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Observatory Hill Property

Oak Openings - Ponds & Marsh - Next to State Natural Area - Two Homesteads

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Our property lies on part of the north slope of Observatory Hill State Natural Area, a 208-acre preserve surrounding a 1.78-billion-year-old rhyolite monadnock, which is the highest point in Marquette County, Wisconsin (if you call 300’ above the surr­ounding landscape “high,” although John Muir, whose boyhood home was nearby, called it instead “the great cloud-capped mountain of our child’s imagination”). More information about the Hill is available here from the Wisconsin DNR website.








My wife and I have lived here close to 50 years and over that time, we’ve tried to be good stewards of the land. In 2010, we dedicated the back 30 acres adjacent to the State Natural Area on and along the Hill in a conservation easement with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The long-term goal is to restore that acreage, which includes a mature pine plantation, to oak woods and oak barrens, the forest communities that were here in Muir’s time.


The rest of the property is made up mostly of mixed woods; some gray dogwood and hazelnut brushland; two duck ponds; some prairie plantings around the two houses on the property; an old 6-acre cornfield seeded into prairie; and a marsh we are trying to restore by removing invasive brush and using herbicide to beat back reed canary grass.


The main house is a custom-built frame two-story with a cathedral ceiling, a large window-wall overlooking a prairie field, a large field-stone fireplace with a pellet stove insert, several bedrooms, and a full basement. The other house is a two-story rental with an attached sided-over log cabin. We restored the interior of the cabin after exposing the logs and it now serves as the kitchen. The property is in the Montello school district.


Since our children aren’t interested in living here, we’re hoping to find some like-minded person(s) who want to live in a very quiet, off-road setting and carry on the stewardship of this special place. The property is an hour by car from the UW-Madison campus, about 40 minutes from Oshkosh, and 90 minutes from Stevens Point.



If this sounds like a property you’d like to know more about, we’d be happy to talk to you. Please use the Contact form to get in touch with us.      Barbara and Charles Church

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