Ellison Bay Seeks Historic Escarpment Plaque

Robert Murray of Door County sent the following appeal to PortalWisconsin.org last week. Mr. Murray authored an Ellison Bay day trip for us last year and keeps in touch by email from time to time.

Recovery of the historic escarpment plaque is a priority for the Ellison Bay Service Club. Photo: Robert Murray.

Ellison Bay, Wis. In the 1920s, professors came from the Universities of Chicago and Wisconsin to camp and build cottages along Ellison Bay’s northeastern shore.  For the following 38 years, hundreds of students traveled to Ellison Bay from the world over to study the Niagara Escarpment at its pinnacle, Ellison Bay’s “Big Bluff.”

In the mid-1900s, a University of Chicago cartographer, who had been among those many students, designed “The Escarpment Marker,” including a bronze plaque showing a world map with dotted lines converging on Ellison Bay from five continents.  A legend reading: “From where they came to study Ellison Bay” was also engraved on the plaque. A large slab of Niagara dolomite was dragged across the frozen bay in winter, the bronze plaque was attached, and the Escarpment Marker was erected in the Community Center Park at the foot of Ellison Bay in 1965.

Unfortunately, the pins securing the heavy bronze plaque gave way.  It fell from its mounting on the dolomite slab and vanished sometime during the 1970s – probably salvaged by someone who chanced upon it.  Recovery of the Marker plaque is a priority project of the Ellison Bay Service Club, whose mission is to serve the Ellison Bay community and preserve its history.  The club’s sole intent is to return the marker to its original “home” in Ellison Bay Park for all Door County residents and visitors to enjoy.

If you have, or happen to know of anyone who may have information that might lead to the recovery of The Escarpment Marker plaque, please contact Gary Kemp at 608-963-8705 in confidence.

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