Finding Treasure in Hixton

tiny western Wisconsin village is a great destination for antique lovers

Tom Giffey

School House Antique Mall, Hixton Wisconsin
School House Antique Mall in Hixton, Wisconsin.

Every small town needs a claim to fame – something to hang its identity on and to lure visitors to exit from the highway. For Hixton, that claim is being the Antiquing Capital of Wisconsin.

Mind you, I’m not sure if anyone in Hixton has actually employed this label, but I’m going to use it anyway. This tiny – population 433 – community in Jackson County boasts four antique stores. As far as I can tell, that’s equal to the number of taverns and churches in Hixton combined. (In Wisconsin, that’s a feat!)

There’s nothing quite like stepping from the oppressive summer heat into the cool air of an antique store filled with the must and mystery of thousands of objects from the distant (and not-so-distant) past.

If you’ve passed Hixton while traveling on Interstate 94, chances are you’ve noticed the giant sign proclaiming “Antiques” on the side of a two-story brick building that looks like a former school building (because it is). Despite having cruised past this sign literally hundreds of times, I had never stopped in Hixton to check out the community’s plethora of antiques until a muggy Friday afternoon last summer. There’s nothing quite like stepping from the oppressive summer heat into the cool air of an antique store filled with the must and mystery of thousands of objects from the distant (and not-so-distant) past.

If you’re interested in filling your home with unique objects, or simply want to travel a bit off the beaten path for a nostalgic afternoon, Hixton is well worth the 40-minute drive.

HIXTON SCHOOL HOUSE ANTIQUE MALL

162 Elder St., Hixton • 10am-5pm daily • (715) 963-3500 • hixtonantiquemall.com

A visitor could spend hours exploring this massive building, which was converted from an elementary school to an antique mall 20 years ago. Every part of the building – the gymnasium, the stage, the classrooms, and the hallways – is filled with items that are antique, collectible, or just plain interesting. With wares from more than 70 dealers, the School House Antique Mall is the largest and most eclectic of Hixton’s antique offerings. Searching for hefty beer steins? Hand-carved trolls? Lovingly worn hand tools? Collectible Elvis dolls? Loads of VHS tapes? You’ll find all that and literally thousands of other things when you embark on your affordable treasure hunt here.

COBBLESTONE COTTAGE

135 Interstate Road North, Hixton • 10am-5pm Monday-Saturday, 11am-5pm Sunday • Find it on Facebook • (715) 963-4438

Cobblestone Cottage is both a gift shop and an antique mall where the booths feature an ever-changing collection of furniture, stoneware, framed items, textiles, and much more, all of it leaning heavily toward a farmhouse aesthetic.

THE PEDDLER’S WIFE

101 N. Sand Prairie Road, Hixton • 10am-5pm daily • Find it on Facebook • (715) 963-0104

The Peddler’s Wife is a spin-off of the since-closed Village Peddler, an antique shop located on the other side of I-94. Housed in what was previously a restaurant, the Peddler’s Wife offers a unique spin on the traditional antique mall: In addition to browsing for vintage finds, shoppers can enjoy a microbrew beer or glass of local wine in what used to be a bar. When it comes to discovering treasures, the glass here is (literally) more than half-full.

MILLER’S ANTIQUES

N8779 Highway 95 E, Hixton • 10am-5pm daily • Find it on Facebook • (715) 963-1100

Even as a kid, proprietor Glenn Miller was scouring auctions and flea markets to build a collection of amazing antiques. All 2,200 square feet of Miller’s Antiques are chock full of vintage advertising, signs, stoneware, and other unusual items. While the store’s Facebook name may be @WisconsinJunk, there’s no junk here. Instead, you’ll marvel at a well-curated selection that features neon clocks, old-fashioned gas pumps, license plates, and automotive signs and miscellany that would spruce up any “man cave.” Miller also conducts periodic auctions of advertising memorabilia at the Monroe County Fairgrounds in Tomah. To learn more, visit MillersAuctionCo.com.