All visitor center exhibits were funded through grants and donations given to The Friends of the Mead/McMillan Association, Inc. They were designed and fabricated by Schmeeckle Reserve Interpreters, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Walter Krause, who farmed a mile south of here on County Highway S, walked the plowed fields in and around the Mead Wildlife Area, hunting for Indian artifacts. We are grateful for his contribution of many of the stone tools displayed here.
Walter and his family were participants in the rich history of the Little Eau Pleine. His mother Emma, in 1905 at age 17, was a cook at Camp 4 of the Grand Rapids Lumber Company. This camp was located on the Portage-Marathon County line one mile south of here. His brother Alfred was a lumberjack at the Brey Lumber Company camp just east of Camp 4.
Walter was at a 1959 hearing in Milladore on the proposed reservoir. He recalls that supporters were asked to stand on one side of the room, opponents on the other. Every person stood on the “no” side! This vote of no-confidence contributed to the decision to donate the land for a wildlife refuge.
We especially thank Ed Lary of Mosinee for the historic items he has loaned for this exhibit. This includes the beaver hat, moccasins, powder horn and measure, beaver pelt, and four stone tools with handles. Ed found these Archaic Indian artifacts in the lakebed of the Big Eau Pleine Reservoir during low water levels. He crafted these handles as authentic reproductions of Native American crafts.
Archeological excavations in the Mead Wildlife Area by the Lawrence University and University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Archeological Centers have contributed greatly to our knowledge of the people who lived in the Little Eau Pleine valley. Many of the ceramic and stone tools displayed here were found on these digs.
Archeological dig conducted in 1992 by the University of WI-Stevens Point Archeological Center.
Victoria Dirst, DNR Archeologist, identified and cataloged the prehistoric artifacts and verified the facts presented in the history exhibit.
The metal fur trade and lumbering artifacts were donated by John Lund and Charles Christison. These were found with a metal detector near the Little Eau Pleine River. Historic photographs were provided by the Marathon County Historical Society and Stratford Historical Society.