Since opening in 1947, Mars Cheese Castle has been a beloved tourist trap and has served as an unofficial means of welcoming travelers to the Dairy State. Though its legacy has persevered for close to 75 years, the Kenosha landmark has experienced its fair share of changes during its long and storied existence.
After its original location (a small gas station with a connected cheese shop) burned down a decade into its existence, Mars moved to its current site in 1958. However, the store didn’t begin to take on its current form—an extensively remodeled castle complete with a watchtower, drawbridge, and a stone facade to mirror the shop’s medieval theme—until 2011. Though it’s hard to envision Mars Cheese Castle as anything but the towering interstate-adjacent structure befitting of royalty, the store actually had a much different and far more subtle look for more than 50 years of its existence.
Recently, a reader tipped us off to a home video from 1996 that gives a great glimpse of what Mars Cheese Castle was like 25 years ago. The three-minute video shows a group of women exploring the Kenosha commercial mainstay on a winter day. “We’re not worthy,” one of them says before entering the store, making a Wayne’s World reference that was only somewhat dated at the time.
Upon entering, the group wastes no time before putting on Cheeseheads and giggling at the somewhat new novelty. From there, free samples, a visit to the Gallery Of Art, and browsing the store’s various cow-themed tchotchkes follows. It’s a short video that features footage from an innocent group outing to help liven up the Wisconsin winter, but it also offers some sights and sounds people haven’t experienced in at least a decade. Take a trip back to Mars Cheese Castle the way it was a quarter-century earlier and check out the video now. [h/t – Alessandra]