Naming the Brownstone Trail
by Kristin Edwards-Connell
"Growing up in Bayfield as a fourth generation offspring of Norwegian fisherman, I walked on the railroad track many times finding paths to the hidden beaches outside the city. I would find pieces of brownstone (also known as sandstone) to bring home. I always saw the brownstone as a beautiful stone with ageless beauty. It was solid and strong to hold massive tree roots, yet a soft texture when held that could crumble in your hands. I would look at various brownstone buildings in the area and even as far away as Chicago, and marvel at the beauty of them knowing the stone came from the Apostle Islands and the shores of the mainland.
One interesting piece of my family history relates to my Great Grandfather Jacob Johnson. Back in the early 1900’s, his commercial fishing business was based on the Coal Dock located where the footbridge is. Under water, there are still remnants of the dock and now marked by a green buoy. When the rail tracks were removed and a trail was established, I knew instantly what the appropriate name should be. I suggested the Brownstone Trail and it was quickly accepted.
When I walked the trail as a young girl, I always thought having an opportunity to live near the trail in one of the houses already there would be a dream come true. Maybe I have a fairy godmother because that dream came true! And actually owning parts of the trail now seems unreal. I am a very lucky person!
So I hope all enjoy the Brownstone Trail that changes with every season and offers a break from the busy day. Look for the wildlife in the woods and eagles that frequently soar above. It is a wonderful gift to have the Brownstone Trail right outside your door and I am thankful for my dream that came true!"