Nevers Place (Milepost 53 – Milepost 89)
Wild Mountain Recreation Area: This is a popular year round down hill skiing, snow boarding and water activities facility.
Junction of Wild Mountain Road and Park Trail: The byway continues by turning
right off Highway 16 to Highway 12 at this intersection. Go northeast on Highway 12 to Wild River State Park, and then turn on Highway 81. Go north on 81, one mile then turn following Highway 81 to the west.
Another Side Trip: You can turn left off the byway and drive a short distance to the community of Almelund (which means “elm grove” in the Swedish language) an unincorporated village with an excellent small museum in the old school house and a pioneer log cabin. Note, also the beautiful 1887 Immanuel Lutheran Church. The Almelund Thrashing Grounds are located near here on Highway 95.
The Thrashing Grounds are home to the old Chisago County Courthouse, (which was the oldest frame court house in use in Minnesota at the time it was moved here) a school and depot museums. The Thrashing Show is always the second weekend in August and one of the best displays of historic steam engines and farm machinery in the area.
Come back on Highway 12 to the Byway follow 12 to the entrance of Wild River State Park.
Note: the beautiful view shed of the St. Croix Valley as it spreads out before you from the top of
the hill before you descend to Wild River State Park.
Wild River State Park: This 6,767 acre State Park recently celebrated its 25th Anniversary. It is the site of the remains of Never’s Dam (originally build in 1889 for a cost of $200,000) and contains the Deer Valley section of the Military Road (Listed on the National Register) There is an expanse of prairies, woods, historic sites, the Connors & Samuel Fur Posts and a visitors center. You will find 18-miles of St. Croix River frontage, horseback riding, skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, biking, camping, canoeing, bird watching and maple syrup tapping all available in the Park. It has one of the best views of the St. Croix Valley–seen from the deck of the visitor’s center.
When you leave Wild River State Park, the byway turns north. You will be going off the paved road until County Highway 81, for a short distance; this is an old-time narrow “pokey” gravel country road.
Amador Hill: Go to the top of the Amador Hill. Here is a splendid view. Looking to the east you will see the River Valley far into Wisconsin and if you look to the south; prairies and woodlands spread out before you.
Remember to stop and take some time and pictures along the route. Driving through this area you will find remains of many, once prosperous farms. Continue on County Road 81 to County Road 9; turn right on 9 and go into the village of Sunrise.
Sunrise: Once known as Sunrise City, it now is a small-unincorporated village, but when settled in the 1850’s it was a busy town with a rip-roaring reputation, based on logging and milling. Note: the 1861 schoolhouse, the old bank (currently a restaurant) and particularly the old Sunrise Cemetery with its beautiful white pines and the sounds of the Sunrise River that is behind it. This Community was once a bustling town with a hotel, stores, mills (both flour & saw) bars, a bank and the major river tributary of the St. Croix.
Side Trip: Follow the gravel road down to the mouth of the Sunrise as it empties into the St. Croix. A boat landing and trails for hiking are available. Plus, canoe landing, fishing and float trips. Cornstalk War: A few marauding Native Americans had been reported “terrorizing” settlers in 1857 near the mouth of the Sunrise as it enters the St. Croix. On August 28th, 1854, the smartly dressed soldier’s met a “host” of Ojibwa, which turned out to be a few running through the cornfields. One soldier was killed and one Ojibwa. Later the Ojibwa were released and the incident became something of a joke. (Dunn, The St. Croix, p 17-18).
The Old Military or Government Road: The opening of the Government Road made it easier for the increasing population to push inland and establish settlements away from the river. While WHC Folsom settled in Taylors Falls, his brother George preempted 160 acres in Rushseba Township, in 1855, and with the help of William Plummer, built a hotel and tavern on Government Road, that became the first stage stop on the trip. The stage passed through Rushseba every 2-3 days. The fare for the trip was $10. Rushseba is named for Rush River or Rush Lake and the Indian word seba or sippi for river. The
Northern Chisago County Historical Society has done an outstanding job of recording and marking historic routes, points of interest, schoolhouse sites and old landings in this area.
At Sunrise follow Country Road 9 until you come to County Road 57. Turn right on County 57. You will be going west then north on 57. The route here somewhat follows the old Government Road. Follow the road up the hill to a spectacular view shed looking over the Valley far into Wisconsin. Off to the right in the distance you will see the forested top of Amador Hill, in the distance, on a clear day.
The official St. Croix Scenic byway will follow County Road 57 to County Road 30, to Rush City but we are again offering you another scenic side trip.
Side Trip: Continue north on the Old Government or Military Road going past the Old Taylor Cemetery, crossing over Rush Creek, where the first stage stop was located. At the Ferry Road, turn right and follow it down to the National Park Services Landing. “Ferry Landing” is the site of the Old Rush City Ferry and a put in point for canoeing or fishing and yet another view of the St. Croix River. This is a dead end road and you will have to turn around and come back out. Return west on Ferry Road to County Road 5, still going westerly until you rejoin the Byway at County Road 30, which is also referred to by “old Highway 61”
Rush City: The Northern most community in Chisago County, it was incorporated in 1870 and was amed after Rush Creek, which flows into the St. Croix. It was important as a railroad logging and potato growing area. It is home to the Grant House and the Carlson House, both of which are on the National Register. The Grant House is a brick hotel built in 1896 to serve this railroad community. It was originally built in 1880, but fire consumed it and when it was rebuilt they made it larger. To the northwest of Rush City is the Rush Lake area, which is the site of a Natural, and Scenic heron rookery. Rush City is also the site of a regional airport and a state correctional facility.
Note: In Rush City, County Highway 30 becomes Minnesota Highway 361, (or Old Highway 61)
the byway continue north at this point.
Side Trip: If you would like to drive into Rush City you will find the Chisago County Fair Grounds, which is has on display a genuine log cabin. Interstate Highway 35 is just ahead of you. Return to the byway.