Skip to content

Laper's Folly • BIG--Busted!! Mystery Cache

This cache has been archived.

ThePaigeTurner: Archived at property owner's request. Please remove the cache container as soon as possible.

Hidden : 01/08/2012
2.5 out of 5
2.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   small (small)

Join now to view geocache location details. It's free!


How Geocaching Works

Related Web Page

Please note Use of services is subject to the terms and conditions in our disclaimer.

Geocache Description:

Wisconsin's Grand River rises from prairie springs in Fond du Lac County and flows westerly through a picturesque 30-mile valley until it joins the Fox River between Lake Puckaway and Montello in Marquette County. Along the way it forms mill ponds in Fairwater and Manchester, Grand Lake in Kingston, and the Grand River Marsh, a state wildlife area, in western Green Lake County. Never among the state's major water powers, its water flow nevertheless has been sufficient to turn mill wheels in four communities spanning two counties since the area was settled in the 1840's.

Laper Water Wheel

In 1925, Jesse Laper began construction of a new generating plant to be driven by the water power of the Fairwater mill pond. The plant's waterwheel measured 50 feet in diameter and weighed 29 tons. The operations of the wheel, the largest overshot water wheel in the country and thought to be the second largest ever built, were destined to be short-lived. The Fair Water Electric Company's big wheel operated successfully for six months, when one night tragedy struck. While Jess was oiling the large gear and pinion, he noticed a tooth on the large gear had broken and fallen off. He jumped from the ladder and ran for the water shutoff valve. He realized that as soon as the broken tooth hit the pinion something would break. Before he could get the water shut off the misalignment occurred and the large gear split in half and fell to the floor. The 50 foot waterwheel, freed from the gear train, began to spin uncontrollably at a rapid speed until it was only a blur! The building began to shake, and Jess feared the wheel might jump off its bearings, crash through the wheelhouse and race helter-skelter through the surrounding countryside! Luckily, the wheel's momentum finally slowed to a stop after spraying water all over the inside of the wheelhouse. A new gear was ordered and installed, but while installing the gear it was found that the main axle had developed a one-quarter twist. It was apparent that the axle was not strong enough for the torque created by the big wheel. The Fitz Water Wheel Company then supplied a new high carbon steel axle, but since the wheel had been built on the original axle there was no way to hold everything in alignment while it was installed. A steel case turbine was then supplied to be direct connected to a vertical generator which ran for over twenty years. Jesse Laper continued running the new diesel operation and went on to build power plants at Kingston and Oxford. The big wheel in Fairwater, however, remains his monument to the inventiveness of early technology in the state. Today, the big wheel, its gearing system, and much of the old power plant structure are still standing, secluded in trees on private property along a remote stretch of the Grand River.

The Big Busted Wheel

Laper’s Folly • "BIG ~ Busted!!"

*** This cache is “NOT” hidden at the given coordinates!! To locate this cache, you’ll first need to refer to the related web page to find the answers to solve the puzzle below. ***

N43° 4A.BCD W088° 5W.XYZ

The year of Jesse Laper’s photo shown on the related web page plus (+) 2600 = ABCD

The speed of the 75 K.W. 2400 V. generator talked about in related web artical plus (+) 1038 = WXYZ

“BIG” congrats goes out to the Lacknothing & Hearty Soles duo for teaming up and receiving the FTF honors!!

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Cbaqrevat gur nccebnpu? Urnq rnfg sebz "jrfg" naq gura whfg sbyybj gur genvy!

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)