Menomonie, Wisconsin History/kneppmel29

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With natural attractions including trails, parks, and bodies of water, The Red Cedar State Trail, Devil’s Punchbowl, Hoffman Hills, and Lake Menomin/Lake Menomin Park are all natural attractions found in Menomonie, Dunn County, Wisconsin located in the Midwest and Great Lakes region of the United States.

The general landscape of Menomonie is a mix between the Central Plain and Western Upland geographical regions.  The Central Plain region is unique to its various sandstone formations.  Additionally, this region provides fertile farmland, which also happens to be present in the Western Upland region.  However, the Western Upland region is also mixed with forestry.

According to the 2010 census, Menomonie’s population was just over 16,000 people.  With a decent amount of people in the town especially with the University of Wisconsin-Stout within the city, people are constantly passing through the town.  Many citizens and tourists take advantage of the natural attractions that this city has to offer.  As people seek to visit such attractions, it is in curiosity to learn the location, formation, and naming and/or dedication of each of these sites.  With knowledge of these topics in mind, visitors are then able to receive a fuller experience in their time being.

Red Cedar State Trail[edit | edit source]

Location[edit | edit source]

The Red Cedar State Trail, one of several popular natural and recreational attractions in Menomonie, extends from the Red Cedar Valley in Dunn County to the Chippewa River State Trail in Eau Claire County.  The Red Cedar State Trail is currently 14.5 miles complete with railings for convenience[1].  The trail once served the purpose of a railway system before people were able to walk, jog, or bike on the well-constructed limestone surface of this trail.  

History and Formation[edit | edit source]

Red Cedar River
Picture of Red Cedar River

This trail was established on a historical rail line called the Red Cedar Junction.  In the late 1800s, this rail line was run by the Knapp and Stout Company, which at the time, was the largest lumber producing company in the world.  Prior to 1973, when the line was no longer in operation, the line carried freight and lumber.  Later, after the abandonment of the Red Cedar Junction, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) took over for the purpose of preservation and also for the transformation into a natural attraction open to the public[2].

The Red Cedar State Trail was named after the beginning point of the trail itself, which is the Red Cedar Valley also located in Menomonie.  Today this trail runs through the communities of Menomonie, Irvington, and Downsville and along the way exhibits its natural diversity through its various species of plants and animals.  Not only do people visit this attraction to be immersed in nature but also to do recreational activities including walking and bicycling, canoeing and kayaking, winter activities, and hunting[1].

Devil's Punchbowl[edit | edit source]

Devil's Punchbowl
This is a picture of Devil's Punchbowl in Menomonie, Wisconsin taken in the afternoon of September 19, 2015.

Location[edit | edit source]

Devil’s Punchbowl is located on 410th St. in Menomonie, just about seven and a half miles north of the Red Cedar State Trail.

History and Formation[edit | edit source]

Devil’s Punchbowl is categorized as a geological formation that did not appear in a day but over a course of several millenniums. This geological formation comes from sea deposits, which were laid down in this area about 500 million years ago.  From those sea deposits came the Eau Claire Sandstone Formation.  This formation consisted of rock strata, which was later eroded about 10,000 years ago in process of the melting of the glaciers that also once existed[3]. After series of geological events, Devil’s Punchbowl came to what it is today.

As to how this natural attraction got its name, there is no clear reasoning or answer.  With the University of Wisconsin-Stout being close by and their mascot being the blue devil, some people believe that Devil’s Punchbowl attained its name after the mascot and the reputation of being a party school.  On the other hand, others believe that Devil’s Punchbowl got its name in relation to popular geological formations of the west such as Devil’s Tower located in Crook County, Wyoming[3], United States .  No matter what the true history of the naming of Devil’s Punchbowl may be, it is upon the interpretation of the visitor as to maybe igniting a personal stance on the specific naming of this geological feature.  Even then, this is still a historical and popular natural attraction in Menomonie.

Hoffman Hills[edit | edit source]

Hoffman Hills
Picture overlooking Hoffman Hills from the observation tower on September 26, 2015.

Location[edit | edit source]

About ten miles northeast of Menomonie, numerous acres of well-preserved wooded and hilly land can be found[4].  Within the vast acreage of land sits an observation tower that stands 60 feet tall, making it one of the highest points in Dunn County and a stunning view for miles throughout the four seasons of the year[2].  Most of this land exists as it is with trails placed to fit among these hills and attract many ambitious people who thoroughly enjoy the outdoors in any sort of manner.  

History and Formation[edit | edit source]

Thirty-five years ago, back in the year 1980, Hoffman Hills was established.  This massive chunk of land was named after the couple of Richard and Marian Hoffman who together donated 280 acres of what was Elk Mound Farmland to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR).  Today, the 707 acres of land calls for quite a rigorous yet rewarding trail[2]. For the convenience of those with different ambitions, there are even different trails for levels of easiness and difficulty, so that this experience may be enjoyed by everyone who pays a visit.

Lake Menomin/Lake Menomin Park[edit | edit source]

Lake Menomin
Picture of Lake Menomin taken in the evening on September 11, 2015.

Location[edit | edit source]

One of the most distinct natural attractions in the city of Menomonie is Lake Menomin.  This lake is considered an impoundment.  In the context of Lake Menomin, an impoundment, according to, is “a body of water confined within an enclosure, as a reservoir".  Lake Menomin is located nearby downtown Menomonie and just up from University of Wisconsin-Stout’s north campus. Although Lake Menomin receives the majority of its water from the Red Cedar River, this lake attains its poor water quality and algae from Tainter Lake just up the stream[5].   In addition to having Lake Menomin so close to downtown Menomonie, a park is beneficially established on the east shore of Lake Menomin.  This section of land was originally a part of the Dunn County Health Care Center’s property.

History and Formation[edit | edit source]

It was not until the year 1982 when Dunn County had made the decision to transform the 147 acres that this property was made up of into a natural attraction for the tourists and citizens of Menomonie.  When this land was also shared with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, a portion of the land was left alone for open prairie land.  With the lake and park nearby Unfortunately this inhibits some activity that can take place in the water such as swimming.  However, Lake Menomin and its park can still be taken advantage of for boating and fishing, as well as picnicking and hiking[5].  To break away from the city life of Menomonie, Lake Menomin and its park is a popular way to break away and become immersed in what nature has to offer.

External Links[edit | edit source]

Dunn County

Lake Menomin Park

Menomonie Trails and Maps

Menomonie, Wisconsin

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

References[edit | edit source]

Dunn County Parks. (n.d.). Retrieved November 12, 2015, from[3]

Friends of the Red Cedar Trail and Hoffman Hills. (n.d.). Retrieved October 26, 2015, from[2]

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. (n.d.). Retrieved October 26, 2015, from[1]

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. (n.d.). Retrieved October 26, 2015, from [4]

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. (n.d.). Retrieved October 26, 2015, from[5]

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