WILDER CREEK CONSERVATION CLUB History Profile in Progress First Entry: 09-20-09 Wilder Creek was named for Oshea Wilder who was an early settler of the Marshall area. He and his wife, Cornelia, came to Marshall in1831. He was a land surveyor. The Wilders purchased land in Eckford Township. They later moved to the Lake Michigan area where he continued to work as a surveyor. They returned to Eckford Township where Mr. Wilder died in 1847. On the Wilder Creek property is a railway bed that was part of the old Interurban line that ran between Marshall, Albion and Homer. During the late 1930's, the Wilder Creek Castle was built under the WPA (Works Progress Administration). The primary builder was James Brown of Lyon Lake. The structure was originally located near Concord. It was dismantled and rebuilt at the Wilder Creek site. Over the years, the castle has been a private residence, a haunted castle attraction during the Halloween season, and as the backdrop for the Renaissance Faire. By 1946, the Calhoun County Conservation Club was established. Later the name was changed to the Wilder Creek Conservation Club. The Marshall Bowmen because of their affiliation with the conservation club, worked with existing club members to improve the club house which had originally been located at Fort Custer. SECOND ENTRY: 12-09-09 During the late 1930's, the Wilder Creek Castle, the property's signature landmark, was built under the Works Project Administration (WPA). The primary designer/builder was James Brown of Lyon Lake. The Evening Chronicle, Marshall, Friday, August 13, 1954 states, "There are 100 tons of stone in the building, and it took 20 loads each hauling 5 tons of stone. In addition, stone was secured from the old mill foundation at Marengo, and the door and window lintels were secured in Marshall from old curbing which was taken out and replaced with cement. Funds for purchasing the stone was (were) given by Harold C. Brooks, and plans for the building were drawn by Brown. A donation from Louis Brooks paid for the lumber and other material used in construction of the castle." Over the years, the castle has been a private resident, a haunted castle during the Halloween season and a backdrop for the Renaissance Faire. By 1946, the Calhoun County Conservation Club was established on the site. Later the name was changed to the Wilder Creek Conservation Club. The Marshall Bowmen, because of their affiliation of the conservation club, worked with the existing club to improve the clubhouse which had originally been located at Fort Custer, Battle Creek, MI. The building originally was used as a military barracks. Wilder Creek Conservation Club has had many "faces" throughout its history. One historical archive mentions that at one time, the club boasted 700 members and was used nearly weekly for family/community gatherings. In 1946, the club was directed by the Calhoun County Sportsmen's Association. The Evening Chronicle, Marshall, Mi, Friday, August 13, 1954 notes: (In 1946 the) "idea of the group was to reforest some available land which had come back from (for) taxes, raise a number of pheasants, improve the Wilder Creek area, gain public access to lakes, organize fox hunts and have winter pheasant feedings." The same article goes on to say that in 1952, the club focus evolved to become the Calhoun County Conservation Club, concentrating more on conservation and family recreation. "The club's membership is now well over 600, and officials hope to hit the 700 mark this year. The picnic grounds attract from 10,000 to 15,000 yearly and the area offers all types of recreation. It includes hillsides covered with undergrowth, a bird haven, archery and trapshooting area and a ball field." Also in 1952, the club became incorporated with the State of Michigan as a non- profit corporation.