Renovating the History Kiosk

Photo-diary by Deb Ford, NWS Board
Click on any photo to view in larger format

Where We Begin

This is where our story starts. The original history kiosk definitely serves a purpose, but it doesn’t necessarily draw visitors in. NWS board member Julia Keepper researches Newport history, collects photos, and keeps the original display fresh while we plan for the new kiosk design. (April 2021)

History Kiosk before renovation
Julia Keepper

Addressing Invasives

A large patch of invasives is encroaching on the kiosk. We address this issue first. It takes several days of work to open up a better view to the water. (June 2021)

Encroaching invasives
Getting a lesson on the sickle mower from park employee Becca Platzke
Gene Kenny
Rick Foster, Mark Glasser
Jim Black
View to the water opens up

Cosmetic Surgery on the Existing Kiosk

A lot of rehab work on the kiosk is required to prepare it for the new installation. We choose to keep much of the original structure; it is a piece of park history itself. (September 2021)

Terry Heidenreiter securing cedar shake shingles
Gene Kenny, Jann Kostecke, Keth Kostecke, Terry Heidenreiter sanding out imperfections
We are a wilderness park; water for pressure-washing gets hauled in
Keith Kostecke
Greg Wilde
Jerry Krebs starts the staining work

About Julie Hein: Biologist and Interpretive Designer

Julie has a deep connection to Newport. As the park’s naturalist for 15 years, many of her experiences here at Newport became seminal to her career. During that time, she was given her first opportunity to develop interpretive trailside exhibits along Fern Trail. It was through that project that she found her love of interpretive media, audio description, and creating accessible experiences. She founded Lake Ledge Naturalist, LLC and has gone on to become an audio describer and content writer for the National Park Service, and provides interpretive development for parks, historical societies, and nature centers. 
Julie also met renowned biologist Dr. Lincoln Brower at the park while conducting his annual field research on monarch butterfly migration. That meeting and subsequent friendship sparked her pursuit of a graduate degree in biology where she continued Dr. Brower’s research in the fields of Newport.
“This landscape with its rich natural and cultural history has become a part of me as it has for so many others. It has been a privilege to work with Beth and everyone at the Newport Wilderness Society. What an honor it is to share how Newport came to be, a place that means so much to all of us,” said Julie.

(L-R) Gene Kenny, Beth Bartoli, Julie Hein reviewing plans for the kiosk installation (Sept 2021)


The new panels were installed on a blustery late-October morning by Julie Hein and DJ Jeanquart. We are thrilled with the new kiosk and hope it will inspire park visitors to appreciate the unique history of Newport State Park and its journey from wilderness to thriving town and back into wilderness.

DJ Jeanquart; Julie Hein
Beth Bartoli; Julie Hein
DJ Jeanquart; Julie Hein
Julie Hein
The finished kiosk

Our Thanks

Newport Wilderness Society is very grateful for a $2,000 grant we received from the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks for the renovation project. The remainder of the approximately $9,600 cost will be funded by NWS. If you would like to make a donation in support of the History Kiosk renovation, please see this page on our website.

In addition, we are profoundly grateful for all of the volunteers who came to help prep the kiosk over 5 workdays in spring, summer, and fall. Your talents and time are so very much appreciated.

Don’t worry. It was installed appropriately!