Formerly known as the “Transfer Depot” (circa 1883), the building was part of William F. Delrymple’s railroad dreams. But after 10 years only 3.9 miles of track was laid between Bayfield and Red Cliff. Years passed until the building was used as a ticket office for lake excursions run by the Booth Fish company (hence the “Booth” yellow paint).
The Ferry Line purchased the building in 1997 and rented it to various people who used the space as a restaurant and/or gift shop. In the winter of 2005 with the concept of an information station in mind, construction began with a new foundation. The Madeline Island Ferry Line’s crew, led by Bob Divine and Joni Vaughn, rebuilt the front deck and upgraded its’ interior. The interior displays are wonderfully creative. Island artist, Holly Tourdot, has painted a “window” of Big Bay Point and Island murals on 4 walls as one enters the building. Landscaping has also been completed around the exterior, becoming another enticement to visit the Information Station. Make sure to stop in and get a taste of all that’s awaiting you upon your arrival on the Island.
The Madeline Island Information Station is closed for the season. If you have questions about Madeline Island, please ask a member of our crew.
Check out “Madeline Island Information Station, a Compass for Tourists” by Barbara Brown a staff writer for the Bayfield County Journal.
Several artists have their work displayed in our Information Station building; Holly Tourdot, Howard Papp, and Michael Charette.
Madeline Island Information Station-Holly painted the four season mural in the front room and the “window art” of the view from Big Bay Point (State Park on Madeline Island) in 2006.
Holly has been drawing for as long as she could remember. She began oil painting at the age of 14. Her first year of college, she took two art classes, oil painting and watercolor, at the University of Wisconsin Center-with Mary Alice Wimmer. She did not major in fine art, however, because the prospect of making a living as an artist did not seem practical to her.
It has proven impractical, but her drive to paint has won out. In 2003, she moved to Madeline Island where she paints landscapes in oil, portraits and still life in watercolor, and murals in acrylics. She has received two grants from the la Pointe Center, a handful of mural commissions, and many portrait commissions. In 2005, holly and her professor, Mary Alice, were featured in an exhibit at the la Pointe Cent Art Guild and Gallery (downtown La Pointe).
Landscapes: Holly is very moved by nature and its astounding beauty. In her landscapes, she tries to capture the feeling she gets among the majestic trees or near the powerful and life-giving lake. She is driven all the more by her concern for the environment and our need to protect our resources. She feels that she never quite captures that feeling. Her landscapes are, nonetheless very beautiful. She continues to paint scenes from Madeline Island on canvas and paper.
Watercolor still-life’s of windows: Holly paints windowsills from the inside. The idea behind these works is the concept that the eyes are the windows of the soul. The paintings perspective is from the inside the window and shows what is outside with varying focus. Through a visual metaphor representing different people, she demonstrates how we are influenced by our internal life and as a result see the world outside of us more or less clearly and accurately depending on how much we focus on our experiences.
Portraits: Holly began painting portraits as a personal project because of her love for her three children. She offered her services to other and has built a solid reputation as a portrait artist. She paints both people and animals.
Murals: Holly has begun painting murals professionally. She began by painting on her own walls and has done several murals now for others. Her latest mural is a panoramic view of La Pointe and Madeline Island at the Madeline Island Information Station. Holly also painted the starry sky in the Madeline Island Chamber Information booth at the ferry landing in Bayfield.
Madeline Island Information Station-Michael designed and constructed the Ojibwe Butterfly Dream Catcher from willow and sinew and beads (hanging in the back room of the building).
Calling great lake home for all his life, Bapa Waagosh (Laughing Fox) resided in Red Cliff where he was born. He is called upon to perform at art and musical shows and is a regular on the Gitchigami Hour, each Thursday morning on WRZC, Red Cliff ration (92.3 FM). He builds and plays the traditional woodland wooden flute, composes his own songs and performs them along with his poetry at numerous venues. Over the past few years he has begun designing and constructing Ojibwe dream catchers from willow and sinew and also creates wood burned pieces from seasoned wood.
Howard D Paap
Madeline Island Information Station-Howard painted three pieces hanging in the back of the building. White feather (2 ea paintings) and Migration #7
Howard’s pieces are interpretations of early Germanic floral patterns with an overlay of the Ojibwe woodland floral design. All are influenced by my personal trek to Lake Superior and Ojibwe Country that began nearly fifty years ago. The long narrow pieces particularly, are inspired by this migration. The vines can represent the path of life that leads to Chequamegon Bay with Madeline island as its symbolic center.
Space, time and direction are seen in each piece. The path starts in the east (yellow), moves to the South (red), then to the West (black) then to the North (white), and back to the east again before moving to the Center (creamy white), and ultimately continuing westward. Taken together, this circular pathway creates the center, which represents ongoing life.
My pieces have sold at Feel The Spirit Fine Art Gallery (Minneapolis, MN), The Log Cabin Store (Hayward, WI) and Native Spirit Gifts (Red Cliff, WI). My writings have speared in several publications. Currently I contribute pieces to the Lake Superior Sounder and the Red Cliff News.
My recently published book, A Northern Land, Life with the Ojibwe (Badger Books, Inc. 2001) tells of my years at Red Cliff. Presently I am working on three manuscripts: a history of the Red Cliff Reservation; a contemporary novel set in Bayfield; and a second collection of essays about the history of Red Cliff.