In 2015 the Natural Heritage Land Trust purchased 198 acres from Bessie Eggleston's heirs in order to preserve the land this Marquette County farmer and teacher loved. A portion of this land was part of the original Daniel Muir homestead acreage. A portion of the barn wall from the McGwin/Ennis/Eggleston farm was preserved as a tribute to the heritage of farming in Marquette County and an informational kiosk was added to tell the visitor about the legacy of this land.
The above image was created for the dedication of this land in 2015. It celebrates the link between the Muir family and Bessie Eggleston who was great grand daughter to John Ennis who settled across the lake from the Muirs and for which Ennis Lake is named. The John Muir neighborhood still has many descendants of the early settlers living in Marquette County, indeed, many still on the original land homesteaded by their ancestors.
Spend time reading the informational kiosk at this site. It provides an exciting story about how this land was formed and how it has been inhabited by humans for over 10,000 years. Be sure to look for the different kinds of rocks used to build the old barn wall. They were transported here by the last glacier from Canada and northern Wisconsin as the map above shows. We provide a rock guide to the wall in a link at the bottom of this page. Have fun exploring this 198 acres open to the public.
With the first hints of spring came the brave little bluebirds, darling singers as blue as the best sky, and of course we all loved them. Their rich, crispy warbling is perfectly delightful, soothing and cheering, sweet and whisperingly low, Nature’s fine love touches, every note going straight home into one’s heart. And withal they are hardy and brave, fearless fighters in defense of home. When we boys approached their knot-hole nests, the bold little fellows kept scolding and diving at us and tried to strike us in the face, and oftentimes we were afraid they would prick our eyes. But the boldness of the little housekeepers only made us love them the more.
The Bessie Eggleston Memorial Bluebird Trail was established by the Muirland Bird Club. Members of the club also monitor the houses each year. In the summer of 2015, the boxes fledged:
If you come during nesting time, you will probably see birds going in and out of the houses and may be lucky enough to catch babies fledging.
The land on the opposite side of the road from this informational kiosk now belongs to the Ice Age Trail. It once belonged to Daniel Muir, then John Ennis, then Howard McGwin (grandson of John Ennis), then Bessie Eggleston (great granddaughter of John Ennis) whose heirs sold it to Natural Heritage Land Trust to preserve it. The Ice Age Trail is 1,000 mile walking trail through Wisconsin that skirts the outer edge of the last glacier that covered Wisconsin. It runs through Marquette County, but the only off-road section of it at this time is the loop around Ennis Lake in John Muir Park. Soon, more off-road trail will be developed in Marquette County including on the land across the road. The map below shows the Ice Age Trail, a Scenic National Trail and part of the National Park Service.