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2013 Public Program Award Winner Announced

A group tour stands near the Fairwater Historical Society sign.
Utley Quarry Tour, Fairwater Historical Society. Fairwater, Wisconsin. The family of John Kirkpatrick, author of the book 'Utley, Wisconsin's Oldest Ghost Town' touring the quarry. Source: Fairwater Historical Society

The Fairwater Historical Society has been awarded the 2013 Public Program Award for its "Returning to Utley: Wisconsin's Oldest Ghost Town" program. The local historical society's program culminated from years of research into the Utley Quarry in Markesan by a local researcher, John Kirkpatrick, followed by collaborative efforts by Arlene Leppin of the Fairwater Historical Society that produced a book about "Wisconsin's oldest ghost town."

About the Award

This award honors outstanding work in a new Wisconsin history public program. The award is presented to a Wisconsin organization that has launched an exceptional history public program during the preceding year.

About 'Returning to Utley'

The quarry, which produced rock used for road-building materials in larger cities, led to the formation of the town of Utley in the late 1800s. Early settlers and immigrants came to Utley to work the quarry and built a small village that included a school and a rail line. By the early 1900s, though, Utley had ceased to exist

After Kirkpatrick died in 2011, his family donated the findings of his research to the Fairwater Historical Society, which undertook the book project. With the publication of the book, interest boomed in the Utley Quarry and the town it helped to create. The local historical society used the renewed interest in Utley to work with the current owners of the site, Michels Materials, to conduct public tours of the site in the summer of 2012.

A panel of judges from the Wisconsin Historical Society recommended the local historical society receive the award. The Wisconsin Historical Society's Board of Curators approved the 2013 Public Program Award.

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