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|I43 North Marker 31
||N 42° 43.138' W 88° 28.164'||Elkhorn
Elkhorn - Rest Stop 35
The Elkhorn rest stop, and the accompanying East Troy rest stop, are unique in that they are completely isolated from the freeway. The road can not be seen from these rest stops, and mostly can't be heard.
Both are set back into hillsides, behind generous plantings of trees. This is an area of rolling hills created by the area's well know glacial activity. The drive down I43, heading Northeast into Milwaukee from the Illinois border, is scenic; an area of scattered farms with the occasional town.
The freeway here is mostly local traffic, with these rest stops being located between Milwaukee and Beloit/Rockford. The busier I90/I94, runs slightly east of here, and is the main Interstate of the area, carrying most of the Chicago traffic, and all traffic going east and west. So these are smaller and less often visited stops. They are very nearly local to Milwaukee now, with the Milwaukee urban sprawl coming to within twenty miles or so. Yet you still have that feeling of being out in the country.
These are bunker style rest stops, with original construction in 1974, from poured concrete with few windows or other openings. In 1987 the building was expanded with the front lobby area being made from an enclosed shelter overhang. Bunker is a good description of the build of these pavilions. They are massive, constructed in a manner that can only be afforded by government or big business. If they are not demolished to make way for continuing urban sprawl, they could last hundreds of years.
The facilities are somewhat basic, befitting a stop on a somewhat less trafficked highway, but the surroundings are beautiful. There are pull in/pull out stalls for 15 trucks in a separate truck parking area, and spaces for 47 cars in front of the main building. Within the structure are rest rooms, vending machines, a weather display, drinking fountains, a diaper change area, and a pay phone. Yes, an actual payphone. The whole area (including the payphone) is handicap accessible. It is also only 774 miles from Wall Drugs.
Wisconsin rest stops all have a commemorative area, usually dealing with veterans and wars. In this case, a simple small plaque honors the sacrifice of Jerry Himebauch of the DPW, who died in a work zone accident. The memorial is mounted on a large stone in the midst of a wild garden in front of the main building.
The photo below is a view towards the hillside from the front door of the main building. This view also shows truck and automobile parking, as well as the small native grass garden in front of the building. The area is peaceful, pleasant, and well maintained.
Now here's something you don't see much of these days - a real payphone. Even most public buildings and rest stops no longer have these, and it's a rare restaurant, bar, or store that has one. At one time these were common, but not any more.
Where the original pay phones cost a nickel, it's fifty cents these days. In addition to being able to make voice calls, TTY is available on this phone, for those who can not hear or speak. It is also possible to make emergency calls or collect calls here without paying.
In addition to the TTY of the phone, the entire place is handicap accessible, as are most public places these days. This is one of the little shelter style phone kiosks, and as such would usually have had a phone book on the shelf below the phone. Yet phone books are almost as rare as pay phones.