“One by one,” said Governor Davidson in a 1909 address to the Wisconsin Legislature, “all the places of scenic beauty, and historical interest, are passing away. Before it is too late, it is well to pause and consider whether it is not befitting that some of them be preserved for all time as state parks…Once destroyed, they can never be restored. I, therefore, recommend that action be taken, before it is too late, to the end that one or more places be set aside as state parks for the use in common, of the people now living, and as a heritage from them to future generations.”
And in 1909 the Wisconsin Legislature responded to the call and established Peninsula State Park. A century later, this landscape still beckons families and nature enthusiasts, and on June 7, the park celebrates a century of stewardship with a host of free programs and activities.
The official centennial dedication begins at 1 pm at the park amphitheater (where American Folklore Theatre performs) near Nicolet Beach. American Legion Billy Weiss Post 527 will raise the flag, accompanied by bugler Austin Boncher. Special friends of Peninsula State Park will be introduced, including 98-year-old Ruth Doolittle, the only surviving child of A.E. Doolittle, Peninsula State Park’s first superintendent.
The dedication will feature the unveiling of an original painting by renowned Door County artist Dave Hackett commemorating 100 years of memories at the park. The pen and ink watercolor painting features Hackett’s unique “montage style” which merges historic Peninsula images and key species into one composition. Limited edition prints will be available for $25, with proceeds benefitting Friends of Peninsula State Park, a volunteer group dedicated to supporting the park through education, financial support, and trail stewardship. Hackett will be on hand to present and sign prints.
Light refreshments will be available and music from the 1910 Newtonburg Brass Band will follow the dedication. Thirteen musicians in period costume will play music from the time when Peninsula State Park was first established.
The dedication is slated to coincide with Wisconsin State Parks Open House Day, so a park vehicle sticker is not required to attend.
Fish Creek Postmaster Victoria Foxworthy will also be at the park, staffing a temporary Post Office station near the amphitheater. The centennial pictorial postmark is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In addition to the stamps, postcards will be available for purchase.
Those who cannot attend the June 7 event but wish to obtain the postmark may submit a mail order request. Affix stamps to any envelope or postcard, address the envelope or postcard, insert a card of postcard thickness in the envelopes for sturdiness, and tuck in the flap. Place the envelope or postcard in a larger envelope and address it to: Pictorial Postmarks, Town of Gibraltar Centennial Station, Fish Creek, WI 54212-9998.
An array of other activities will be taking place as Peninsula State Park’s Centennial Celebration commemorates the special significance the park has served for generations of residents and visitors, but it also celebrates those memories yet to be made. The sale of commemorative souvenirs like Hackett’s print, the Centennial Reader ($5), patches ($6), and mugs ($10) has helped pay for this event and will help preserve the park for the next century.
For additional information visit http://www.peninsulafriends.org/100 or call 920.854.5976.