Adams County Wisconsin


Historical Markers


ROCHE-A-CRI STATE PARK 
Location: at the park, Hwy 13, 3 miles north of Friendship
Erected: 1976

This prominent butte, perhaps the steepest hill in Wisconsin, was called 
La Roche-a-Cri by 17th and 18th century French voyageurs. Rising 300 feet 
above the surrounding plain, this landmark undoubtedly guided Indians and 
early pioneers. Indians of an undetermined cultural group left rock 
carvings, called petroglyphs, at places on Roche-a-Cri. Like many similar 
formations on Wisconsin's sandy Central Plain, this butte is composed of 
Cambrian sandstone about 500 million years old. The flat plain is the old 
bed of Glacial Lake Wisconsin, which covered 1,800 square miles of central
Wisconsin some 15,000 years ago. The buttes were islands in that immense 
lake. The State Highway Commission purchased nearby land for a roadside 
park in 1937 and ten years later conveyed it to the Wisconsin Conservation
Department. Roche-a-Cri State Park was established in 1948 and now 
contains over 400 acres. It is listed in the National Register of Historic
Places.

SITE OF THE FIRST NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN CHURCH OF THE ROCHE-A-CRI 
Location: South Arkdale Cemetery, 1801 Cypress Ave., Strongs Prairie Township
Erected: 1998

In 1850, a group of Norwegian settlers from Koshkonong, the foremost 
Norwegian settlement colony in the United States at the time, left their 
southern Wisconsin home and migrated north, settling here in "Roch-a-Cree"
or Roche-a-Cri. Imbued with pioneer spirit and a firm faith in 
Lutheranism, these settlers homesteaded and became successful farmers, 
growing potatoes as their staple crop. In 1853, Rev. H. A. Preus, a 
university-trained minister of the Norwegian state church, visited 
Roche-a-Cri and organized "The Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church of 
Roche-a-Cri" with a membership of about thirty individuals who held 
services in their homes. In 1859, the community and congregation had 
outgrown these meeting places and built a log church at this site. This 
structure was destroyed by fire and in 1868 a frame church was erected 
one mile north of this location. The old church cemetery remains here, 
however, and is known as the South Arkdale cemetery. 


Transcribed by Joan Benner for the Adams County WI Rootsweb Pages

This site is maintained by Joan and was last updated January 2003

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