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
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