Adrian, Sylvester "Syl"
Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
University Library, University of the Pacific
Stockton, CA 95211
0.5 linear ft.
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. 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.