THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Mayor Al Krizenesky and sign maker David Charles with new trail sign.
New Park Trail Has History Of its Own
Issue Date: July 31, 2013
A sign has been erected at the site of the City of Peshtigo newest park and trail on East Front St. The Peshtigo River Recreational Park has a trail officially named Ellis Memorial Trail and has a history dating back to 1857.
The park site on the Peshtigo River was named in honor of William A. Ellis, original owner in 1857. At the time he was manager of the Peshtigo Company Store and a dealer in pine lands. Peshtigo was not a city then and he served as Town of Peshtigo treasurer for 18 years and later served one year as a state senator from 1881-82. In 1903 that portion became a city was incorporated.
His first home on the site was burned in the Oct. 8, 1871 Peshtigo Fire. Many residents fled to the site to reach safety in the Peshtigo River.
Shortly after the fire he constructed a three story large, beautiful mansion which included indoor bathrooms with running water. The water was pumped from the river by a windmill on the property.
Inside the mansion were a marble fireplaces in the rooms. Carved oak and shutters could be viewed throughout the structure. A ballroom was located on the third floor and lighted at Christmas time with a tree. There was also a tower with seats on all four sides from which the beauty of the Peshtigo River and its wildlife could be viewed both upstream and downstream.
The mansion remained at the site until around 1958 when it was torn down.
While the trail now has a sign and name, works still needs to be done to make it a top trail along the Peshtigo River, according to Mayor Al Krizenesky.
The mayors first steps for trail improvements creation of a joint partnership and relationship between the city, BPM Inc. and Wisconsin Public Service Corp.
Also appoint a team of experts to explore the most effective way to resolve any issues that could arise and to pursue any and all grants for trail improvement from state and federal sources as well as the Department of Natural Resources.
The mayor foresees no limit to the potential for the City of Peshtigo in development of the 12 1/2 acres of the trail alongside the Peshtigo River.
With all the updating in the city this year, there was insufficient time to really get started on the Ellis Memorial Trail, he said.
* Future plans include a fish viewing walk next to the WPS dam.
* A pedestrian walking trail and a dog walk.
* A covered pedestrian steel railroad bridge of BPM, Inc. that will allow complete viewing of the trail.