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

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

Page 95

be to acquire, open, extend, maintain and improve parks, boulevards and pleasure
drives in and about the city of Mfenomonie according to authority contained in
Chapter 55 of the Laws of 1-899 (the Olin law). A plan for raising funds through
membership fees, suggested by J. C. Wilcox, was adopted and made a part of the
by-laws, which provided for three classes of members-annual, life, and honorary.
Annual members were to pay dues of SIl.00 or more in advance; any person might
beccme a life member by paving S100; honorary members might be elected by the
directors but should have no vote. Under these regulations several persons be-
came life members and about 125 more subscribed frcn  1.00 to 825 per year for
five years in order to raise the amount necessary to purchase and improve the
pond property.                                               mrv     h
In this manner the money was raised and the work began. First, the pond
bank, or what was left of it, was purchased and with the assistance of many citi-
zens, the pupils of the schools, and the expenditure of a moderate amount of money,
the bank was cleared of underbrush, fallen and dead trees, and other unsightly
objects, and from year to year it has been kept in fair condition. Four trails down
the bank were put in and a running trail around the entire park was provided.
The last payment to the Wisconsin Power Company was made in 1909.
Another task undertaken by the Association was the much needed improve-
ment of grading and terracing Wilson Avenue from Broadway to a connection with
the depot hill road, this work costing about $900. The city assisted in this im-
provement by putting down a good brick walk with gutters on each side. As a
further improvement on depot hill the Association bought a lot and moved the
Pixley house and blacksmith's shop, so that the city, having bought out Mr. Kirk-
land, the proprietor, could utilize the grading down of the depot hill in making a
better roadway into the city from the west. A number of shacks which disfigured
the approach to depot hill were moved to another track of land and improved to
some extent in appearance by being better grouped and by the laying out of gar-
dens and the planting of fruit trees about them. All this was good work and well
done, but what was now needed was a comprehensive and coherent plan of opera-
tion so that the money raised, not without difficulty, through subscriptions might
not be wasted in haphazard and amateur attempts at improvement which might
prove ill-advised or too costly in the end, but that it might be expended wisely for
permanent b~nefit to the community. This idea having been advanced by J. C.
Wilcox, Mr. Stout, to whom it seemed timely and sensible, took early action on it
by sending for Warren P. Manning, a famous landscape architect of Boston, who
came here and for a fair remuneration took in hand the task of making a general
survey and laying out a definite plan of work for the Association.
Subsequent to the sale of the pond bank to the Association the Wisconsin
Power Company sold its holdings to the Chippewa Valley Railway, Light & Power
Company, and when the latter company raised the old clam three and a half feet,
the shallow pond, formerly used for floating logs to the mill, was suddenly con-
verted into a navigable lake, which is now called Lake Menomin. At once a
strong interest in boating sprang up which called for suitable accommodations.
Several projects were proposed, and, as usual in such matters, there were various
opinions, into the respective merits of which it is not necessary to enter. It is
sufficient to say that a modern community boat house was built, supplied with
boats and canoes, and which, with individual slips, cost something over $4,000.
For this enterprise no subscriptions were solicited, and no money subscribed for
general Association work was put into the boat house proposition, the intention
being to make it pay its cost and be self-supporting. The boat house is well
patronized bv the people, and in particular by the students of Stout Institute.
The Association is responsible for a number of other improvements. Its latest
work has been to reclaim the banks of Wilson Creek along Highway No. 12, the
land between that highway and Wilson boulevard having been acquired. A part
of it is to be made into a tourist park and the rest la out into a community park
and children's playground for North Menomonie. The Mvenomonie Improveme,,
Association has now a membership of 200 or more prominent citizens, and its work
n t  ,

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