Tree project connects former Fourth Ward residents to their home turf

Goldie Clanton
Goldie Clanton, Prairie du Chien, is pictured with the flowering pear tree that was planted at 205 Roulette St. on St. Feriole Island, the site on which her childhood home once sat. She helped plant and even properly christen the tree, with a can of beer from the Burton bar that she, her husband Bob, and friends Dick and Connie Mergen frequented years ago.

By Correne Martin

Prairie du Chien’s Fourth Ward neighborhood lives on through the shared stories of the people who once lived on the island, which now serves as a multi-use park for the community.

A new project underway by the St. Feriole Island caretakers is to plant trees on the land where homes once stood.

Goldie Clanton, who grew up at 205 Roulette St., started the venture by working with Tom Nelson, an officer of the St. Feriole Island Memorial Gardens, to plant a tree in memory of her parents, Gailord and Marie Collins, on the property they once inhabited.

A flowering pear tree has been planted on the parcel that once held Goldie’s childhood home. A nameplate at the foot of the tree will carry on her parents’ memory. Goldie even assisted in planting her tree.

“So many people lived on the island and would like a way to leave their mark for the future. This may be a way people can acknowledge and recognize where they once lived,” Nelson said. “Our goal is to put additional trees on the island. The city’s finances don’t necessarily allow for them to do these kinds of things, so we, the community, can get involved to enhance and beautify our community.”

Others interested in continuing the idea of planting trees on their former Fourth Ward homesteads are encouraged to contact Nelson at 326-8602.

Nelson said the only cost to interested individuals would be that of the tree itself and $100 (which assures the tree can be replaced if something happens to it). He also noted that people would be able to choose the species of tree they prefer.

“We have a list of trees suggested by the forester through the city’s parks and rec program if people have no preference,” Nelson stated.

And, if participants in the project wish to plant their own tree, Nelson said that can be arranged.

“We’re really thrilled to be able to do this. It’s not just that we’re planting trees,” he said. “We’re connecting people who lived there back to the island.”

Rate this article: 
No votes yet