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The history of Columbia County, Wisconsin, containing an account of its settlement, growth, development and resources; an extensive and minute sketch of its cities, towns and villages--their improvements, industries, manufactories, churches, schools and societies; its war record, biographical sketches, portraits of prominent men and early settlers; the whole preceded by a history of Wisconsin, statistics of the state, and an abstract of its laws and constitution and of the constitution of the United States
(1880)

Chapter VII,   pp. 468-498 PDF (15.0 MB)


Page 471


HISTORY OF COLUMBIA COUNTY.
,one hundred feet above the river. From this level, about midway in the passage,
there is a
rapid rise in both directions to the summit of the high country on each side.
In several places,
branch gorges deviate from the main gorge, returning again to it; these are
evidently old river
,channels, and are now closed by sand. The streams entering the river in
this portion of its
course make similar canyons on a small scale.
     Section 28, in Township 14 north, of Range 6 east, lies both in Adams
and Juneau
Counties. The Wisconsin River, which is here the boundary between them, enters
the north line
of that section, and just at this point begin the Dells-the "upper jaws,"
as they are familiarly
called. The stream flows in nearly a south course through the middle of Section
28, until it
crosses into Section 33. It continues through the last-named section, passing
through the
"lower jaws," and just at the point in the middle of the river
where it crosses its southern line
are the corners of Columbia, Adams, Juneau and Sauk Counties. It flows on
across the north
line of Section 4, in Township 13 north, of Range 6 east, with a course bearing
to the east-
ward, crossing into Section 3, but soon turning back again into Section 4.
 Here a dam crosses
the river. All above this point is known as the "Upper Dells."
 From   this dam is seen
Columbia County and the village of Kilbourn City in the town of Newport,
on the right; Sauk
County and the town of Delton, on the left; the river forming the boundary
between the two
counties. Below the dam-or, what is specific enough, below Kilbourn City-are
the "1 Lower
Dells ;" while, as we have seen, above are the " Upper Dells."
The former occupy about the
same distance down the river as is occupied'by the latter up the stream,
the east side being in
Columbia County and the town of Newport; the west side in Sauk County and
the town of
Delton; but the general trend of the Wisconsin is toward a southeast course
in the "1Lower
Dells." At the point where the river loses its characteristics of a
gorge, it is called "1 the Foot
of the Dells."   Throughout the whole length of the narrow passage,
from the "Upper Jaws"
to "the Foot of the Dells," fanciful names have been given to the
most striking objects and
places.
                                       THE UPPER DELLS.
     Beginning at the dam and traveling up the river, the first striking
feature of the gorge is
Angel Rock, situated about one-half mile from the steamboat landing in Kilbourn,
on the right-
hand side of the river. It is a rugged projection, curiously shaped. This
lofty crag a lively
imagination can easily transform into a huge angel with outspread wings;
hence the name. It
is also called Marble Rock, from the peculiar little round lumps of sandstone
found on the ledge
:and in the river below.
     Swallows' Rock, or where the swallows live, is a little further along
on the same side. In
early spring and summer, thousands of beautiful little swallows may be seen
here in the brown
cliffs, occupying innumerable holes in the rock, safe from danger, and the
happiest family to be
found anywhere. Their jolly twittering can be heard far out upon the water.
      The Jcaws of the Dells, or entrance to the Dells proper, are guarded
by two immense
rocks-High Rock and Romance Cliff-standing like sentinels on duty and sternly
looking
down in their stately grandeur, as if disputing the right of man to explore
the intricate passage
beyond.
     High Rock, on the right, rises from fifty to seventy-five feet above
the river. It presents
 a rugged, rough aspect, with curiously shaped sides, and has a meager growth
of stunted pines,
 birch, and other trees and foliage.
     Romance Cliff, on the left, is a grand old pile of stately rocks covered
with a dense growth
 of trees and shrubbery. It is somewhat higher and more stately than its
vis-a-vis, High Rock,
 and has much more of the curious and wonderful in its make-up and general
appearance. It
 is suggestive of the stately crags and beetling cliffs of the weird and
grand scenery of the
 Rocky Mountains.
      Chimney Rock is one of nature's singular' freaks, left standing for
innumerable ages,
formed by the action of the wild waters, looking like the old-fashioned stick
and mortar chim-
:ney of the days of the forefathers. Standing out from the cliff behind,
it looks as if thle touch
             J
471


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