Menomonie, Wisconsin History/Dwendt70

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James Huff Stout was a lumber baron and successful business man who lived in Menomonie, Wisconsin. He went on to open the Stout Manual School which is now known as the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Stout Manual School was opened in 1891 with the intention of teaching manual training and domestic science. This school was important to the area of Menomonie as a whole because this was an institution that allowed both men and women to attend.The city had grown very large because of the lumbering industry thanks to Knapp, Stout Co. At one point in time the city was the richest in the entire United States.

Portrait of James Huff Stout

Evolution of Menomonie Area[edit]

[1]Menomonie has always been about lumber, and that is proven by the fact that in 1822, Harding Perkins, who was representing his superiors at the time, created a lumber mill near Wilson Creek and the Red Cedar. This lumber mill was very short lived however because of the fact that it was quickly swept away by the nearby river suddenly overflowing which very quickly tore down the mill where it stood and took it along with the current. There was opposition from the local Sioux Indians once the lumbering operations began to take down large amounts of trees. This opposition was quickly undermined by the authority of the federal government, which of course gave authority to Perkins to continue the lumbering operation as planned. The first permanent settlement of [2]Menomonie was established in 1837. When the lumber industry became more established, Andrew Tainter and Henry L. Stout took great interest in lumber as a business and began the Knapp, Stout & Company. The two men quickly became a huge success, employing over 1,000 men and running the largest lumbering operation in the entire country. This success opened the door to seemingly endless wealth for the city, as well as a great legacy to be created. Henry L. Stout’s son would later go on to create one of the finest learning institutions in the entire state of Wisconsin.

Knapp, Stout Co.[edit]

The Knapp, Stout & Co. Company was a lumbering company which employed a large portion of the people of Menomonie. According to first 2 pages of the book “Interpreting the dream”, the sheer amount of money this company brought to the city was ridiculous, because of the booming industry there were multiple hotels, newspapers, and a variety of shops in the Menomonie area. A quote from a newspaper of the time [3]The Stanely Republican Stated in an article “This is what I get from a study of the situation at Menomonie. Honest labor is not only dignified but made attractive. The fields in which it is applied offer attractive rewards for skill and industry.” This quote epitomizes the work ethic and thought process behind both this company and the people of Menomonie who work there. The writer acknowledges the greatness of the company and all that it has done for the city of Menomonie and the area as a whole. Because of this great industry, other industries could prosper and flourish beneath it. This company was important because without it there would have been no nationally recognized city of Menomonie, people wouldn’t have flocked from all over the country to come and visit all of the beautiful attractions that once were here, and there would have been no money for James Stout to start the Stout Manual Training Schools.

Evolution of UW-Stout[edit]

During the course of my research I found all of the different phases Stout went through before it became what it is today very interesting. This is because when the school was first established in 1891, according to the stout website, it was a [4]Manual School which taught both manual training as well as domestic science. A few years later a kindergarten program was created, this seems to be foreshadowing for the early childhood program that is so popular here today at stout. Moving forward to 1908 the Stout institute was formed. Because of the popularity of the Manual School, The Stout Institute was formed. The biggest reason for this change to the Institute was for administrative purposes and to simplify various functions of the school as a whole. As Stout was still alive when this school came to be, he had a vision for this school which would resonate with future generations of students and faculty. His vision was stated (to)[5] "provide facilities in the way of buildings, equipment, and teachers, through which young people of both sexes may secure such instruction and training in industrial and related lines of educational effort as will enable them to become efficient industrial, social, and economic units within their environment." This quote is important because the school has definitely kept Stout’s vision alive and well throughout the years after his death. This vision of positivity and equality in learning has helped push not only Stout forward, but education as a whole and it is because of the Stout’s thought process and belief that that is possible. Unfortunately, Stout was only able to see The Stout Institute before he died in 1910. His death caused many people, students and citizens, to question whether or not the school would go down with him. Fortunately, the school board of the time (now board of regents) convinced the Wisconsin school system to see value in the school and adopt them into their system of schools. With the school being under the wing of the state school system, the school added 4 year programs to further educate their students if they chose to do so. All of this came at a bad time however, as this was all around the time of WWI. According to the Stout website, the school had a population of about 500 and it was almost cut in half once the draft began. The men who remained were required to do military training at school and the women needed to learn nursing and Red Cross training. In memory and recognition of these men who died in the war, the school built the Memorial Student Center (MSC). On the outside of the building there is a large plaque which states “Memorial Student Center, dedicated to the students of Stout State College who died in war, that others may live”. Much further in history, in 1955 Stout State College was established. The reason why this change took place is because Stouts board of trustees was abolished, so therefore they were then taken under the jurisdiction of the board of regents in the large Wisconsin Education system as a whole. Stout then became known as UW-Stout, which is the current title of the school today. 

Plaque Commemorating students who died in war. It it located underneath the Memorial Student Center.
Plaque Commemorating students who died in war. It it located underneath the Memorial Student Center.

External links[edit]


  1.,. (2015). A Brief History of Menomonie | Wisconsin Historical Society . Retrieved 5 November 2015
  2. Area Facts & History. (n.d.). Retrieved November 5, 2015
  3. Stanely Republican,. (1908). The City of Menomonie, pp. 1-6
  4.,. (2015). History of Stout. Retrieved 5 November 2015
  5.,. (2015). Retrieved 5 November 2015