Hiking Lake Park Milwaukee in Search of Buried Treasure

The legendary Lake Park in Milwaukee, designed in 1892 by Frederick Law Olmsted of NYC Central Park fame, is a woodland retreat wrapping both the upper lake bluff and ravines that descend to Lincoln Memorial Drive. Walking through the park is like stepping back into an impressionist era vision of urban grandeur and the noble pursuit of leisure. Strolling this 138-acre parkland reminds me of rambling the grounds of a European castle.

Recreational amenities at Lake Park include lawn bowling greens, golfing, picnic areas, ball fields, modern playgrounds, statuary, historic architecture, and vistas with long views of the sunrise over Great Lake Michigan. It also hosts four brief woodland trails that follow streams and waterfalls down into wooded ravines blossoming with spring plantings and summer wildflowers. My morning walk around the park, which included each of the hiking trails, added up to a 2.6-mile loop.

A pleasant and scenic stroll through this mix of sculpted lawns and woodlands should be reason enough to make Lake Park a hiking destination in the Milwaukee Metro area. But you’ll find many who travel from far and wide to scrutinize every detail of this park. They’re seeking clues that could solve a 40-year-old mystery that has captured the fascination of puzzle-solvers and treasure hunters world-wide. Theories shared online speculate that one of twelve treasures is buried in Lake Park. Could you be the one to finally interpret the clues correctly?

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Locust Street Ravine Trail in Lake Park Milwaukee
Locust Street Ravine Trail in Lake Park Milwaukee

What is a Wonderstone

In 1981, Byron Preiss penned an illustrated puzzle book titled The Secret, A Treasure Hunt. The gist of this story (apologies to The Secret fans for my hacker synopsis) is that man forced magical and mythical beings such as fairies and the like to immigrate to America where they initially lived peacefully among the First Nations. Preiss selected twelve home cities where the story claims these migrant Fair Folk hid keys to special jewels. In each of these cities he buried a casque with a key that can be exchanged for a valuable gemstone known as a wonderstone.

To find one of these keys a reader must interpret verses and illustrations from the book. The first task is to determine which verse pairs with a city and then which illustration pairs with that same city. From there, the cryptic clues within the image and verse pairing should lead a treasure hunter to the precise location of a key-containing casque buried beneath the ground.

It is now 2022, forty years after the first publication of The Secret, and to date only three keys have been unearthed, one in Cleveland, Chicago, and Boston. Of the nine remaining, most seekers believe that Milwaukee is the city described in the pairing of Image 10 and Verse 8 of the book. Not only do most believe that Milwaukee is a key city, but also that the clues lead to a hidden casque somewhere within Lake Park.

Before I dive head into my wild theories and interpretations of the clues, I’ll describe the park and its trails, because for those who follow this blog you know that this is primarily a hiking blog. The best reason to visit Lake Park and hike its trails remains a blissful hour spent rambling beneath the shade of trees surrounded by exceptional scenery.

Description of the Lake Park Hiking Trails

Lake Park is splendid in all seasons. There is a scenic drive descending from North Lake Park Road to Lincoln Memorial Drive. A grand staircase leads from the lakefront to the city-wide-famous Bartolatta’s Park Bistro with vistas of Lake Michigan. You’ll also find the North Point Lighthouse and historic keeper’s house in the park. Milwaukee’s extensive paved bike trail network, The Oak Leaf Trail, meanders through the park on the upper bluff and below it. There are parking lots, flush toilet buildings, playgrounds, ball fields, picnic areas, and all the amenities that one would expect from a splendid city park. You can discover a fine collection of trees including a few state champions, and the birds which live there who draw the attention of a devoted bird-watching community.

In the park you’ll find four trails that follow streams and ravines down the bluff to Lincoln Memorial Drive where you can seamlessly connect to a string of lake front parks, beaches, museums, and the festival park.

The most popular trail is the Locust Street Ravine Trail. You can reach it by entering the park from Locust Street and stepping onto the Oak Leaf Trail, then following this concrete paved walk towards the tennis courts where a dirt and woodchip trail cuts off and gently courses down into a ravine. You’ll pass beneath the Iron Footbridge adorned in ornamental rosettes. The trail leads to Ravine Drive and then passes under the iconic stone Ravine Drive Footbridge before terminating on the north side of Ravine Drive and Lincoln Memorial Drive.

From there hikers can then climb the Grand Staircase to the Park Pavilion and cut along paved walks to the head of the Waterfall Ravine Trail. A monumental Lannonstone channel directs cascades of drainage from the golf course down through the Waterfall Ravine. Flights of wood staircases, stone pavers, and finally a crushed stone and compacted earth trail follows beside the channel and crosses it three times on wood decked footbridges. The Waterfall Ravine Trail terminates at a 2010 installed rain garden on the south end of the old stadium.

Walking through the grass or sidewalk south beside Lincoln Memorial Drive takes you to the foot of the North Lighthouse Ravine Trail. This trail ascends gradually and easily along a compacted earth trail and passes beneath one of the Lion Bridges before reaching N. Wahl Avenue. A few steps southbound along Wahl Ave brings you to the head of the South Lighthouse Ravine trail which gradually descends and passes under the southern Lion Bridge before reaching the foot of the bluff at Lincoln Memorial Dr.

If you want to circle back to Locust Street, you’ll have to walk the distance of the park north along Lincoln Memorial Drive where you’ll reach an asphalt paved trail that gently ascends to a parking lot near the playground and tennis courts.

Hikers who complete this loop will have walked about 3-miles, 7000 steps, and climbed the lake bluff three times – a very worthy hour of exercise. Then you can either head down Lincoln Memorial Drive for coffee at Collectivo in Veteran’s Park or, OR, you could circle back through the park and find the key to a valuable gemstone hidden somewhere along the path you just hiked.

Waterfall Ravine Trail in Lake Park Milwaukee
Waterfall Ravine Trail in Lake Park Milwaukee

The Secret, Verse 8

The following excerpt is featured in the book The Secret, by Byron Preiss Visual Publications Kelly, S. (1982). The Secret. Bantam Books.

View the three stories of Mitchell
As you walk the beating of the world
At a distance in time
From three who lived there
At a distance in space
From woman, with harpsichord
Silently playing
Step on nature
Cast in copper
Ascend the 92 steps
After climbing the grand 200
Pass the compass and reach
The foot of the culvert
Below the bridge
Walk 100 paces
Southeast over rock and soil
To the first young birch
Pass three, staying west
You’ll see a letter from the country
Of wonderstone’s hearth
On a proud, tall fifth
At its southern foot
The treasure waits.

The Secret, Image 10

The following illustration is featured in the book The Secret, by Byron Preiss Visual Publications Kelly, S. (1982). The Secret. Bantam Books.

On the Hunt For Buried Treasure

Two weekends ago, in mid-May 2022, I stumbled onto a Pinterest pin that led me to a story about The Secret and a nationwide treasure hunt that had one of the treasures hidden somewhere right here in Milwaukee. I had previously spent some time trying to decode the Forest Fenn Treasure so when I heard there was a verse and a game right here in my backyard I was excited. I immediately found my way to Image 10 and Verse 8 within a few keystrokes and Google queries. I read the first line and I said to myself, Mitchell Park. Then I read the next pair of lines and I was like, Bradley Clocktower. Then I read, from three who lived there and I was like, cut it out – that’s Kilbourntown, Juneautown, and Walker’s Point.

I. was. hooked.

Now, it got much more difficult after those leadoff clues. I mean, from woman with harpsichord? But, luckily we live in a crowdsourced digital world. So, I found my way to The Secret Wiki page. And I read through the solve there and I was feeling a bit cheated. Forty years of detective work had led to a starting point at Mitchell Hall and a street potentially named after an Italian painting from the 1500’s? What kinda? Who? What is going on here with this Marietta? And where have all the birch trees gone?

I had to get out to Lake Park right away. And on my first trip to get the lay of the land I was still thinking birch trees and Locust Street Trail. In the week that followed I went down some rabbit holes. I spent a whole evening teaching myself how to read Celtic Tree Alphabets and Germanic Runes. I overlaid Image 10 onto a map of Lake Park and aligned the two red balls in the image over the top of Greens 3 and 17 and with that scaling I struck vectors from the eyeball of the juggler out through each of the juggled items and was sure these lines pointed to key landmarks. I bought a copy of The Secret, a 1983 road map of Milwaukee, a book about the history of the Oak Leaf Trail, North Point Neighborhood history book, and a 1980 edition of the Wisconsin State Champion Trees pamphlet. I was fully invested.

After letting all this information reduce down to a tasty sauce in my mind for a few days I came to an agreement with myself that I would take a more common wit approach to this puzzle. I think it’s a ton of fun to imagine the depths of obscure knowledge that might be in play in this puzzle. While I’m going to make arguments to defend my solve, nothing I present here should be taken as being dismissive about other approaches. For me, I think the clues could be interpreted without very much depth of knowledge, but simply the application of a creative mind, what I call common-wit.

When I drove to Milwaukee for a second run around the parks, I listened to The Secret Podcast on my drive and I found that one of the podcast hosts, JM, was like a soulmate for me in this hunt. He also started at Mitchell Park, and he also took a more common-wit approach to interpretations. I still feel like he shoehorned parts of the puzzle to fit his prefferred interpretations. But, I got some comfort in knowing that others were freeing themselves from the solve that is presented on the Wiki page.

When I arrived at Lake Park last Saturday, I was on a mission to find some place where the Waterfall Ravine fit into the story of this puzzle. I was sitting on the rocks at the top of the waterfall reviewing my photos and notes and I looked down the ravine and saw the puzzle pieces snap together to point to one 6’ x 6’ x 6’ area, and I said, 'wow, that's cool'. Over the next ten pages, I’m going to explain my first attempt at a complete start-to-finish solve for Verse 8/Image 10. This is a story about my own journey back to a park that has been a feature in my life for many years. It isn’t a story that shuts down other thinking on this game or even breaks much new ground. If what I’ve laid out here inspires you to go to the park and sit on a rock and think about a waterfall – then I’ve done what I’ve set out to do here in this blog.

I approach this treasure hunt as a Milwaukee native. I have a deep sense of connection to the contextual elements of this puzzle. I was born in Milwaukee three years before The Secret was first published. I attended school for a few years at UW Milwaukee, just a few blocks up the street from Lake Park, and as a theatre student many of my classes were conducted in Mitchell Hall where the drumming of world beats in the dance studios filled the halls with rhythm. For a time, I worked at Discovery World Museum when it was located on Wells St, and I rode my bike to work each morning from my home a block off Locust Street, then cruising down Ravine Drive through Lake Park to reach the Oak Leaf Trail along Lincoln Memorial Drive and passing through Juneau Park and Pere Marquette Park on my daily commute. Had I known about the potential of buried treasure then in the late 90’s I would have been able to follow the clues in the verse and image before major reconstructions of Lincoln Memorial Drive, the Waterfall Ravine, and the restorations of the Wolcott Statue.

I think I’ll give you a lot to chew on and hopefully entice you to make your own journey and discoveries and get caught up in this key search as I have. For those who have spent decades searching, maybe you'll find some new nugget of information as I stumble through this and present anew the many discoveries you’ve already made.

Something is a foot in this puzzle


I’ll drop a friendly reminder here that it is illegal and unbecoming of an adventurer to dig holes in the parks. My goal in walking this park was to try and nail down one of the more obscure clues, and that is all. Please, do not use this article as reason to disrupt or disrespect Milwaukee’s parks.

Where Credit is Due

All respect is due to those who have worked on and shared interpretations with us. If I had just picked up a copy of The Secret, I probably would not have been able to match Verse 8 to Image 10. I would have done any number of things differently. So, thank you for your hard work and for sharing your ideas online.

If you find that my proposed solutions match yours, maybe we’ve both hit on the correct answers. After all, if there is one correct way to interpret each clue then many people are bound to come up with the same answer. I will certainly present many ideas which others, who have spent decades researching this puzzle, have shared publicly and freely alongside my own interpretations.

Here’s a step-by-step walk through my own journey through this Milwaukee story in May of 2022.

Arriving at a Milwaukee Connection

To begin this treasure hunt, I first had to connect an image, a verse, and a city. For me that was easy. It was already done. All I had to do was believe in the consesus I found online that Verse 8 is tied to Milwaukee and Image 10 is tied to Milwaukee. I do believe others' work on this.

Image 10 has what appears to me to be an outline of Milwaukee's City Hall. It also has a rebus. A millstone, a walking cane, and a key = Mill, Walk, Key. I have no qualms with this interpretation.

Verse 8 starts with the phrase, View the three stories of Mitchell. Reading that was how I got kicked off on this puzzle game to start with. I immediately thought of Mitchell Park's Domes. So long as the remaining clues made sense within a Milwaukee context I felt good about endorsing the online community's consensus that Verse 8 also pointed to Milwaukee.

Milwaukee City Hall
Milwaukee City Hall

View the three stories of Mitchell

The leading interpretations of View the three stories of Mitchell, place the starting line at the three-story Mitchell Hall on the UWM campus. However, I started at Mitchell Park’s Domes, each of the three dedicated to a chapter of botany. It’s a place where people go to view three stories – the arid desert dome, the rainforest dome, and the temperate show dome.

Once I got started researching this riddle I quickly came onto an article about Jacques Vieau, entitled a Cabin with a Vieau. That article unearthed some knowledge I once learned long ago, that the first European settler built a cabin on a hill that is now within the boundaries of Mitchell Park. I then learned there is a memorial rock in the park marking the site of the cabin.

I love this as a starting point for a Milwaukee journey. I also love the phonetic riddle or pun playinng with the word view and the pronounciation of Jacques Vieau's last name. I felt a burst of delight when I discovered this connection. It all felt right.

After making this discovery I realized that other key searchers also agree with this interpretation, a significant confidence booster for me that I had started this journey on the right footing.

Jacques Vieau Monument in Mitchell Park Milwaukee
Jacques Vieau Monument in Mitchell Park Milwaukee

Walk the beating of the world

As you walk the beating of the world
At a distance in time
From three who lived there
At a distance in space

Other people seem to be tripped up on this next clue. I do not share that sense of confusion about the beating of the world clue.

This one came to me without much trouble. The Allen Bradley Clocktower was, for most of my life, the Guinness Book of World Records largest four-faced clock in the world. It happens to be on Second Street in Walker's Point. It is within view from the Jacques Vieau Monument. Seeing it from that part of town, it looms very large and dominant on the skyline. All of this connects. Walk = Walker's Point. A distance in time = go to the clocktower and travel on Second Street. And the beating of the world = the Guinness Book of World Records champion Allen Bradley Clocktower.

Bradley Clocktower in Walker's Point
Bradley Clocktower in Walker's Point

From three who lived there

Milwaukee was founded by three tycoons who each established a city. These three cities were later merged to form Milwaukee. George Walker established Walker’s Point, Solomon Juneau founded Juneautown, and Byron Kilbourn founded Kilbourntown.

As I view the riddle today, this clue calls out, in a general fashion, Milwaukee's downtown area. For a while, I believed that one would have to walk past each of the houses of these city founders. But as I've let these clues simmer I now believe that I should simply continue on 2nd street till I reach the Germania Building on Wells Street and then turn east to head towards the true horizon over Lake Michigan (towards a distance in space).

On page 10 of your book you'll find a map showing the origin countries of the Fair Folk and number 3 on the map shows groups originating in Germany. The Milwaukee hunt is linked to these fair folk originating in Germany for various reasons. Even though the Germania Building on 2nd and Wells is not specifically called out in the verse or image, you get a good view of city hall from this intersection, and there is some story reference to Germany. Germania is also a Woman's name - my grandmother's name incidentally, and it is possible that the woman in the clue "From woman" is in fact Germania.

It is also important, in my view, that the clue states FROM three who lived there. Since I interpreted this clue to call out the downtown in general, it meant that I'd move through and away from downtown Milwaukee. For me, there was never a chance that the treasure was hidden in one of the downtown parks. I had a long way to go before I could start contemplating a burial location.

There is one alternative that I've considered. Now that I have a sense for Byron Preiss's style in riddles and puzzles ... it could be that the three who lived there are, Allen, Bradley, and ... one more name associated with the Allen Bradley Clock Tower which could be the clock's architect, whose last name was Scott. Allen, Bradley, and Scott have the cheeky pun and hidden in plain sight kind of style that I've picked up from Byron Preiss. But, for the meantime, I'll stick to the arcane historical fact of Walker, Juneau, and Kilbourn.

The following illustration is an excerpt from the Milwaukee History Trail produced by the Three Harbors Council Boy Scouts of America
Map of Juneautown, Walkers Point, Kilbourntown

At a Distance in Space From Woman, With Harpsichord

Verse 8 makes use of a few unusual words. As I read through the verse time after time my mind lingered on harpsichord, country, hearth, ascend, and culvert. Among these, harpsichord is the most unusual and the clue seems to have perplexed many an anylyst before me. The leading interpretation is that from woman, with harpsichord is of Marietta pictured in a 1500's oil painting that is housed in Italy. I quickly put that theory aside.

Another popular theory is in the architrave of the Pabst Theatre. In the ornate architrave is a relief of a woman's head. Above her head is a harp and below her is a balcony that appears like a string instrument. When I was standing below this dimensional image on Wells Street I did believe that it looked musical, but my mind never would have made the jump to harpsichord if it wasn't given to me.

On my first time running through my solve in Milwaukee I endorsed the interpretation of the Pabst Theater. But, a few months later I came back to this clue. I just wasn't satisfied with the solution. On my third treasure hunting trip in Milwaukee I challenged myself to put a nail in this clue. I believe I have a novel interpretation, so I'm going to walk you through it in detail.

Before I jumped into the harpsichord I had to back up. I assumed I was turning from 2nd Street and heading east on Wells Street at the Germania Building. As I rounded that turn I saw a framed view of the clocktower on Milwaukee's City Hall. That enticed me to walk east rather than west on Wells. If I kept going on Wells Street, I came to a lowly parking garage that has an unusual facade made of bricks with a square inside a square connected by 90-degree perpendicular lines. In Image 10, the Juggler's scarf carries this motif. That's a key visual nudge. When I stood there beside the parking garage I looked west down Wells and could see the City Hall Clocktower, and when I looked east on Wells, I could see the Elizabeth Clocktower above Cathedral Square. I thought to myself that perhaps I wasn't finished traveling a distance in time. First, I followed the view of the Bradley Clocktower to Walker's point. Then I followed Second Street for a distance until I came to a corner where I got a view of City Hall Clocktower, and then further up Wells there was a confirmation in Image 10 where I could see yet another prominent clocktower. Was this also the purpose of the Juggler herself? In Image 10 the Juggler's head is surrounded by a circle of objects. Did this imply the face of a clock? It could have this meaning and more.

Square in Square Motif on Wells Street Parking Garage that has a similar motif illustrated in Image 10 on the Juggler's scarf.

That clue enticed me to enter Cathedral Square where I came to the statue, Immigrant Mother. The Immigrant Mother's robes have parallels to the Juggler's robe in Image 10. Even the Juggler's face seems inspired by the Immigrant Mother. And, beyond that, the story in The Secret is an immigration story. Those concepts and clues all seemed to fit firmly together.

If the Immigrant Mother is my starting point and at a distance in space is my end point for this portion of the puzzle, then the harpsichord is what I would go with between the two.

There are many interpretations for, At a distance in space, all of which I declined to follow. On my first read through Verse 8 I believed the distance in space meant something celestial. One option could be the Planetarium and Observatory at UW Milwaukee on Kenwood Boulevard. Another option I kicked around was our star the Sun. Finally, I settled on the true horizon. To see a true horizon, one needs to be looking over a body of water that is wide enough to create a true horizon via the curvature of Earth. Milwaukee has such a body of water and it is the eastern limit of the city. So, my start point was the Immigrant Mother and my endpoint was the first view of the horizon over Lake Michigan which I would get at the bluff in Juneau Park.

Front of a statue of a woman
Immigrant Woman Statue in Cathedral Square Park

Now, back to the Harpsichord. The streetlights in downtown Milwaukee are an official Milwaukee Landmark and have been for about a century. They would be called out in any book of Milwaukee Landmarks, and they have their own historical marker near the North Ave Water Tower. They are called The Harp. The Harps are a Milwaukee icon. They originally were installed downtown between the Milwaukee River and Prospect Ave. But, over the years they've been exported to Milwaukee's major parks. In the 1990's when Lake Park was handed off from the City of Milwaukee to Milwaukee County Parks the harps were brought into Lake Park, among other parks in the exchange, to replace the single globes.

harp shaped streetlight
Harp Streetlight in Milwaukee on Kilbourn Ave

The streetlights between Cathedral Square and the entrance to upper Juneau Park on Prospect Ave are harps. But, that still doesn't make them a harpsichord. I had to know more about harpsichords, so I looked up technical drawings and I discovered that one of the unique features of this peculiar instrument is that they have 60 keys and 5 octaves. It dawned on me that there could be 60 harp street lamp fixtures spread over 5 blocks leading to Juneau Park. So I began counting. There aren't enough harps on Wells Street to make this work. But if I was facing the Immigrant Mother and I turned to my right and followed the paved park path to East Kilbourn Ave, and then turned east towards the true horizon, then I could count exactly 60 harps. Some are double hung in the center median, some are on both sides of the westbound lanes, and others on both sides of the eastbound lane, but in total along this stretch of Kilbourn Ave there are exactly sixty harps.

For those following all twelve puzzles in The Secret, you'll find this interpretation of the harpsichord is similar to the Chicago solve which required the counting of trees to pinpoint a vector crossing where that casque was found in 1983. The biggest defference here in Milwaukee is that this counting game comes midway through the puzzle instead of at its end.

For me, arriving at this interpretation of the harpsichord was a special moment, because I felt I had broken some new ground on this puzzle.

street map with streetlights numbered
Map of the 60 Harp Streetlights that make the Harpsichord as I have counted them

Step on Nature

Formerly, I believed that to step on nature simply meant to exit the commercial district and enter the parks district. That still makes some sense to me. But, the harpsichord trail that I found led me to Prospect Avenue. It would be natural to just walk directly east from there and reach the Solomon Juneau Statue. But, these days I lean more towards entering Juneau Park on the Leif Erikson promenade. That promenade takes me to the Leif Erikson Statue and Leif is standing on a casting of natural ground. This is kind of an unusual thing in a statue, most classical statues of figures have the figures standing on slabs. I like the pun in the word Leif as well. Like many of the clues in this puzzle, I feel like the clues have double meanings and can be used multiple ways to find direction. I think this one could represent three ideas. One, that as a treasure hunter I step onto the Leif (leaf) Erikson promenade and so I am stepping on nature. Two, that the statue is stepping on nature. Three, that I've left the commercial district and that for the rest of the way to the casque burial site I'd be on parkland.

Many believe that to step on nature means to step onto the Oak Leaf Trail. That would be very elegant if it were so. Also, it would be very convenient for anyone’s solution because every paved trail in Milwaukee County Parks is the Oak Leaf Trail. You could justify being in any park with Oak Leaf Trail just like you can justify being in any park by considering grass lawns and shade trees to equal stepping onto nature. The hang-up I have with the Oak Leaf interpretation is that the bike trail system in Milwaukee when I was growing up was the ’76 trail network. If I’m not mistaken, Oak Leaf did not become the name and brand of the bike trail system until the mid-90’s.

Regardless, There is some help in Image 10. The image features a juggler reaching out with an unusal hand gesture that happens to match up nicely with Solomon Juneau's hand gesture in the tablet on the side of the Solomon Juneau Statue. Beyond this statue is a good view of a celstrial object, the rising sun over the true horizon - A distance in space.

statue feet
Lief Erikson Statue in Juneau Park Milwaukee. Lief appears to be stepping on nature.

Cast in Copper

Standing at the Juneau Statue I could look down and see North Lincoln Memorial Drive. I took the lead of others before me and interpreted the next clue, Cast in copper, to be a metaphor for the Lincoln Memorial featured on the back of a common copper penny.

There's not much help in Image 10 on this one. But there is a detail in the hair of the Juggler. I'm reading that detail as the Bradford Beach parking lot. It's confirmation on Lincoln Memorial Drive, but its also another nudge in a direction change, just like the square in square motif was a nudge to turn off Wells St. and head over to Cathedral Square. The way I'm reading this nudge will be the most controversial part of my solve. I won't be taking the Grand Staircase to reach Lake Park, instead I turned to take the not quite 92 steps of the Bradford Beach Staircase.

Ascend the 92 Steps

Unlike many others before me, I didn't take the Grand Staircase to reach Lake Park. I instead followed the nudge at the Bradford Beach Parking area and turned to the west to find a staircase from that parking area up to Wahl Avenue.

The Bradford Beach Staircase is 89 risers and I can get to 91 treads depending on how I count treads. So where are the remaining three risers? I don't have an answer. After going up the Bradford Beach Stairs I was still below Wahl Avenue and the trails up there are newer pavement, so maybe there was another short run of three risers back in 1982.

There's several other reasons I feel this staircase is the correct one, despite how unimpressive this staircase is. One is the odd use of the word, ascend. I have never in my life told someone, 'Just ascend the stairs and you'll find the bathroom at the top.' Ascend, like harpsichord is a peculiar word choice. The Bradford Beach stairs lead to Ascension Hospital, which in 1982 was named St. Mary's school of nursing and hospital. The new name, Ascension Hospital, is a happy coincidence. But, it still makes sense, at least biblical sense. In the story of the ascension, the Virgin Mary is at the center of a group of apostles when Jesus's whole body floats away to heaven. The only other human, according to the bible, to ascend to heaven with their whole body lifting from the earth and floating to the clouds is ... Saint Mary.

The second reason I felt I should go up the Bradford Beach stairs is the clue that follows, After climbing the grand 200.

Bradford Beach Staircase
Bradford Beach Staircase

After climbing the Grand 200

Ascend the 92 steps
After climbing the Grand 200
Pass the compass and reach

Back in my day the Milwaukee bike trail network was called the 76 trail, not the Oak Leaf Trail - a name that came into use in the 1990's. The 76 trail was envisioned to be a GRAND loop around Milwaukee County. Its name honored America's Bicentennial as well as the total mileage it aspired to. Part of this trail ran through Lake Park and then south along Wahl Avenue.

When I reached the top of the Bradford Beach staircase I was standing on this old route of the 76 trail - the trail that existed in 1982. Like in other clues there are a few reasons this clue works with this location. One, The 76 trail, in honoring the Bicentennial, could easily be called the Grand 200. Two, there is a pun, like other puns in this puzzle that we've already been through. The pun is a play on the word, Wahl. The clue could be read as, 'After climbing the Wall'. And three, the first address I was able to see at the top of the Bradford Beach staircase was 2359 Wahl Avenue, and if I followed the addresses on Wahl Ave up in numbers (climbing) I would reach 2559 Wahl Ave just before the sign marking an entrance to Lake Park. Fourth, the houses along Wahl Ave are very grand, or at least they would have been in 1982 context.

I believe that Byron Preiss originally wrote, "Climb the 92 steps. After ascending the Grand 200 ..." because ascending numbers and climbing steps makes more linguistic sense. But I believe he swapped the words climb and ascend when he noticed the pun with Wahl and a better alignment for ascend with St. Mary's Hospital. To me, the whole phrase from Ascend to grand 200 makes sense from every angle other than the missing three risers in the Bradford Beach staircase.

But there's yet something else going on here. If I am correct that climb and ascend were originally swapped, this may be a nudge that from here on out clues or parts of clues may be out of order. The main character in Image 10 is a juggler. There was never a mystery to me what the meaning of the juggler was, that is that the clues are juggled.

Oak Leaf Trail South of Lake Park on upper bluff
Oak Leaf Trail South of Lake Park on upper bluff

Pass the Compass and Reach

I had followed the addresses on Wahl Avenue to 2559 where there was an overlook of Lake Michigan along the old 76 trail route. There was nothing remarkable about this spot, but perhaps back in 1982 there was a set of birch trees which would make it very remarkable in the context of this puzzle.

From that spot (that I reached in May 2022) I could see the entrance to Lake Park where there was a Milwaukee County Parks sign post with an Oak Leaf logo. I knew that Lake Park had been a City of Milwaukee Park before it was transferred to Milwaukee County Parks in the 1990's. So, this signpost is newer than the one that would have been here in 1982. In 1982 there would not have been a Milwaukee County Parks oak leaf logo on the sign. It would have had a logo for the City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works. This logo has at its center a compass. Overlaid on the compass's south point is an image of Milwaukee's City Hall clock tower. The clock tower strikes again! I had now gone past the Allen Bradley Clock Tower, the Cathedral Square Elizabeth's Clock Tower, and if I were on this route in 1982 I would have gone past park entrance signs with clock towers at Juneau Park, McKinley Park, and Lake Park. This puzzle seemed to be knitted together by a thread of clock faces.

In the logo the clock tower takes the place of a north pointing arrow and further establishes this symbol as a compass. I had very much wanted the North Point Lighthouse to be the metaphor for the compass clue, just as much as I had wanted the Grand Staircase to be the 92 steps. But that is not where the clues in the verse and image took me. They took me up the Bradford Beach stairs, along Wahl Avenue to this small detail of a compass. So far, I followed the clues where they took me rather than try to mold the clues to fit the landmarks I wanted to be part of the puzzle.

In a way, that was about to change. With the next set of clues out of order I was going to have to determine the most likely rearrangement. I would have to identify the landmarks that matched the clues and then put them into an order that led in a straightened-out path.

example of city of Milwaukee parks sign
Example of a City of Milwaukee Park Sign. This is the style of sign that would have been at Lake Park in 1982. It features a DPW logo with a compass.

Milwaukee Department of Public Works Logo
Milwaukee Department of Public Works Logo

Juggling the Clues

As I enterred the Lake Park treasure grounds for the final portion of this treasure hunt I knew that I would have to reorder the clues. I knew this because as written the clues do not make linear sense. I also had a big hint in the presence of the main character of Image 10 - a juggler surrounded by objects.

Working out how to juggle the clues should have been similar to working out the Harpsichord phrases from earlier in the game. In that scenario I had to look up information about harpsichords and then identify a landmark to attach some newly learned information onto. So, I read a few things about juggling.

When juggling there are techniques for exchanging items being juggled in different hands. These techniques include shower, cascade, fountain, and waterfall (many references to fluidity and water here).

The first thing I noticed was all the water based words associated with Juggling. That was the cue I needed to know that the Waterfall Ravine would be my end destination.

But I didn't end up learning anything that helped me logically reorder the verse. For me, the reordering remains unresolved.

To overcome this unsolved clue I reordered everything in a manner that made sense to me. But, I'll emphasise, and I need your help with this, I have not worked out a method for how to juggle the clues that I am confident in.

text and arrows

Pass the compass and reach
On a proud tall fifth

The compass on the signpost is at a trail intersection. I could go keep going north along Wahl Avenue or I could take a slight right and head into the Lake Park treasure grounds. I chose to go to the right because the next landmark I would reach is the south Lion Bridge. The lion's manes appear to be similar to the Juggler's hair. That was my directional nudge from Image 10. A group of lions is a pride and there was a group of lions on each of the two lion bridges. What makes the South Lion Bridge a 5th? For me, it is the fifth monumental bridge in the park when counting from north to south.

The reason I paired Pass the compass and reach with On a proud, tall fifth is because of the word, reach. A reach is an old fashioned description for a bridge. The word actually comes from sailing. To reach is to sail across a channel from point to point without tacking or jibbing, it's a straight shot across a body of water. The term applies to any passage that takes you across an obstacle in a direct manner, such as a bridge over a ravine.

South Lion Bridge in Lake Park Milwaukee
South Lion Bridge in Lake Park Milwaukee

Walk 100 paces
To the first young birch

From the centerpoint between the two Lion Bridges I started my 100 pace walkoff, staying on the paved 76 trail (nowadays the Oak Leaf Trail). After 100 paces I looked to my left and I was inline with the massive Wolcott Statue.

Was there a birch tree here in 1982? Maybe. Maybe not. There isn't one today. So, maybe the birch tree is somewhere else in this puzzle, but if there was a birch tree that has since been chopped down it isn't critical to my solve because I have plenty of other confirmations to get me to where I'm going.

The Wolcott statue is elevated on a stone plinth. Its plinth outline is also featured in Image 10. There are many letters inscribed on this plinth, and one of them, in large bold letters is COUNTRY.

Wolcott is where you learn which letter is referred to in the clue You’ll see a letter from the COUNTRY of Wonderstone’s hearth.

The letter we are looking for is, Y. This letter is called out with an emphasis arrow at the end of the inscription COUNTRY. It is also a letter that is shared by the name of the country and its position in the word GERMANY, the home country of the Fair Folk who immigrated to Milwaukee.

Wolcott Statue in Lake Park Milwaukee
Wolcott Statue in Lake Park Milwaukee

Pass three, staying west
Of wonderstone's hearth

From Wolcott, as I progressed north along the trail (76 Trail (now Oak Leaf)) I was presented with the option of descending the south stairs of the Waterfall Ravine Trail or heading straight ahead on the 76 trail and wrapping around to the north entrance trail to the Waterfall Ravine. In view ahead of me I saw the flag of the third green fluttering in the wind.

I interpreted the lannonstone constructions at the top of the Waterfall Ravine to be interpreted both as a culvert and as a hearth. So, the puzzle reads 'stay west of Wonderstone's Hearth'. It's another of those double meanings for clues like I noticed earlier in this puzzle.

Seeing the flag with the digit 3 on it compelled me to bypass the south entrance to the ravine and continue to the north waterfall ravine stairs.

Hole Three in the Lake Park Three Parr Golf Course
Hole Three in the Lake Park Three Parr Golf Course

The foot of the culvert

My biggest breakthrough in this puzzle came when I spotted a shape in the Waterfall Ravine. At first, the odd curving shapes of the landings in the Waterfall Ravine seemed to be candidates for the letter from the country of Wonderstone's hearth. I could almost make out a large G depending on my viewpoint. But, then I saw it. The foot of the culvert is the literal shape of a foot that is made by the stone landing at the bottom of the run of steps form the north staircase into the Waterfall Ravine. The north landing has a definate leg, heel, arch, and toe.

The foot of the culvert
The foot of the culvert

You'll see a letter from the country southeast over rock and soil

When heading down the north stairs, which incidentally are rock and soil stairs, I was able to see the letter Y described by the Y-convergence of the trails in the waterfall ravine. This is something best seen in person and in Spring when the leaves are not so dense. The letter Y is very ornate, and the Y in the vest/scarf at the Juggler's neck in Image 10 is similar in shape. In this proposed solution, the Y-letter is literally made from rock and soil southeast of where I was entering the waterfall ravine.

Letter Y from Germany, Country, at Y intersection of trails
Letter Y from Germany, Country, at Y intersection of trails

Waterfall Ravine Trails Convergence
Waterfall Ravine Trails Convergence

The Cape

When reaching the foot fo the culvert I saw to my right a collecting pool that reminded me of the Juggler's cape. I felt this was strong confirmation that I reached the spot I was looking for.
The Cape in the Waterfall Ravine
The Cape in the Waterfall Ravine

Below the bridge
southeast over rock and soil
at its southern foot the treasure waits

Just as I read double meanings in the clues throughout this puzzle I feel that southeast over rock and soil matches up well both with the letter from country and the bridge I was about to cross.

There are two foot-like landings in the waterfall ravine. The north foot is very foot-like with a definite heel, arch, and toe. The southern foot is actually the first foot that I noticed. The foot shaped landing on the south end of the small wood-decked footbridge in the Waterfall Ravine is more like a child's bootie. There is a toe and rounded heel. It looks similar to a shape in the Juggler's cape at the lower left corner of Image 10.

If I'm correct about all of this, then the treasure would be hidden below this 6-foot-wide footbridge at the stone footings that make up the southern foot of the culvert.

This is apparently, in my proposed solve, where the verse ends. But when I jumped down into the stone channel and looked under the bridge I was left with an unresolved clue. Under which rock exactly is the treasure hidden? Surely Byron Preiss would not have expected us to dismantle all of the rocks below the bridge? There must be some indicating mark on one of the stones or an alignment with a shape in Image 10 that points to the precise stone.

At this point, I am finished with this puzzle. I won't be digging or moving rocks. I've taken this as far as I care to. But, if you believe my solution, then maybe you can finish where I've left off.

Bridge over rock and soil
Bridge over rock and soil

Before Excavating

There's a few things you should consider before excavating this location. The Waterfall ravine is a historical landmark, constructed by a WPA crew in the Great Depression. As rough hewn as it may appear this is one of Lake Park's treasures. I expect that no permits will be issued to dig in this area. And it would be flagrantly abusive to dig without a permit, especially after the expensive and delicate work put into restoring it in 2010.

You're not likely to unearth a casque here due that restoration. It is highly unlikely the casque remained in place with all this construction work going on around it.

The other thing to keep in mind is that, this solution is just a guess, and lacks a definitive marker at a precise dig location. My whole interpretation of the puzzle could be wrong. To demonstrate, I'll go to all the way back to the verse clue cast in copper. What if Cast in Copper did not relate to a penny or Lincoln Memorial Drive? What if Cast in Copper was the bronze feet of Lief Erikson? This is a plausible interpretation. If that's the case, Then the clues could follow this progression: You would next climb the 76 Trail (Climb the Grand 200) up in elevation at Mckinley Park which would take you on the old Northwestern Railroad route along the Milwaukee River to Riverside Park where you would find a run of 92 steps to the old pavillion (since demolished). Riverside park would have the same compass logo on its park sign, but also an engraving of a compass in the floor of the pavillion. If you've seen the culverts beneath the Oak Leaf Trail (76 Trail) in the Milwaukee River parkways then you know there is no doubt they are culverts. Then without even needing to reorder the verse, the interpretation could simply be - go to the first young birch, pass three additional birch trees, and find a taller and older 5th birch and at its southern foot the treasure waits.

One differing interpretation at any point in the puzzle could lead a treasure seeker to a completely different park that is equally plausible. This game is still on. The puzzle remains unsolved.

At this moment in time, I'm convinced that my solution for the Waterfall ravine is a strong contender. But, you should feel open to having fun with the puzzle and play the game out in your own way. Be careful not to dismantle a stone wall because you read mine or someone else's crack at deciphering the verse online.

If you're still convinced the treasure waits under the bridge then your next step would be to contact the landscape architect who oversaw the 2010 restoration and ask about what was removed and what was replaced. Then wait 20 years for the next bridge and foundation repair project and follow the example of those who solved the Boston puzzle who took a more archeological dig approach in a consturction site.

So, with all those warnings out of the way, let's look beneath the bridge.

Below the Bridge

Here's what I found below the bridge. There are a couple rocks that have already fallen loose and they are in a collecting pool beneath the bridge. This collecting pool is similar in shape to the cape-shaped collecting pool above the bridge. I think that it's possible the cape could be this second collecting pool instead of the one I assigned it to, but I didn't get a good photo that I could overlay to get confirmation on this. But, if this lower pool is the cape, then there might be a shape in the cape that points to the rock we are supposed to look under. In fact, the shape might be the bootie shape in the lower left corner of the image that I previously assigned to the southern foot.

there are also a couple of interesting rocks that I photographed. One that is nicely embedded in concrete is the size of my open hand and it has what could be interpreted as a "t" on it. I also found an older piece of concrete that looks similar to the V in the Juggler's scarf/vest at the Juggler's neckline. That rock almost points like an arrow to the rock next to it.

I guess I feel like I'm missing something at the end here. Something that is definitive. And it could just be that during the restoration the rock with the marking I'm looking for was replaced. Here's the photos, you can take a look.
rock foundation for footbridge
Below the Bridge in the Waterfall Ravine

rock foundation for footbridge
Below the Bridge in the Waterfall Ravine

Interesting shaped rock
Rock / concrete shaped like Juggler neckline

rock with a t on it
Rock with a t on it


Remember how the movie the Da Vinci Code ended? It was glorious. It ended where it began, in the Louvre Museum. Tom Hanks kneels down atop the inverted glass pyramid and in a moment of clarity realizes that the hidden resting place of Mary Magdalene is centered beneath the dual pyramids of glass and stone, a tremendous visual as an exclamation point on a journey that took us through some of humankind’s most extraordinary architecture including The louvre, The Pantheon, Vatican City, and The Fountain of Four Rivers. The Da Vinci code was brilliantly written and good puzzle making.

There were moments while I was on my journey through Milwaukee that felt cinematic moments of clarity. But If you believe my theory about the path to the final burial site of the casque in the waterfall ravine, there’s something of a letdown to this story. That, I propose is intended by its creator Byron Preiss. It also points to something of a failure in delivering a masterpiece of an experience.

Why take us to Lake Park and then omit it’s two most important landmarks? The North Point Lighthouse is the perfect representative of a compass and yet, I believe the compass is a city works logo on a signpost at the back entrance to the park. The Grand Staircase is the grandest staircase in Milwaukee’s public parks. Why then take us on the crumbling concrete steps from a Badford Beach? And the burial site itself … of all the monumental bridges in Lake park, why conclude this treasure hunt at an insignificant wood footbridge beneath a tiny trickling drainage pipe off the side of an unpopular golf course? What a bummer of a conclusion to this otherwise exciting game of games.

The answer may have a better analogy in Indian Jones and The Last Crusade. At the moment where the characters reach the chamber of the Holy Grail the character Elsa Schneider selects a bejeweled golden cup to give to Walter Donovan. She chose poorly. When it is Indiana’s turn, he selects a humble wooden cup – the cup of a carpenter. He chose wisely.

No one can know the mind of Byron Preiss when he planned the treasure hunts in The Secret, and in fact, we can never know the solutions to the many puzzles, metaphors, and riddles that lead us to casques. He took his secrets to his grave. But if we imagine planning our own treasure hunt, we might be able to understand his approach.

For demonstration purposes, let’s say that we create a treasure hunt that has hunters climb the Lake Park Grand Staircase. We could write a clue that states, ‘Climb the Grand Staircase and turn south’. That would be an easy and also a disappointing riddle. To make the clue more challenging, we might make the verse more ambiguous. Perhaps, ‘Climb the monument to a view at 92’. That could be interpreted as climb a monumental staircase that has a view of Lake Michigan at the 92nd step. But, it could be interpreted any number of ways. Treasure hunters would be climbing statues constructed in 1892 across the city. But some would find their way to the Grand Staircase.

Vagueness alone isn’t misdirection. But, like vagueness, misdirection makes a puzzle more challenging. In magic, misdirection is needed to create an illusion. A magician might have us focus on her left hand, while tucking a card up her sleeve with her right hand. In puzzles misdirection is a nasty little trick. Misdirection intentionally sends hunters astray. Misdirection filters out all but the most vigilant. In my example from Indiana Jones, the variety of challises presented to choose from are mostly misdirection. Only the pious and vigilant Dr. Jones can single out the wise choice.

Byron Preiss hasn’t exactly written misdirection into the verse, but he is relying on natural psychological misdirection. If Lake Park is in fact the Milwaukee treasure grounds, he likely expected that treasure hunters who managed to find their way to it would first enter the park from the Grand Staircase, which if we omit the first four steps, has a run of 92 steps – it almost works … almost. He also likely expected that treasure hunters would be drawn to the largest and most iconic features of the park like the North Point Lighthouse and the Lion Bridges. His expectation is that the vagueness of his verse clues would lead hunters to initially assign clues to the wrong landmarks. But, he also expected that when assigning the clues to the wrong landmarks that confusion would occur and force these hunters to reconsider their assumptions. Only the most vigilant will challenge their initial assumptions, and in this way, only the most vigilant can discover the true path to the treasure.

There’s another way of looking at this too. The details are at the end of the puzzle. I work as an Experience Designer. In that job I mostly work with architectural design, but architecture as it relates to storytelling and participatory experiences. When I am presenting a concept to colleagues or clients I begin by explaining the overarching ideas, like why have we chosen this place to feature a story. As the presentation continues, I gradually describe more and more detailed aspects of the design. I call this approach to presenting, macro-to-micro.

In our journey through Milwaukee, we begin at the first European settlement in Milwaukee, a worthy place to start an immigration story. We then see large icons like the Mitchell Domes and the Guinness Book of World Records Allen Bradley Clocktower. We go past towering Milwaukee City Hall and then to another major Milwaukee landmark, Cathedral Square. From there the clues become both more obscure and more detailed. We must play the game of counting harps to determine the 60 harps that make a harpsichord, then we find a statue stepping on nature. Each progressive step is more detailed. When we are presented with finding the 92 steps we’re really going to have to vet what constitutes a step and challenge our assumptions. The compass is a mere logo on a sign, the Lion Bridge is just a stop we go past. When we get to Wolcott we pay no attention to the 14-foot high figure riding a horse and instead look for a single letter in a short word off to the right. The flag marking Green Three is still more detailed, until finally we find the Foot of the Culvert and then at last, aha!, we’ve found it beneath a 6-foot-wide wood bridge with a 6-foot-deep channel below it, wet enough to be uncomfortable but merely a trickle that does not impede our excavation.

Macro to micro, we whittle our way down from a continent to a 8” cube of acrylic beneath a stone the size of a backpack. We do this all with vague clues, the power of our minds, and with the vigilance to see the game through to its end.


The following illustration is featured in the book The Secret, by Byron Preiss Visual Publications Kelly, S. (1982). The Secret. Bantam Books.

Don't leave just yet. In my exhaustive Verse 8 analysis above I mentioned many confirmations and nudges that I found in Image 10. Before I sign-off from the Milwaukee treasure hunt, I'll run you through what I saw in the image.

It seems that The Secret treasure hunters fall into two camps. Those that follow the verse as a map to the treasure, and those that focus more intently on the visual clues from the image. I am in the first camp. I believe the clues in the image are supplementary, that they provide confirmation and assurance when you feel you have figured something out in the verse, or that image clues nudge you in directions.

The first thing I paid attention to in the image were the things that were not in Image 10 but clearly called out in Verse 8. There are no bridges, steps, stairs, compasses, or feet in Image 10, at least none that I can find. I also noted that there wasn't an outline of the Jacques Vieaux monument rock, nor the Mitchell Park Domes, nor any Mitchell Building elements or Mitchell Airport elements. There are also no overt clock faces, lighthouses, mounted generals, harps, pennies, images of a lincoln memorial, or streetlights.

Likewise, Verse 8 does not include references to jugglers, hand gestures, keys, millstones, roads, bells, or statues. All of which can be found in Image 10. Unlike with many other image and verse pairs, these two do not talk to one another very directly at all. So, how did I know these two are a pairing for Milwaukee?

It starts with the rebus puzzle of a millstone, a walking stick, and a key which is a riddle translating to Mill Walk Key. I won't draw that one out for you, it's pretty clear and well established in The Secret lore.

After the rebus puzzle, there is a remarkably clear illustration of Milwaukee City Hall. The angle of the view is from Water Street standing in front of the Marcus Performing Arts Center. My proposed solution never took me to the precise location. I saw the City Hall building from a very different angle on Wells Street.
The Secret Image 10 highlighting a match to Milwaukee City Hall
The Secret Image 10 highlighting a match to Milwaukee City Hall

If you read my harpsichord solution above, then you know that I'm dismissing the woman in the Pabst Theater archtrave. But, yet, the Pabst Theater woman could be in Image 10. That doesn't convince me that she is a tie to the harpsichord verse line though.
The Secret Image 10, A potential match to the Pabst Theatre Architrave
The Secret Image 10, A potential match to the Pabst Theatre Architrave

My next stop was at the parking garage on Wells Street near Cathedral Square. The parking garage had precisely the same brick motif as seen the Juggler's scarf motif. Also, further west on Wells St. at the Milwaukee River crossing this motif appears again in the railings and on a door. I haven't seen this motif anywhere else in the city. It is more unique than many claim.
The Secret Image 10, A match to a parking garage facade on Wells St.
The Secret Image 10, A match to a parking garage facade on Wells St.

Similar motif also on Wells Street at the River Walk
Similar motif also on Wells Street at the River Walk

Standing at the Well's Street parking garage I had a view of both the Milwaukee City Hall clocktower (Bell Tower) and the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist Elizabeth's clock tower (Bell tower). Both towers house bells.
Bell Towers and a potential bell illustrator in the Secret Image 10
Bell Towers and a potential bell illustrator in the Secret Image 10

In Cathedral Square I found the Immigrant Mother statue. Her robes seem to have some of the dominant lines similar to the upper fold of Juggler's robe, and she may also have similar facial features to the Image 10 Juggler.
The Immigrant Mother Statue in Cathedral Square Park and a possible match in The Secret Image 10
The Immigrant Mother Statue in Cathedral Square Park and a possible match in The Secret Image 10

After following the 60 harp streetlights to Juneau Park I entered Juneau Park on the Lief Erikson promenade. Here's what I'm showing you in the two images above. The far left photo is a high-resolution image in full sunlight that I downloaded from Wikimedia Images. The image in the middle is an image of the statue I took with my iphone. My image shows the statue plinth in shadow. My iphone does some funny things to details. But my image looks very similar to ground plane in Image 10. I included the higher rese image to show that the texture on the Lief plinth is actually stippled - but the stippling does create many short lines. In my photo of the statue in shadow, the coloration and the blurring of the lines looks very similar to the pine needle like ground beneath the Juggler.
Lief Erikson Statue Milwaukee
The High Res photo in full sun on the left compared to an iphone image on the right in shadow. The statue plinth appears to have the coloration and patterning that appears in the ground plane of Image 10

Lief Erikson Statue close up and Image 10 compared
Close-up of the Lief Erikson statue plinth. High res in sun on left, Low res in shadow in the middle, Image 10 ground plane on top and far right.

There are two prominent statues in upper Juneau Park, Lief Erikson and Solomon Juneau. On the side of the Juneau statue is a relief tablet showing Solomon Juneau with a unique hand gesture and pointing finger just like in Image 10's Juggler hand gesture.
Image 10 Solomon Juneau hand gesture
The Secret Image 10 highlighting a similar hand gesture to the Solomon Juneau Statue on the right

A big question for me remains, is Lincoln Memorial Drive the correct interpretation of Cast in copper? Here I overlaid my 1983 map of Milwaukee. I aligned the shoreline with the curve of the Juggler's cape fold and I set the scaling so that the Harbor Entrance in the map aligned with the notch in the cape fold. The curve matches well to the shoreline. At this scaling, the curve of the cape fold takes us to McKinley Park.
1983 map zoomed to the Milwaukee shoreline overlaid on Image 10
 1983 map zoomed to the Milwaukee shoreline overlaid on Image 10

The top curve of the cape also aligns with the map, but at a bigger scaling. At this scaling, the curve somewhat resembles the shoreline and the curve at Lake Park.
1983 map zoomed to Lincoln Memorial Drive overlaid on Image 10
1983 map zoomed to Lincoln Memorial Drive overlaid on Image 10

The Juggler's hair detail is yet another outline of the Lake Michigan shore. I read the three protruding lines as symollic of Milwaukee Harbor. Then I read the curvy part of the hair as the Bradford Beach parking lot. You can check that out in various map styles from satellite to historic maps. I see a resemblence in all.

I'm going to skip the birch trees contained in the cape to the right side of the image. I think they are probably birch trees. But I also struggle to interpret exactly what they are. JJP is an excellent illustrator and artist, and I think he could have done a more accurate depiction of trees. To me, it looks like rope bound around wood posts. I'll just have to let it go.
Image 10 Juggler's hair detail compared to Bradford Beach Parking Lot
Image 10 Juggler's hair detail compared to Bradford Beach Parking Lot

Inside Lake Park there are the Lion Bridges. The lion's hair matches the Juggler's hair as though it were paited with a projector. I think this is very strong confirmation for Lake Park.
The Secret, Image 10 compared to Lake Park Lion Bridge Lions
The Secret, Image 10 compared to Lake Park Lion Bridge Lions

The Wolcott Statue also seems to be making an appearance in Image 10. I think if I had stood a bit more to the right when snapping this photo I could have gotten a nearly 1-to-1 alignment. But, for now, I'll just point out the similar profiles in the numbered image above.
The Secret, Image 10, highlighting similarities to the Lake Park Wolcott Statue and plinth
The Secret, Image 10, highlighting similarities to the Lake Park Wolcott Statue and plinth

The cape in the Waterfall Ravine is a fairly strong clue as well. It does take some imagination to see it though.
The Secret, Image 10 overlaid Juggler and cape onto Lake Park Waterfall Ravine collecting pool
The Secret, Image 10 overlaid Juggler and cape onto Lake Park Waterfall Ravine collecting pool

The details in the Juggler's neck have given me fits. I know these lines are something important, but they are also organic and can be aligned with so many organic outlines. For now, I believe the neckline shows the pathways of the north approach into the Waterfall Ravine and the South approach. When I was standing there it was more clear to me that these shapes made sense. There is also a path continuing southeast from the bridge where the two approaches connect. This is where I got the idea that this three-way intersection was a letter Y from the word COUNTRY.
The Secret, Image 10, displaying a possible match to a map of the waterfall ravine trails
The Secret, Image 10, displaying a possible match to a map of the waterfall ravine trails

What I need last is a very key clue telling me which rock to remove and dig beneath. I've found a couple candidates. But, as I mentioned before, these are organic items, and the drawings would be organic as well. It would be very easy to see something that could be anything else. There is a strange pool shape at the bottom of the Juggler's cape fold which could be the shape of a rock. I thought I found a rock that had a similar flat bottom and arched top, but the outline isn't quite there.
A rock with a T on it somewhat resembles a shape in the Juggler's cape, The Secret Image 10
A rock with a T on it somewhat resembles a shape in the Juggler's cape, The Secret Image 10

So, that leaves me with the odd protruding Juggler's adams-apple below the chin. Is this the reference to the rock I'm looing for? It would appear I've found a good candidate. But, hey, how many other rocks could be similar in shape?
rock overlay on Image 10
An overlay at 80% opacity and no distortion of a photo of rocks at the south foot in the Waterfall Ravine. The overlay is ontop of the Juggler's adams apple featured in The Secret Image 10
An overlay at 15% opacity and no distortion of a photo of rocks at the south foot in the Waterfall Ravine. The overlay is ontop of the Juggler's adams apple featured in The Secret Image 10

Go Ahead and Search for Treasure

There are tremendous resources available regarding this treasure hunt. Famously, The Travel Channel’s Expedition Unknown has devoted episodes to The Secret. You’ll find a community of hunters at Quest4Treasure, a podcast dedicated to The Secret, a Wiki page, and social media groups including Meetups with other hunters.

If any of my ideas or photos helped advance your own solve, please show some love by sharing links to this article on your social networks. What keeps me going on this blog is knowing that other people appreciate my long-winded writing and want to share it with their friends and families.

Directions and Trail Map

Click to activate map

Click Map Image to load the full interactive map.

If viewing on a mobile device, open the trail map above to load into Google Maps App by touching the expand rectangle in the upper right corner.

Address for your GPS: 2975 N Lake Park Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53211
| coordinates: 43.067860, -87.870212|

From Milwaukee N/A
From Madison 1.25 Hours
From Green Bay 1.5 Hours
From Wausau 2.5 Hours
From Minneapolis 5 Hours
From Chicago 1.5 Hours


treasure grounds map

The Grand Staircase in Lake Park Milwaukee
The Grand Staircase in Lake Park Milwaukee. A beautiful place for a photo of the sunrise, but not the 92 steps, and no other relation to this treasure hunt.

relief statue of a woman above a balcony
Many people believe this architrave at the Pabst Theatre is intended to be the Woman with Harpsichord. I no longer believe this interpretation.

catch basin and culvert
A culvert leads from the Lake Park golf course under the 76 Trail and the water flowing through it makes the waterfall in the Lake Park Waterfall Ravine. The stone structure beyond the trail I interpreted as Wonderstone's Hearth. I would stay west of the Hearth and enter the ravine from the north approach because I saw the flag for green three in the distance beyond the hearth.

house door
When I was climbing the Grand 200 which I interpreted as the 76 trail along Wahl Ave I started at 2359 N. Wahl Ave.

2559 N Wahl Ave
I completed my climb of the Grand 200 when I reached 2559 N. Wahl Ave which is near an entrance to Lake Park

Milwaukee City Hall
When standing at the Wells St. parking garage with the brick motif from Image 10 I could see this view of the Milwaukee City Hall clocktower.

From the Well's St Parking garage with the brick motif from Image 10 I could see the Elizabeth Clocktower over Cathedral Square. This nudged me to enter Cathedral Square and look for clues relating to the Woman and the Harpsichord.

Tall statue and plinth in a park
The General Wolcott Statue in Lake Park features the word COUNTRY which is a clue in Verse 8 of The Secret

Lighthouse in a park
The Northpoint Lighthouse in Lake Park Milwaukee is thought by many treasure hunters to be 'The Compass' in Verse 8 of The Secret.

Back of a statue of a woman
The Immigrant Woman Statue in Cathedral Square from rear. Notice the deep grooved lines of her robes and how they visually match the gooves in the Juggler's upper cape fold on the right side of Image 10.

Solomon Juneau Statue in Milwaukee
The Horizon (A distance in space) lines up nicely beyond the Solomon Juneau Statue in upper Juneau Park
Tablet on side of Juneau Statue in Juneau Park Milwaukee
Tablet on side of Juneau Statue in Juneau Park Milwaukee

Statue of Lief Erikson
Lief Erikson the Explorer Statue in Juneau Park Milwaukee

South Lion Bridge in Lake Park Milwaukee
South Lion Bridge in Lake Park Milwaukee

The Cape in the Waterfall Ravine in Lake Park Milwaukee
The Cape in the Waterfall Ravine in Lake Park Milwaukee

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