A break from writing, at last.

In late September, I joined a large group of Madisonians to learn about history on a rainy Sunday. We met while attending an archaeology tour of Madison’s Picnic Point, a historical peninsula that juts into Lake Mendota. I took loads of photos, audio and ambient sounds. The point was really beautiful that day, especially with droplets of rain clinging to the fall foliage. I enjoyed the tour, which was led by the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Amy Rosebrough. I also had a nice time getting to know people in the group.

Today, Madison.com published the project for a wider audience to see. Below are a few shots that didn’t make it into the show.

This lonesome feather was begging to be photographed.

This amphibian hopped across the path between bouts of intense sun and rain that day.

Plans are finally under way to create a more park-like area at the tip of the peninsula. Other plans to create an amphitheater-style atmosphere near Picnic Point’s first fire pit drew controversy early on. I’m not sure where that plan stands. I’m also uncertain how people feel about the new park area currently under construction.

People care about Picnic Point because of its deep history. Wisconsin’s native people groups stayed there and even used the land to create sacred burial mounds (some remain roped off today). Settlers in the 1860s used the space as a “modest recreation area,” where boaters and campers relished in good company. The peninsula served as a farmstead and private land as well, at least until the university purchased it in 1939.

Personally, I think Edward Young, a previous owner of the land, says it best: “God made the land there for people to enjoy.”

(Photos copyright Marianne English, 2011)

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