Elizabeth Upham Davis & Caroline Upham Hughes
“The Upham Sisters”
Donated land for Camp Upham Woods
Elizabeth and Caroline Upham spent their childhood at their summer home outside of Wisconsin Dells. As the United States started to grow rapidly at the beginning of the 1940s, the Upham sisters made an amazingly far-sighted gift to preserve their beloved childhood summer home from the hands of developers. The sisters gave 310 forested acres, including 200 on Blackhawk Island, to the University of Wisconsin. They wrote, “These lands are to be used as an outdoor laboratory and camp for youth, such as 4-H clubs and other people cooperating with the University of Wisconsin in the advancement of conservation, of agriculture and rural culture.”
The area now known as Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center is located on the Wisconsin River and is used by 4-H groups, schools, and many other community organizations as an outdoor laboratory in nature study, conservation, resource development, citizenship, and community leadership.
They were honored as the 1966 Friends of 4-H, where Henry Ahlgren, associate director of UW-Extension, Cooperative Extension called them “among the most outstanding benefactors Wisconsin has ever known.”