Register of the Sylvester (Adrian F.) John Muir Memorial Park, Wisc. Papers, 1954-1982

Processed by Daryl Morrison & Don Walker; machine-readable finding aid created by Don Walker
Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
University Library, University of the Pacific
Stockton, CA 95211
Phone: (209) 946-2404
Fax: (209) 946-2810
© 1998
University of the Pacific. All rights reserved.

Register of the Sylvester (Adrian F.) John Muir Memorial Park, Wisc. Papers, 1954-1982

Collection number: Mss207

Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections

University Library

University of the Pacific

Contact Information

  • Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
  • University Library, University of the Pacific
  • Stockton, CA 95211
  • Phone: (209) 946-2404
  • Fax: (209) 946-2810
  • URL:
Processed by:
Daryl Morrison & Don Walker
Date Completed:
1994 & 1998
Encoded by:
Don Walker
© 1998 University of the Pacific. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Sylvester (Adrian F.) John Muir Memorial Park, Wisc. Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1954-1982
Collection number: Mss207
Creator: Ronald H. Limbaugh
Extent: 0.5 linear ft.
Repository: University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
Stockton, CA 95211
Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Language: English.

Administrative Information


Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Sylvester (Adrian F.) John Muir Memorial Park, Wisc. Papers, Mss207, Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library


Sylvester "Syl" Adrian of Montello, Wisconsin was an inventor, resort and tavern owner, museum owner, conservationist and local historian. He was instrumental in the creation of the John Muir Memorial County Park on the first Wisconsin homesite of John Muir. The site was located at Fountain Lake farm, near Montello on County road F South in Marquette County, Wisconsin. Syl Adrian was an inventor like Muir, inventing with his brother a player piano, the coin slot for vending machines, the Adrianola juke box, an x-ray shoe fitter made until 1926, and an electric starter motor. As the operator of Adrian's Indian Echoes Resort and museum, he displayed a large Winnebago Indian artifact collection, World War I memorabilia, and information on Muir.
Adrian began his campaign for a Muir Park at Fountain Lake when he became concerned about the closing of the locks on Fox River. He felt that the Fountain Lake was the most appropriate site for a Muir memorial. He worked with descendents of Edward Harriman, the Union Pacific Railroad President who had organized and financed John Muir's Alaskan Travels on the Harriman Expeditions. The Mary Harriman Foundation helped to purchase some of the 150 acre park which includes the farm area, meadow and lake. Involving agencies such as the City of Montello, Marquette County, the Wisconsin Historical Society, and local landowners around Fountain Lake, he worked for 12 years to establish the park. He was unsuccessful in his additional effort to include the Muir farm on the Ice Age National Scientific Reserve Trail.
The John Muir Memorial Park was dedicated on May 5, 1957 and featured Jean Hanna DeLipkau, Muir's grand-daughter, as a speaker.

Scope and Content

The collection includes newspaper clippings, articles, correspondence, photographs and taped interviews of the Adrians and others living on Muir family historic sites by Dr. Ronald H. Limbaugh, Dir., John Muir Center, University of the Pacific, Stockton, Calif.







-Memorial service remarks for Syl Adrian funeral, 1-82


-From Lady Bird Johnson [photostat]


-From Helen F. Muir, 4-24-57 [declines to attend park dedication due to health; photostat]


-Book review by Adrian of Linnie Marsh Wolfe's Son of the Wilderness


-'Wiand's Patent...Making a Highway of Mississippi River Ice" in Wisconsin Academy Review, Dec. 1977, p. 33. (Muir worked for Wiand before attending the University of Wisconsin)


-Adrian's Honorary membership in the John Muir Memorial Association, Martinez, Calif.


-Deed to Daniel Muir, January 8, 1855 [photostat]


-Marker Dedication Program, Muir Memorial Park, Sunday May 5, 1957.


-"John Muir-- Wanderer" paper by Sylvester Adrian.


-"Land of Inspiration" in Discovery (Sp1976), pp. 22-23. features Adrian on John Muir.


-"John Muir... and the Wisconsin Meadow that Inspired our National Parks." in Lifetimes. (W 1979), pp. 18-19


-Newspaper clippings from Wisconsin newspapers on Muir Park, Adrian, and the Muir stamp


-"John Muir Memorial Park and Botanizing on Muir's Lake," reprint from Wisconsin Academy Review (Sp1957)


-"John Muir Trails" by Jean Hanna de Lipkau (May 4, 1957) [illus. lecture]




-Mr.and Mrs. Audley Cuff (later owners of part of the Muir property)


-Hickory Hill House


-"Miss Dunken" (Jessica Duncan, Muir family neighbor)


-Fountain Lake


-Kingston Hotel (where Muirs stayed before moving to Fountain Lake)


-Postmaster Gromaska and Governor Reynolds at unveiling of Muir Stamp




TAPE #1---ADRIAN SYLVESTER ON PUBLIC TV: "A Day at Fountain Lake," (April1973) [professionally-produced interview of Sylvester Adrian]::::::::::


[Side 1] Mr. Adrian on John Muir Park::::::::::


[Side 2] Adrian on John Muir (approx. 18:30)


TAPE #2---DEDICATION CEREMONY JM MEMORIAL PARK (May 5, 1957) [WPDR Service Dept. Broadcast of a summary of the dedication]




-Tour of Fountain Lake site::::::::::


-Visit with Rubicheau family who gave some of the Fountain Lake land::::::::::


-Discussed policing the Muir Memorial Park and keeping out vandals::::::::::


-Discussed encouraging Scotland to create an historic site


TAPE #4---Part II of ADRIAN INTERVIEW by RONALD H. LIMBAUGH, July 25-26, 1981::::::::::


-Adrian's family background and early career as an inventor:::::::::::


-Service in France during WWI::::::::::


-Electrical shop in Fond du Lac during 1920s:::::::::::


-Inventions incl. a juke box patents to which sold to Wurlitzer for $25,000::::::::::


-Sold his electric shop, went to Montello and ran a resort::::::::::


-Learned of the Muir site and sought to get a marker::::::::::


-Efforts to get a Muir stamp::::::::::


-Discussion of Sylvester's Muir scrapbook:::::::::::


-Tour of Hickory Hill Farm, Portage WI with the Carrens (Cairns?) family [incl. basement where Muir studied and carved inventions and the barn; history told & property described]::::::::::::


-Tour of Silver Lake Cemetery in Portage WI:::::::::: [burial place of: Anne Gilrye Muir (John's mother) ; Annie Muir and John D., son of CH and DG June 15, 1886, 13 years and 8 mo. ; Kathryn H. Cairns, wife of D. G. Muir, d 1825 46 yr, 8 months]::::::::::


-Drive by house where Muir's mother lived after she separated from her husband. 228 (or 229) Howard St., Portage::::::::::


-Julia Rush School site in Portage [site of Daniel Muir house]::::::::::


-Limbaugh summary of visit [July 26, 1981]