Fowle History in Grant Park

Be sure to join us to hear local historian Nels Monson as he shares the origins of the Golf Course Clubhouse. We welcome everyone to the clubhouse on Thursday, Dec. 8th for a holiday gathering. Our monthly meeting starts earlier, at 5:30; the party starts after our meeting, at 7 pm. We promise to warm the room with a fire in the fireplace! This event will conclude at 8 pm.

Secrets of Grant Park Calendar

Our fifth edition calendar is now printed and available for purchase. Secrets of Grant Park 2023 Calendar features many curious, historic, or just plain cool secrets that we’ve learned over the years and wish to share with you. We’ve asked local photographers to share their best work to highlight the park through all the seasons. Purchase of the calendar promotes our mission to preserve natural areas of the park, enhance unique features of the park, encourage use of the park, and to provide a mechanism for private contributions to supplement public funding of Grant Park.

Calendars cost $15 each; 2 for $25

Purchase a calendar at these South Milwaukee businesses using cash or check only (made out to The Park People, with Grant Park noted on the memo line) at:

  • Avenue Coffeehouse 911 Milwaukee Ave.
  • Mari’s Flowers, Wine & Gifts 905 Milwaukee Ave.
  • Parkway Floral 1001 Milwaukee Ave.
  • Skyline Deli 1919 12th Ave.
  • Kelly Senior Center Gift Shop 6100 S. Lake Drive, Cudahy¬†

Calendars can also be acquired in the following ways:

  • US Mail: send quantity desired, personal check payable to The Park People with Grant Park noted on the memo line) and your shipping address (add $2.50 per calendar for postage) to: FOGP Calendar, 421 Hawthorne Ave., South Milwaukee,  WI 53172
  • Attend and purchase (cash only) at our Friends of Grant Park meeting, 6:30 pm in the golf course clubhouse on Dec. 8th and Jan. 13th. 
  • Purchase (cash only) at the December Market on Dec. 10th, in the Salvation Army Center, 8853 S. Howell Ave. by Target, at our FOGP table

Stairs Project Underway

The Friends of Grant Park undertook planning and fundraising several years ago to improve egress in a ravine area near the Wil-o-way complex on the north end.  Following two consecutive 100+ year storms in 2010-11 that had destroyed most of the bridges in the park’s historic ravine trail system, a 2012 FEMA-funded footbridge was erected to restore the connection between the north and southern portions of the park all while protecting water quality.  Subsequent trail use commenced, with the result that an increasingly denuded trail on one side of the bridge eroded, causing potentially damaging siltation and mud distribution to the bridge deck and beyond to the creek below.  With preserving water quality, bridge infrastructure and safe egress as our goals, we proceeded with planning. 

Mud eroding onto the bridge deck.

History:  Following a survey of the site by RA Smith Engineers, and combining design proposals and details by former Parks Landscape architect, Jim Ciha and local landscape designers, Betsy Abert and Patrick Devereux, we submitted architectural drawings for the proposed steps to Parks’ Planning Dept. during the height of COVID.  Parks had just undertaken a splendid larger restoration in the northern sector of the park with improved parking, paving, and water quality goals; thus, we were delayed in pursuing  our own project. Grants acquired from the Bucyrus Foundation, Eaton Corporation, and many many FoGP donors allowed this project to move forward with the requisite funds as required by Milwaukee County Parks.  Upon request, our park supervisor Sean Kelly delivered fencing material from the main yard to the job site. Cost increases, supply chain and transportation issues combined with employee shortage related to Covid certainly played a part in delays.  Contracting with an experienced nearby landscape firm, Stone Oak Landscapes, the steps and rail are now being installed with great precision.  We plan to restore/revegetate any areas disturbed during construction with native plant species. It is our hope that restoration efforts in the central/main ravine will be supported. With a start-up grant from Eaton Corporation, steps and walls there, installed in the 1930’s, need to be replaced and the slopes protected and revegetated. 

Many thanks to our own Betsy Abert for her expertise and perseverance in pursuing this goal. Photos courtesy of Betsy Abert.

Construction of stairs project in process. Oct. 2022
Completed stairs!
In our opinion, it was worth the wait…

Trek ‘n Treat Event Sold Out!

On Sunday, Oct. 9th, from 1 to 4 pm, Trek ‘n Treat took advantage of a fabulous fall day as costumed ghouls, goblins, Spidermen and princesses (moms and dads, too) wandered through the Seven Bridges Ravine. They learned about the natural plants, animals, birds and insects that live in the park, and then got a treat. Families hiked the ravine trail and then relaxed in the area 5A brown pavilion where there were other activities and snacks.

Although we planned for 250 participants, we sold out by 2 pm. We are grateful for the energetic volunteers who came from all walks of life… Students from Oak Creek HS, South Milwaukee HS, Thomas More HS; FOGP members, SM Historical Society, members of Friends of the Mill Pond, and photographer Marie Goodman. We had grant funding from Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors Youth Foundation. Additional support came from Ace Hardware, SM; Blaine’s Farm & Fleet; Guardian Credit Union; MJ Media, LLC; Pick ‘n Save, SM; Piggly Wiggly, Oak Creek; Project Concern, Tri-City Bank and Walmart.

Thank you to all for a Happy Trek ‘n Treat event. See you next year!

Seven Bridges Adopt-a-Beach Cleanup, Sat. Sept. 17

On Saturday, Sept. 17th we hosted Adopt-a-Beach cleanup at the end of the Seven Bridges ravine. We had 18 volunteers participate and collected over 45 lbs. of trash strewn across the beaches. Over 800 pieces of shotgun wadding were collected having washed up on the beaches after storms (residue from the gun club in Warnimont Park that closed in December 2015). We partnered with Alliance for the Great Lakes to collect data on the types and quantities of trash we collect. Scientists use Adopt-a-Beach data to study the sources of plastic pollution, and this information helps decision makers make the case for policies that protect the lakes.

Thank you to all who participated!

Open Doors South Milwaukee, Sept. 17 | Wulff Lodge

Celebrating the 125th Anniversary of South Milwaukee, historic sites throughout the city were open for inspection on Saturday, Sept. 17th from 10 am to 3 pm. Friends of Grant Park members opened Wulff Lodge to the public and welcomed about 85 visitors. It was home to Milwaukee County’s first horticulturist, Frederick Wulff and his family. Other participating locations appear on the attached flyer below.

This is the first year for this Open Doors event in South Milwaukee. Perhaps it will become an annual event…

Your group can Rent Wulff Lodge! Available exclusively to civic, church or youth groups. To book a stay, call (414) 257-8005, M-F 8am to 4pm.

Meet James Toth: Artist-in-Residence

James Toth chose Grant Park and we couldn’t be happier.

2022 Artist in Residence 

Jim Toth was an art teacher in South Milwaukee from 1975 to 1995, then as Director of Exhibits for the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum. Now retired, Jim was accepted as an Artist-in-Residence as part of the ARTservancy program at Gallery 224 in Port Washington. This program pairs artists with land trusts, nature conservancies and parks to create a body of work inspired by the properties. He chose Grant Park for his 2022 residency.

On Sunday, Aug. 21st, Jim led a nature walk through the Seven Bridges Ravine informing participants how to look to nature for principles and elements of design that may improve their own artistic expressions, be it painting, drawing or photography. 20 some participants were given small rectangles of mat board suitable for framing art to use as a tool to visualize how to frame the object(s) of a composition. We ended our walk at the beach, where participants created their own grouping of elements using those principles.

James Toth (2nd from left) describing 7 principles of design
Participants view natural elements through a mat board frame
Natural elements of design
A combination of rough texture, smooth, light and dark, positive and negative space

We Energies Foundation support

The Friends of Grant Park are pleased to be recipients of a We Energies Foundation grant. The funds will be used to purchase young trees to replace the invasive Japanese Tree Lilac we have recently been removing. New tree saplings will be protected with fencing to prevent grazing by deer.

Program/Project: Tree Planting
Amount: $1,200.00

We Energies Foundation is making this contribution because they believe that together, we can create a brighter future for the communities we serve.

Eaton’s Gift

¬†Special thanks to South Milwaukee’s Eaton Corporation and dedicated employee organizer Tony DeHoyos, our chairperson Jody Johnson accepted a most generous donation on Thursday to be applied to our ravine restoration and preservation work in particular. Thank you, Tony and Eaton.

Jody Johnson, HR Manager Nate Schoppe, O.P.S. Manager Jason Burt and Tony DeHoyos