just northwest of Milwaukee, just south of the US41/Wi.60 intersection between the villages of Slinger and Jackson in Washington County. Having lived in this area for several years, I am familiar with this location.

However, her inquiry about the location on the way "upnorth" brought back memories of my family vacations. For about 10 years, from1958 to 1967, my family took an annual vacation near Hayward, Wi. In the early years, prior to the completion of I90/94, a good deal of our journey took place on highways US16,US12/16, and US 12. It was on US12/16 just north of Wisconsin Dells that a gift shop called the Sea Shell was located. It became one of things we looked forward to as we made our yearly trek (although I believe we only stopped once). What I recall as unique is that over the years the shop moved at least once and perhaps twice. As new stretches of the Interstate opened, the Sea Shell moved up the road to a new spot where you would have to get off of the limited access highway and return to US12/16 or US12. The first Sea Shell was near Mauston or NewLisbon, then it was located in Camp Douglas. I believe it later moved to a spot between Tomah and Black River Falls or Black River Falls and Augusta.

[Tom Brilll, 10/28/2000]
The Sea Shell - Vague Recollections

Up until the late seventies, there was a place called the "Sea Shell" on US 41 about 25 miles north of Milwaukee. It was a place ofwonderment for a Wisconsin farm boy like me. They indeed had the largest clam shell in the world and was on a stand next to the front door. If my memory holds true, it was approximately 3 feet by 2 feet and I seem to remember a sign that said the shell with the clam in it when it was alive weighed just over 600 pounds.

This place had billboards and signs and such all over southern Wisconsin including several along highway 51. The place sold all kinds of sea shell stuff (ashtrays, lamps, etc.), had a pretty good candy counter, but the best thing was the extra attractions, THE ALLIGATORS!! In my youth, the early sixties, they had a full-size alligator that the owner actually wrestled once in a while, and they usually had several baby alligators in the place too. The Sea Shell closed sometime in the late seventies, and the building is now a place that sells utility trailers and has a drive-in custard stand in the parking lot which is open off and on.

[Laura Smith, 04/18/2000]
Sea Shell - Vague Recollections

Back in the 60's my family would head up to Northern Wisconsin for our annual vacation. Somewhere along old Route 51 there were a series of signs inviting you to SEE THE GIANT CLAM! After what seemed like hundreds of signs of course my life depended on seeing the giant clam and naturally my father would never stop. By now I am sure the clam is long gone but if any out there remembers this, please share.

[Laura Smith, 01/01/2000]

Michael Pizzuto tells us "I'm from Michigan and know that Seashell City in Northern Michigan claims to have a "Giant Man-Eating Clam" with a huge sign along the highway I-75. Could her trip to Northern Wisconsin have brought her past Seashell City?"

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