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Curtiss-Wedge, F.; Jones, Geo. O. (ed.) / History of Dunn County, Wisconsin
(1925)

Chapter XIV: further history of Menomonie,   pp. 91-116 ff.


Page 91

CHAPTER XIV
FURTHER HISTORY OF MENOMONIE
Linked with Prairie dii Chien by the Mississippi, Chippewa and Red Cedar
rivers and the opportunities for commerce upon their currents, the settlement at
Menomonie followed that of the early military post and trading rendezvous as a
natural consequence. Timber was needed to construct the buildings at the sta-
tion on the Mississippi, and the pine on the banks of the Red Cedar River, then
the Menomonie, offered an easily accessible supply. A temporary settlement had
been made here in 1822, and the forests of the valley were well known to the fron-
tiersmen. In 1822 Hardin Perkins obtained permission from the agent of the
Sioux Indians to erect a sawmill in the Indian country, but his enterprise was
never carried out, and James H. Lockwood and Joseph Rolette, fur traders of
Prairie du Chien, obtained like consent in 1829. A mill was erected at the mouth
of Wilson Creek, which began sawing in March, 1831, marking the beginning of
operations that continued until Messrs. Wilson & Knapp bought the property in
1846, several changes of ownership having in the meanwhile occurred.
From this beginning was developed the great lumber industry that is traced
more in detail in a review of the activities of Knapp, Stout & Co. From this be-
ginning also grew up the community that became Menomonie. In 1855 the post
office was established with T. B. Wilson as postmaster. Menomonie was platted
in 1859 and was at once given its-name. Various persons were asked by the lum-
bermen, Wilson & Knapp, who had the village plat made, to suggest a name. S.
B. French, who had arrived six years before, proposed the name "Menomonee,"
which had been the original name of the Red Cedar River but had been dropped
as such in 1850. Why the name of the river was changed is not known, as there
was little red cedar on the banks of the stream. But a revival of the name in
connection with the village appealed to the founders and the suggestion was acted
upon. The letters in the last syllable of the name were later changed to "ie" by
the post office department to distinguish it from other geographical names having
the same pronunciation. The word is of Chippewa Indian origin and has refer-
ence to wild rice, of which there was an abundance on the stream when it was
given the title.
Menomonie is known far and wide as a city of rare physical attractions. The
citizens generally take especial pride in the appearance of their home surroundings;
front lawns are kept sightly and back yards sanitary, and squalid conditions in
any part of the city are practically unknown. Practically all the buildings that have
been erected for a number of years past, especially in the residential portion of the
city, are of substantial construction and pleasing architecture. The residence
streets are for the most part laid out in the form of boulevards with grass plats
at either side and skirted by handsome shade trees. Two parks, Wilson and River-
side, given to the city by wealthy citizens in early times, add to its beauty and
afford means of wholesome pleasure to the people, and to these must be added
the lake bank being developed by the Improvement Association.
Surrounding the city and extending throughout Dunn County, are many nat-
ural beauty spots of great charm, affording accessible places for enjoyable outings
and fine opportunities for the sportsman with rod and gun. Well stocked trout
streams are found in abundance, and the Red Cedar River and Lake Menomin
contain numerous game fish of several varieties. Among the beauty spots with
which nature has favored Dunn County may be mentioned as among the most
popular, Wilson Creek, whose banks afford a wonderful variety of scenic delight;
the banks of the Red Cedar, both above and below Menomonie; Paradise Valley;
Chimney Rocks, southwest of Downsville, Lamb Creek Falls, Cedar Falls, and
Elk Iound.
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