Menomonie, Wisconsin History/Dopeslap
The leading innovators of the Menomonie area are the people who who are known in the Menomonie area for their innovations and inventions. The innovators are important because they helped shape and create how the Menomonie area is viewed today. Some of the leading innovators include Harry Miller, who was an automobile designer; Jeremiah Tainter, who was a water control system designer; and James Stout, who was the founder of the UW-Stout University. These three founders lived during the late 17th century and during the 18th century.
Harry Miller, born in 1867 as Harold Arminius Miller, grew up in Menomonie and is regarded as one of the most influential automobile designers. Growing up, Harry Miller worked for a machine shop: a job that would influence his work later in life. As Harry Miller grew up, he quit his jobs often and moved from city to city. As Harry Miller traveled, he got married and eventually ended up back in Menomonie with his old job at the machine shop. “To get to and from work he designed and built a bicycle on which he mounted a small one-cylinder engine. It has often been claimed that this was the first motorcycle in the United States”. Harry Miller is important to the history of Menomonie because he developed the first motorcycle. Motorcycles were not the only thing that Harry Miller developed in his lifetime though. “In 1916 Miller designed and built his first racing engine… A year later Miller designed the first streamlined racing car… This brought Miller his first renown as a car builder”. Harry Miller was also successful in the automobile and race car industry too. “He had a passion for metalwork and machinery that soared above and beyond all practical consideration." With great skills in his field, Harry Miller was able to create and produce many successful inventions and machines. Most of his work was focusing in cars and car parts. Harry Miller truly was important when it came to the automobile industry, and it all started from here: Menomonie.
Jeremiah B. Tainter
Jeremiah Burnham Tainter, born in 1836, was another inventor and innovator of the Menomonie area. His work started when he landed a job at the Knapp, stout mills. Tainter had a natural talent for designing water control devices. In 1886, the company Jeremiah Tainter worked at was in need of a water control device and it was Tainter that stepped up to the job. Tainter started the job by redesigning a water control device from the east. Tainter worked on his new development, the Tainter Gate, and when he completed it, it was implemented to the dam in Menomonie and was highly successful. “Over the years of traveling in Europe, I’ve seen many Tainter gates on lock and dam structures in Switzerland, Germany and elsewhere." Jeremiah Tainter had built a highly successful water control device that still stands strong and highly used on rivers in America as well as other continents and countries even today. For this reason it is safe to say that Jeremiah Tainter was another great inventor and innovator of the Menomonie area.
James H. Stout
James Huff Stout, born in 1848, spent his childhood in Iowa but was still extremely influential to the Menomonie area. It all started when he was hired by the lumber firm Knapp, Stout & Co. Company. Guided by dreams and able to do with power from wealth, James H. Stout had a huge influence on Menomonie. With the desire to create education for children, James Stout had started to create an institution that would forever change Menomonie. “The result was the founding of what would become the innovative University of Wisconsin – Stout”. James Stout had created the University of Wisconsin – Stout so it’s natural he’d be in the history books. James H. Stout did way more than just that to end up in the history books though. Not only did he supply education to the university, he also created libraries that stretched out as far as the rural parts of the state and gave education to those towns and communities as well. Stout was also a part of community organizations and took leadership positions in those as well. “By the time of his death in 1910 at the age of 62, Stout was president of the First Nation Bank, Menomonie, the Bank of Menomonie, the Wisconsin Milling Company of Menomonie, the Stout Lumber Company of Thornton, Arkansas, and the Thornton & Alexandrea Rail Company”. James H. Stout did plenty of great things during his lifetime and did so much for the Menomonie area; a great innovator of his time, Stout was truly worthy of being forever known in Menomonie history.
- Lynch, L. (1996). Where the Wild Rice Grows. Place: Menomonie Sesquicentennial Commission.
- The Miller/Offenhauser Racing History Page. (2007). Retrieved November 12, 2015 from: http://www.milleroffy.com/Racing%20History.htm
- Russell, J. (2014, November 1). Scenes of Yesteryear: Dunn County News. Retrieved November 12, 2015, from http://chippewa.com/dunnconnect/news/local/history/scenes-of-yesteryear/article_7dca2b28-fc05-592a-bf34-7365b51be754.html