Menomonie, Wisconsin may look like a sleepy little city, but this community is steeped in history and offers the whole family a bevy of entertainment
Menomonie, Wisconsin is nestled along the brilliant shores of Lake Menomin and the banks of the panoramic Red Cedar River in northwest Wisconsin. Once christened "The Queen of the Pinery" for its solid roots in the logging industry, today Menomonie offers a diverse lifestyle that is seldom seen anywhere.
Just sixty miles east of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota and twenty-five miles west of Eau Claire, Menomonie appears a sleepy town that well represents strong midwestern values. Anchored by history and exquisite architecture, Menomonie offers its visitors an exciting look back in time and entertainment that steps into the future.
Menomonie first put itself on the map in the early 1800's, when lumber barons Andrew Tainter and Henry Stout formed a corporation called Knapp, Stout and Company. By 1873, Menomonie had gone from being an unknown community to the home of the greatest lumber company in the world, turning out some 5,706,602 feet of lumber a day. In January of 1861, impressed by Menomonie's potential, officials named the town as the new seat of Dunn County, Wisconsin.
Today, Menomonie is well known for its historic downtown district, which is still undergoing a costly restoration and revitalization program. The buildings dotting Main Street represent the architectural forms of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and all are open to tourists and passersby. The majority of commercial, educational, public and government buildings that line the streets were built of red pressed prick and Dunnville sandstone and can be seen in their original form by touring one of Menomonie's many well preserved buildings, including:
The Mabel Tainter Theater The 107 year old Tainter Memorial Theater was constructed by lumber baron Andrew Tainter and his wife Bertha to memorialize their teenage daughter, Mabel, who died at the age of nineteen from appendicitis. The Tainter is lavishly furnished with a 331-seat Victorian theater, art gallery, public reading room, a rare Steere and Turner Tracker pipe organ and gift shop. Intricate hand stenciled walls, carved woodwork, a huge marble staircase, leaded glass windows and gleaming brass fixtures have placed this well restored building into the National Register of Historic Places, and it serves as a Wisconsin Historical Land Marker. Daily tours are available, as well as tickets to theater performances.
Wilson Place Museum The colonial-styled mansion was constructed in the mid 1800's and served as a home to Captain William Wilson, founder of the city of Menomonie and the Knapp, Stout and Company Co. The Wilson Place still wears its original sandstone foundation and large pillared porches. Remodeled many times over the years, The Wilson Place is steeped in three generations of decorating history that saw this once private home turn from living quarters to a Queen Anne style mansion to a Mediterranean style villa. Daily tours through the building provide an excellent walk through of eleven marble fireplaces, a third floor ballroom and private bedrooms.
Caddie Woodlawn Memorial Park Carol Ryrie Brink brought the famous Caddie Woodlawn story to light with her best selling biographical accounts of a young pioneer girl named, Caddie. Today's traveler can jump back in time by visiting the commemorative park located eight miles south of Menomonie on State Highway 25. The original home, covered wagons, farming equipment and log cabins still exist on the grounds, which have been restored by the Dunn County Historical Society. A picnic area is also open to the public and all visits are free of charge.
Life Today Once you've learned the history of Menomonie, you have plenty of opportunities to explore what makes this town tick..
College Life The University of Wisconsin-Stout is a vital part of Menomonie's community, preparing students for careers in business, industry, technology, human development, education and art and design. The Stout Technology Park has blended both the students and community members, and is open to the public. Tours of the college are also available by request.
Lions Game Park One of Menomonie's major attractions which draws thousands of visitors each year is the Lions Game Park. Home to deer, elk, buffalo, pheasant, ducks and some native small animals, the game park is located in Menomonie's Wakanda Park, and is free to the public. Remember your hiking boots. This nature trail winds for miles through grassy paths and native wildlife areas.
Parks Menomonie houses ten different public parks, including a newly built Water Theme Park. All are open to the public and many feature local entertainment. Call the Menomonie Visitors Bureau for free travel information and a schedule of activities.
Golf Menomin's are diehard golfers, and you won't be disappointed with any of their three 18-hole golf courses. Well maintained and fully staffed, taking a swing in Menomonie is worth the trip.
Lakes Lake Menomin wraps itself around this city and is open to fisherman, boaters and swimmers alike. Three public beaches offer free places to swim and dock your boat.
Hiking, Biking The Red Cedar Trail, a 14.5-mile State Trail offers year round recreational opportunities. The trail, which hugs the Red Cedar River, was originally developed as one of the many Wisconsin "Rails to Trails" projects. Packed limestone surfaces are perfect for hikers, bikers, joggers and nature lovers during summer months and cross country skiers when the snow is falling.
Accommodations Planning on staying for awhile? You'll have a large array of options. Menomonie has more than a handful of hotels and motels, Bed and Breakfasts and campgrounds to suit your accommodation needs. Contact the Tourist Information Office for rates and discount information.