Menomonie, Wisconsin History/Spontaneous Turtle

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Menomonie, WI was a vastly rich village that was based around one industry at its beginning. Logging was such a good industry to have in Menomonie because of the Red Cedar River.   This gave the city a great time of wealth and prosperity.  Many buildings and entertainment venues and hotels were put up.  Many buildings in Menomonie and around Dunn County are named for the logging industry. This proves that the rich history of the town has had a huge impact on the surrounding area. 

Taken of the top of white pines
White pine

The First Mill[edit]

Hardin Perkins and James Lockwood were sent to the Red Cedar River to get some logs for the nearby military fort.  They built a mill on the Red Cedar River.  This mill was essentially the first building in Menomonie. This area and Mill had many different owners that made it go to where it is now.  Lockwood then sold the Mill to James Green.  John Holly Knapp then obtains the deed to the mill. These were all the first people to really put anything down In Menomonie and this makes them the first settlers or business owners.  The fact that one industry can make a town grow so much in such little time   Early in the areas history it was only used for logging but as the mill grew larger it needed more workers so a little town popped up in the area.  The dam and mill on the Red Cedar River were not finished until March of 1831(DunnHistory). It was the first operational mill and successful dam on the river.

Picture from the bottom of a white pine tree
White pine in front of commons at UW-Stout


Menomonie wasn’t always business and hard work there were celebrations a great night life because of the hotel and Grob’s being right next to each other downtown.  The town now had a night life and between that the river and all of the commercial businesses there was a lot going on and enough for anyone to do. Menomonie celebrates Independence Day for the first time in 1863() In 1872 Dunn County Agricultural Society holds its first fair. It would be 14 years before another fair would take place(DunnHistory).  Many commercial and consumer businesses the town of Menomonie really exploded into a wealthy place that became a super popular place to live and work. This wealth and prosperity could however not be everlasting eventually there wasn’t any more places to log the mills would close and the people would not have any jobs to roll back on. 

The Town[edit]

When the town became more established there was a ton of wealth because everyone in the town had a job and the lumber company was making a ton of money.  Then because more people started moving into the town there was a need for schools and banks and other buildings so the first school was established for company employees children. It was a one room school house that could accommodate about 40 students.  The first mill was destroyed by a fire so a new one was built in its place that was bigger and had a larger operating capacity.  This meant that even more people could move to the town. Before long the population of Dunn County was 1796, Menomonie mills made up 1083 of that population.  Railroads reached the Menomonie Mills from the west in 1871(DunnHistory).  With that it brought in a new influx of people and tourists so naturally there needed to be places for entertainment and places for people to stay so Grob’s Hall was a popular building for dancing and entertainment. It was also the largest commercial building in the town.  The Merchant Hotel was built right next door to Grob’s Hall.  It was the only standing hotel in the town of Menomonie(Dunn History). In 1872 the telegraph reaches the area, and in 1878 the first telephone reaches Menomonie.  By this time James H stout was part of the logging company which was Black and Knapp logging co.. He would server very influential in deciding what the town would become in the years to come.

How the town has changed due to logging[edit]

In just a little above 70 years every tree in the area was logged out.  There were floods and fires hotel burnt down also a whole city block between on either side from one fire.  James H Stout decided to make the town about more than just logging he decided to start Stouts manual training school.  A few years after that a fire leveled his buildings so he decided to rebuild but bigger and also add a domestic science building.   

            Though logging was a huge industry since all of the logs were gone the area had to find a new resource or good to produce.  Iron and steel became the new industry and with the manual training school supplying people who knew what they were doing the industry then became the largest industry in Menomonie.  The relationship between the school and industry proved to be a good relationship.  So this made Stout add on to his school a ton eventually that school became our school and Menomonie turned primarily a college town like it is today.  

Why it Matters[edit]

            The history of Menomonie is important because it’s where I live now and I like to understand the area around me.  From logging to and town based on education Menomonie has always been a decent place to live.  Many historical buildings and historical events have happened here and have greatly influenced how the town is today and also how the town was made to be.  From a town based on just industry to a town that drives industry from being very wealthy to kind of poor to having a UW system school Menomonie is a very old town that definitely is important in Wisconsin. Many people had a huge part of making this plae what it is today and I think might be the most special part of the whole town.  Most of the town has company’s that are still named for the history of the town like the restaurant and bar log jam and many more.  Many of the buildings on campus are named after influential people in the history of Menomonie.  The fact that people are remembered for something they did almost 200 years ago is the coolest part of this for me, it is also why I believe that Menomonie will keep growing and changing and maybe adding to the important people who once lived here and created this place.  Ever changing and growing, but not forgetting is my favorite part about this place.


National Register of Historical Places - WISCONSIN (WI), Dunn County. (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2015.

Problem while searching in The State. (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2015.

University of Wisconsin Stout | Wisconsin's Polytechnic University. (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2015.

University of Wisconsin Stout | Wisconsin's Polytechnic University. (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2015.

Wisconsin Historical Society. (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2015