Van Hise Rock

WI 136, 0.75 mi. N of WI 154, Rock Springs, Wisconsin

A monolith of Baraboo Quartzite, a destination for geologists and students from around the world


Van Hise Rock Looking North

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in October 2015




This small outcrop provides an inordinate amount of geologic information about metamorphism, Precambrian rocks, and structural geology, all subjects to which Charles Van Hise, for whom the rock is named, made early and significant contributions. Van Hise Rock is still used regularly by universities to train geology students. -- National Historic Landmark statement of significance, September 25, 1997

Significance of Van Hise Rock 

Written by the National Register of Historic Places, 1999

Solitary outcrop of Baraboo quartzite which is for scientists the single most famous geological feature in the Baraboo Hills; this feature played a key role in the history of geology as Charles Van Hise (q.v.) used it to interpret the major structural features of the metamorphosed Precambrian rocks of the entire Wisconsin River Valley, or Baraboo District. It has long served and continues to serve as a hands-on field laboratory for professional geologists and students, and was recognized as a national historic landmark in 1999 with a formal dedication and roadside marker.

--From the National Register of Historic Places

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on September 25, 1997
Reference number
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
B - Person; A - Event
Property type
Historic function
Natural feature
Current function
Natural feature
Periods of significance
1925-1949; 1900-1924

Update Log 

  • October 19, 2015: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated Status and Added Photos
  • June 28, 2010: Essay added by J.R. Manning