Stop 4: The Gate

In this interview from the 1980s, four of Aldo and Estella Leopold’s children – Luna, Nina, Carl, and Estella Jr. – reminisce on their first impressions of the Shack.


Video Transcription

Estella Jr.: I can remember that it was kind of scary that we were driving into the Shack and it was quite cold, as I remember. Was it snowy? It was, it was cold or…

Luna: How many people were on that trip?

Carl: I wonder.

Luna: I was there.

Carl: I was there.

Estella: Oh, it was the first trip.

Nina: I think we were all there.

Estella: We started to come in and I can remember the impression we had was this little barn-like shack with manure up to about here and Mother saying “Aldo, are you sure you want to bring the children up here?”

Nina: Do you remember that?

Estella: Yes.

Nina: I don’t.

Estella: Anyhow, that was quite an impression.

Luna: But you do remember what Mother said, though. She said, “You boys are just crazy. You just, you can’t-”

Nina: I don’t remember that.

Luna: Don’t you? And then Dad said, “Well, if we take the manure out, we put it up in the garden, you’re going to love it because the garden is going to grow nicely with the manure.”

Carl: My impression was that, that I was really impressed with the fact you couldn’t shovel it out because it was all frozen.

Luna: Oh yeah it was all frozen.

Carl: We had to use a pickax.

Estella: Oh yes.

Carl: Pickax the manure out.



The development of this self-guided tour was funded in part by:

The Community Foundation of South Central Wisconsin

Sauk County Extension Education, Arts & Culture Committee and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin

Wisconsin Humanities, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Wisconsin Humanities strengthens our democracy through educational and cultural programs that build connections and understanding among people of all backgrounds and beliefs throughout the state.

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