City-as-Text: Honors Freshman Orientation 2013!

Welcome to the City as Text blog! On Saturday, September 7th the Honors College Freshmen were introduced to the City of Menomonie, their new hometown. We divided into twelve different groups to explore the greater environment of Menomonie, from its meditative river walk to its Big Box megastore. Students engaged in active or “integrative learning” by immersing themselves in a personal investigation of the Menomonie landscape. While on site, students took photographs, spoke to area residents, and wrote reflective essays recording their observations of the location. This blog brings all of the experiences together, inviting a unique sharing of the City as Text adventure!

 

Posted in 2013 City-as-Text | Leave a comment

Devil’s Punchbowl

Devil's Punchbowl

Leah M.

Walking down the wooden steps to the Devil’s Punchbowl was an experience all it’s own. Once descended into cooler air, you were free to travel the length of a stream, in either direction. One direction led to where the water entered. Day and night the water must drip from the layers of rock and moss, forming a puddle in this cavern. The puddle then slowly flows, forming the shallow stream, which gathers other water dripping in from the sides of the crevice. This dripping water was what captivated me. With the sunlight that filtered through the leaves, some of the drops turned into tiny diamonds. They twinkled as they moved, dancing downward to the ground. I could stand there enthralled forever if I let myself, simply because each shimmer of reflected light danced differently. It was like each drop of water had it’s unique dance, just as each person I’ve met so far at UW-Stout has such distinct qualities; just like every person in the world is purely individual.

Katherine M.

The sweet, cool smell of nature filled my lungs as we descended wooden stairs into the Devil’s Punchbowl. Once glance upward and I was amazed at the beauty that surrounded me. The walls of the canyon–like structure were massively gorgeous. Sunshine seeped through trees, highlighting portions of the wall and bringing out the colors in the different layers of rock. The sound of trickling water reached my ears as it slowly found its way down the rocky landscape. To complete the look, the entire scene was brimming with lush green vegetation (hopefully not much of which was poison ivy…). It oddly occurred to me that the Devil is often portrayed in society as enticing, ugly, and unpleasant. If this was the Devil’s Punchbowl, then perhaps the founders understood the TRUE identity of the devil prior to naming this masterpiece. Ezekiel 28:12 claims that the devil is incredibly beautiful. Genesis chapter three gives the impression that he is enticing.  If you choose to visit the Devil’s Punchbowl, be warned that the beautiful surroundings may entice you to make it a new favorite Menomonie destination.

Megan M.

From above the Devil’s Punch Bowl looks like a large hole in the ground, but when you step off the last stair down into the bowl there is a noticeable difference.  The temperature drops, and you can hear the tinkling sound of water falling.  Looking around, you are surrounded by water covered walls of rocks.  There are not really waterfalls, but the water drips down on all sides creating a sparkling look in the sunlight.  It is a peaceful place.  It is one of those places you just want to keep for yourself.

Gunnar M.

When you begin to enter the Devil’s Punch Bowl, it imposes a silence upon you. Maybe ‘imposes’ is a strong word; it modestly suggests. It is invitingly lit, like a scene from a movie you used to like. When you are in the Devil’s Punch Bowl, the silence causes you to reflect upon the facts of life that are most immediate to you: the foliage is beautiful, the water sounds nice, and your shoes are covered in mud and sand. When you leave the Devil’s Punch Bowl, watch out for the missing step.

Bella N.

In a secluded area in Menomonie lies the Devil’s Punchbowl.  This reminds me of a more outdoorsy Grand Canyon, but obviously smaller.  Many small details are added up to make this what it is.  There is water trickling down the side of a stone rock face.  This leads to a small stream where one can hear the water flowing slowly.  The rest of the area is filled with sand, trees with most of their roots showing, and leafy green plants.  I observed a couple frogs and few water bugs prancing around in the water.  The air is cool like a nice autumn day.  It is woodsy and shaded and feels good when it is ninety degrees at the top.  The Devil’s Punchbowl is a place someone can go when they feel they need to be at peace with the earth.

Ali N.

As we ventured down the wooden stair case into the ravine below I was instantly reminded of home. It smelled of an old forest and the not so distant sounds of the running water. They both comforted me. It reminded me that even though I’m miles away from my hometown I can find ways to make Menomonie my temporary home. Standing at the bottom of Devil’s Punchbowl with my eyes closed, my sense of sound was on overdrive. The birds sung freely, uninterrupted by the human presence, water splashed as the frogs danced through the water. Opening my eyes once again I was overwhelmed by the sights that surrounded me. The enormous rock walls that enclosed the gorge dripped as if they were silently weeping. It was calming and reassuring to find somewhere that took me home without ever leaving Menomonie.

Stephanie N.

I can completely understand how the Devil’s Punch Bowl has become an iconic part of the Menomonie area. Though much of Menomonie is covered in plant life, the view from the Devil’s Punch Bowl is very striking and awe-inspiring, especially to first time viewers. I couldn’t believe how peaceful and quiet it was, and how easy it was to move away from others and hear the noises of nature. Examining how all of the vegetation had thrived on the rock face was very interesting as well.

Seeing such a landmark is very different than anything found in my hometown. I live in the middle of Wisconsin, about four hours south from Menomonie. I tend to see nothing more than hills and plains there, so a geographical wonder like the Punch Bowl is breathtaking in comparison.

I was sad to see broken glass when I ventured down in to the bottom of the Punch Bowl. I would hope that most residents of Menomonie would treasure such a beautiful place, because many other cities do not have the same thriving landscape that Menomonie does. It would be sad to see a place like this closed off from the public due to hazards such as glass and other pollution.

The Punch Bowl is a very relaxing area, and I feel many students would make good use of it as a way to get outdoors and really appreciate such a city as Menomonie. I would love to return with some of my friends and experience the peace of such a great landscape.

Meghan O.

While visiting the Devil’s Punchbowl, I was immediately struck by its immense natural beauty. A short walk in the woods led us to a long, winding set of stairs encompassed by overhanging branches, various greenery and the occasional flower. Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs though is where the full beauty and peacefulness of the location hits you. The rock face immediately draws your attention, and if you listen closely, you can hear water trickling down into the small pool and stream below. Trees surround the narrow walking path, some standing, others fallen or growing at odd angles from the earth. I found the trees there so interesting; ;the way that some of them appear dead and lying on the ground yet are still flourishing amazed me. I am so glad I was able to visit this incredible, peaceful natural landmark.

Patrick O.

The Devil’s Punch Bowl is a small natural park of sorts on the outskirts of Menomonie. It is a beautiful area that creates a very strong sense of community. I found this out both at the site and back at the dorms. While I was in the Devil’s Punch Bowl admiring its breathtaking views, I saw several people from Menomonie visit it to take pictures of the wildlife or just to walk around. Then later in the day I was talking to my RA and ARC and both of them had stories to tell about the Devil’s Punch Bowl. I was very intrigued by the fact that this small forested area has really affected so many people enough that the name is instantly recognized by them.

Alexis O.

While walking down to the Devil’s Punchbowl, or overlooking it from above, I immediately thought of High Cliff State Park, where I spend time back home.  Both places are important to visit as they represent the Wisconsin environment so well.   From below, the mineral, soil and rocks as well as the plants and flowers serve to remind us of the wealth of nature that is our home.  It’s a cross-section and a snapshot of the native resources that we lose to poor environmental regulation or treatment and which we, at Stout, do our best to protect and preserve.

Alexander O.

The Devil’s Punch Bowl is one of the more fascinating places I’ve been.  With exotic forestry, and stunning scenery it is certainly worth ones time to visit.  While I enjoyed the cool air and forest, perhaps the greatest thing about the trip was the stories that were told in the stone.  As I looked at the great sandstone walls that surrounded me I could not help but be in awe of their majesty.  If the Devil’s Punch Bowl was not amazing enough, to learn that it was over 500 million years in the making would certainly give it an extra edge.  From the depositing of sand in that ancient ocean to the erosion that carved out it’s now magnificent shape, it held a story as old as time.  It reminded me much of Minnehaha falls, by my home town of Minneapolis.  In that respect, the story felt very familiar.  In some way, I felt that it was the unification between where I had grown up and where I was now going.  A link between the future and past.  In that aspect, the Devil’s Punch Bowl can also serve as a link between us as a community, a place where we are bonded together in the story it tells.  Of course, with every good story comes a good mystery.  There, in that serene space, the mystery was plentiful.  One of the things that caught my eye was that there was no discernible source for the stream that trickled down the rocks.  For a long time I pondered about its origins.  Was it from the ground water, or was it from an underground stream not visible to our eyes?  Regardless, the dazzling beauty of the water and its mysterious origins only furthered to deepen the story.  Throughout the time I wandered and wondered.  I had so many questions about this place, and so little time to explore.  While most of my questions remained unanswered, I did not leave disappointed.  Rather, I left feeling rejuvenated and eager to learn more about the world around me.  The Devil’s Punch Bowl must be a piece of heaven.

Posted in 2013 City-as-Text | Leave a comment

Menomin Park

Shoreline at Menomin Park

Having the opportunity to explore the Lake Menomin Park was a great experience.  This area provides Menomonie with a scenic place for community members to participate in multiple activities.  People can mountain bike, snow shoe, play catch, or just sit down and enjoy a picnic.  I could envision myself using this park in the future to bring my family there and enjoy a day outside.  I could also use this place to get off campus and just enjoy the outdoors.  I like Lake Menomin Park because I did not have a park like this back in my hometown.  It is unique and different from Rice Lake because it provides a place for people to get outside and really enjoy nature and company.

- Zachary D.

I was in group 2 and we went to Lake Menomin Park. Our journey was started by getting dropped off on the side of the road next to a long dirt road with no end in sight, I was a tad skeptical at this point. My first impression of the park was that it was really plain with nothing to it and could not see the point of bringing us there. We split our group into smaller groups and I walked with Zach and Nic. We randomly picked a path and started walking. We walked along the lake for a while which unfortunately is green and smelly, due to the cyanobacteria. The paths we had taken to get there were beautiful woods but the fact that the lake was so gross made you forget about the serenity that you had just walked through.

My group went where no one else did. We came across a prairie where the flowers and grass were as tall as we were and couldn’t even see the other side, it was absolutely breath-taking. We walked all around it and marveled at the beauty of it. It was so weird to think that that land could have been something other than prairie land. As we kept going I felt as if I was walking through the meadow like in Wizard of Oz. It was a super cool experience even though we were sweating our butts off.

After this experience and knowing that it exists, I can definitely see why it was on our list to explore. It is a wonderful place to take family or friends and have a picnic and explore the great outdoors. With the multitude of paths that are offered, it could even be possible not to see anybody and feel like the entire place is yours. I really hope to show my friends this area, especially when feeling overwhelmed by school, it is a great way to clear your mind and escape the pressures of school and the city life.

- Kayla C.

The Lake Menomin Park is very similar to parks at my hometown of Phillips, Wisconsin.  the park has the trails in the forest and a view of a lake shared by the Phillips High School Forest.  This park also has the proximity to a factory building shared by Lionite Park (Lionite being a paper-mill and the one near Lake Menomin Park being owned by 3M).  Because of this, I may use the park as a way to stay connected to my hometown without driving back all the time (I still miss my family, Though!).

- Joshua D.

City as Text was actually not my first honors event that I was given the chance to go to this previous week, this however does not diminish its importance to me. Getting a chance to see the sheer amount of new freshman students like myself that have made it into the Honor’s College, along with both the learning and social aspects that were involved with it, made me glad that I was given the opportunity to go to Lake Menomin Park. My group was led by Tom Pearson, and for our trip, we got to explore the area near Lake Menomin. For the park having a Lake in its name, I was surprised by how little access to the lake there was at the park. From what I saw however, the park was in fairly good condition and I personally was surprised by the fact that there were mountain biking trails that were all over the edge of the lake. It felt like there were not as many visitors to the park as there once was, but I felt like it was it still had the potential to be a fun meeting place for some friends, possibly to go mountain biking or even a picnic. Overall I’m glad I got the chance to meet some new people, and enjoy a new area.

- Nicholas C.

Lake Menomin Park is an important place for the residents of Menomonie to be able to use as individuals and as a community. In the ever-changing world we live in today, we have become less in tune with the people around us. Whenever we feel out of place in a situation, we can avoid it with the touch of a button transferring us to a text message, game or other distraction. Lake Menomin Park is a lovely area for physical recreation with it’s many hiking and mountain biking trails. Yet there is much more offered in Menomin Park than the benefits of physical exercise. The park is located near 3M factory, but feels secluded at its removed location from the town and road. Wandering the trails this Saturday I felt calm and relaxed, leaving whatever thoughts I had by the entrance to the park. This is a place to bring your family for an afternoon of fun and relaxation. To remove yourself from the technology that interrupts so much of what is right in front of us. Menomin Park is a place to go alone or in a group; either way finding respite and refreshment from whatever is darkening your thoughts.

- Kylie B.

The park serves as a place for the public to convene. This area is populated with mountain bike trails winding through the woods, making it a location in which athletes can exercise their passion for biking. Not only is this a place a source of community for bikers, but also maybe a good place for coming to fish down by Lake Menomin or for taking a walk through the woods. This area is open to all in the community. The open area containing picnic tables provides an opportune place for community gatherings. This area is a good place for members of the community to enjoy peaceful natural surroundings and to reconnect with the landscape. I envision myself using this park for taking nature walks to take photos as resources for my artwork. I often incorporate nature into my art, and the landscape of this area is rich with details that could enhance my work. In comparison to my home of Maple Grove, Minnesota, this park has a likeness not so much to the parks in my suburban hometown, but a likeness to the nature areas available. Just as these nature areas back home allow plants to grow wild and vivaciously, so does the landscape of Menomin Park hold virtuous to the ways of nature, and not to the disruptions of humankind. I appreciate how very few alterations were made to the park for accommodating people. The paths are unpaved, unlike the concrete paths of my suburban life back home.

- Mackenzie C.

My group was sent to Lake Menomin Park.  This park is a place where the community of Menomonie can appreciate nature.  There are trails throughout the park and areas that one can relax and enjoy the view of the lake. During my time at UW-Stout this park would be nice to visit when I want to get away from the dorms and reflect. Additionally, a group picnic to this park would be a fun plan. This area is similar to the Thousand Island Nature Center in my hometown, Kaukauna. There are trails that many people like to use whether they are running, biking, or snowshoeing in the winter.  The Fox River runs through the nature center as well. A difference between the two areas would be that we did not see any animals in Lake Menomin Park whereas in Kaukauna there are lots of geese especially.

- Anne C.

We visited Lake Menomin Park for our “City as Text.” This place is open to all of Menomonie to go and enjoy the beauty of nature. A family or neighborhood could have a friendly picnic in the grassy area or a group of students can go explore the woods on their mountain bikes. To be honest I probably will not use this area very much in the years while I am at UW-Stout. I am in cross country and unless I will be running the trails within the woods my experiences there will be slim. Although, Lake Menomin Park is a great way to get away from ones problems of life. This area was very different than my city of Neenah. Neenah’s parks consist of mostly playgrounds with the occasional woods. Usually these parks are filled with kids in a daycare service or students hanging out after school. Overall, though, I did enjoy this adventure to the park. The nature helped me relax and not feel so stressed out about the homework awaiting me back at my dorm.

- Sydnee B.

Lake Menomin Park allows people to get out of the typical daily life in Menomonie and  enjoy some time outside and with their friends. It also creates a space where people in the community can get together and form better relationships. There were lots of trails and single-track bike trails in the park. So I would spend my time with my friends, mountain biking on the trails and generally around the park. Lake Menomin Park is very different from where I live. Our parks back in Minnetonka are more regulated, requiring passes or a fee to enter most of the parks. The trails are also mostly paved or wider than those at Lake Menomin. Also the lakes by where I live are much cleaner and available for swimming. So generally Lake Menomin is just much smaller than what I’m used to.

- Brendan B.

Our group took a trip to Lake Menomin Park and it gave off a very peaceful vibe.  It almost seemed as if you were able to let go of your troubles for the time being there, relax, and use the beautiful scenic trails as therapy.  Community members can also use the park for not only an escape from reality, but also use it to for recreational purposes such as hiking, mountain biking, and snowshoeing.  I could not only see myself using Menomin Park for the recreational aspect, but definitely an escape from the chaos on campus.  It will be a place where I will be able to clear my mind and forget the problems present in my life at the moment, but it will also give me an opportunity to reflect on my life compared to where I want to be. Menomin Park reminds me of the small town I grew up in.  The park is similar to the one I had in my hometown with the ability to hike and being able to be around the lake with such a beautiful view.  The main difference I saw between the two was that I always see wildlife in the park back home, but at Menomin Park it seemed to lack the wildlife yet provide an adventurous experience.

- Kayla B.

Posted in 2013 City-as-Text | Leave a comment

Public Library and Lake Menomin

Lakefront

Melissa S.

The trip to the library and Lake Menomin felt to me like a journey through the old and the new. As you walked along the street, you could only imagine what it must have looked like in its hey-day, lined with the mansions of the wealthy logging barons. Only a few of those ornate mansions are left standing today. The cars rush by on paved highway, much different from the dirt paths that used to connect the city sites. In the library, you experience the smell of the old books in contrast to the gleaming cases of DVD and Blu-Ray disks. While observing man-made Lake Menomin, it’s hard not to see the consequences of modern agriculture on the lake. Blue-green algae is heavily present on the lake, leaving a thick layer of green sludge and a pungent smell in the air. These places that we visited are significant parts of Menomonie’s recreation and relaxation. I hope that something can be done to help get Lake Menomin back in top condition, so that others may enjoy its beauty and value in the future.

Hannah R.

The Menomonie Public Library is an essential hub of social interaction and impressive display of the historical pride Menomonie citizens hold. As the city was built upon Lake Menomin and the economic development harbored in the lumber industry that flourished through it, it is only fitting that the library be designed to overlook this great demonstration of the very resource that constructed Menomonie.  The library creates a greater sense of community, not only through its exemplary exhibit of the historical context that created this city, but through the literature it provides to the citizens. The library offers literature in many different media. In this technology driven world, the library has clearly kept with the times and offers both eBooks and Audiobooks for mobile devices; however, for people like me who are tactile and find half the enjoyment in good literature within the texture of the pages, they also offer a wide variety of hard copies of books.

Overall the Menomonie Public Library is a vital stitch in the seam that holds this community together. It brings the citizens of Menominee together through the love of literature, appreciation and pride in their rich cultural history, and perhaps most importantly, free air conditioning.

Shannon S.

The Menomonie Public Library is located on Lake Menomin in the heart of the city. This library is a place that brings the community together. All ages and cultures can find something here. The library holds many events which allow the residents of Menomonie to come together as a community. I plan to use this library as a place to study or just hang out when I need time away from the campus. It has a large selection, from old history books to new popular CD’s. The Menomonie Public Library reminds me a lot of the library in my hometown, Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Both libraries hold a lot of historical significance for their city and hold many events to bring their communities together.

Dakota S.

My group was assigned Lake Menomin and the public library. For myself, the library was more interesting. The library was full of members of the Menomonie community, both young and old.  Mothers and fathers brought their children in to rent books and look at magazines.  The Menomonie public library reminds me much of the library in my home town, and it seems to serve the same purpose. The library was conveniently located right next to Lake Menomin.  Because of its prime location, one can sit and read a book of one’s choice while having the ability to occasionally look up and see the beautiful emerald green lake out of the windows.  Overall, the library is a great community hub for the city of Menomonie.

Gjerda R.

Let’s get to it: Lake Menomin is gross. It’s covered in slime, it smells disgusting, and it’s right in the center of town. Walking through Menomonie without smelling something unpleasant is nearly impossible, and it’s the lake’s darn fault. It sucks right now, but imagine how cool it would be if the lake wasn’t a horrid cesspool. If there was a way to clean up the lake and promote tourism, it could be a wonderful way to unite the community. Although Lake Menomin isn’t
great right now, its potential to be a clean, fun, historic place should also be recognized.

Caylin R.

The Menomonie Public Library offers the community of Menomonie a refuge for those eager to learn something new or those simply looking for something to do with countless numbers of resources for both educational and entertainment purposes.  Inside of the building resides row upon row of books, magazines, and movies.  The topics vary from the latest fiction novel to non-fiction readings on historical events.  Patrons can catch up on the latest gossip or find new craft ideas in the magazine section with magazines for every age and personality.  Families will have fun picking out a movie or two for movie night, and they might even find a good craft book with ideas ranging from duct tape wallets to simple home improvement ideas.  The library offers Internet connectivity for those who need it, which is a convenient asset for college students looking to get off campus and into a more peaceful environment. Close to the library is the man-made lake, Lake Menomin.  This lake, when the temperature is nice and the algae is at a low, provides the community with a nice area to go fishing and boating.  College students and families will both enjoy the park right by the docking area.  It is a fun place for the kids to play and is a great destination for a picnic with friends and family.  Both the library and the lake are the perfect size for Menomonie’s smaller community and are great places for families and college students who are looking for something to do or for somewhere to explore.

Allison R.

The community of Menomonie seems to revolve around Lake Menomin.  I say this because one cannot travel through Menomonie without navigating around the lake.  Therefore, it is only natural that the library be a large part of the community as well, due to its location by the lake.  When we went inside the library, there was such a sense of belonging that washed over me.  I found it to be very similar to the library in my hometown.  After just a few moments, I was able to tell that it is a wonderful place for families and people of all walks of life to meet.  I foresee myself using the library during my time at Stout if I ever need to escape the daily grind of college, find a good book, or encounter free air conditioning.

Josh R.

My group went to the library and the Lake Menomin.  The library is in a very convenient location and everyone has access to it.  The library has a great view of the lake.  One interesting fact I learned about Lake Menomin is that it is an artificial lake.  This is sort of like a symbol of Menomonie’s past as a prosperous town with local businesses focusing on logging and brickwork.  I grew up on Lake Winnebago which can get quite green, but never have I seen a lake as green as Lake Menomin.  The little town surrounding the bigger lake reminds us of how in Menomonie’s past all small things were put together to create something great.  I do not really envision myself using the park, library, or lake while I am in Menomonie.  In comparison to the town I am from, Menomonie is much smaller and much newer, but nonetheless there is a true sense of community here.

Alyssa R.

I think the Menomonie Public Library is a great community gathering spot that offers numerous views of Lake Menomin.  When visiting the library, I noticed residents from every walk of life enjoying its services and benefiting from its generous staff members.  Every town has its community “hot spot” which everyday life revolves around.  Lake Menomin is Menomonie’s welcome to not only tourists, but long-time residents as well.  I’m very familiar with this concept because hailing from the land of 10,000 lakes, it’s almost impossible to not understand the role that just a simple body of water can play in bringing a community together.  In the future, I can definitely picture myself studying on a peaceful park bench, or on days like today, surfing the web in the comfort of the air-conditioned library.

Corey S.

A library, almost by definition, is a gathering place in a community.  It has many attractions ranging from books, children’s programs, and free internet and air conditioning.  Everyone can use it, because everyone pays for it.  In reality, a library is a very simplistic concept, yet it can be a vital part of a community.  A community without a library is one with something clearly missing.  The trouble is, a community with a library tends to overlook the fact that they are fortunate enough to have this resource.  Unlike a natural resource, this one takes human effort to keep up and running and to keep providing to a community.  Menomonie is fortunate to have such a nice library, one that helps bring the community together.

Cassidy R.

Nestled on the edge of Lake Menomin, the public library provides a relaxing place to enjoy Menomonie’s lakeside community atmosphere. The perfectly-sized structure was designed for quiet reflection and privacy, with comfy corners and wide windows to gaze at the water from a comfortable chair. Secluded towers of books filled with adventure, drama, and information draw all ages from the community to a quiet summer afternoon. A safe and productive destination is provided for Menomonie youth interested in literature and current events, assisting in their growth as citizens of the community. It will provide an excellent study area and getaway during the school year.

Lake Menomin is backed by a rich history in its role in the industries that built Menomonie. Creating a center, the lake serves as part of the community’s identity. While the condition of the water is very different to what I’m accustomed to, it provides a picturesque area for recreation and studies, with many benches and comfortable areas.

Hannah R.

The library in Menomonie is, I believe, a necessary hub of communication and learning in the city, which more than does its part in contributing to the community’s academic, literary, and social health. As a public building, a library has its worth fully realized when it is used to its full potential by the public at large. Happily, this was certainly the case here. I had the opportunity to meet people of all ages, classes, and walks of life. In short, the library in Menomonie admirably performs its duties as both a place of academic growth and where people in the community can come together as real equals in their quest for knowledge.

Library and Lake group

Posted in 2013 City-as-Text | Leave a comment

Farmers’ Market and Stepping Stones

Farmer's MarketJulia H.

The experience we had at the Farmers Market and at Stepping Stones Food Pantry opened up my views on how having nourishing and healthy food is important to a community, as well as how people work together to on behalf of their community. Each of these community landmarks aid in bringing the people of the town together. At the Farmers Market, people of different origins and cultures collaborate together over the food and products they contribute to the market. The concept of eating healthy is present at each stand. Locally grown food, provided to locals, is an excellent way to build a community, and a lifestyle.

At Stepping Stones, the local Farmers Market donates food at the end of their sales, to support this organization. This local assistance is helpful, but much more is needed. When looking at the big businesses moving to small towns, it is so often thought of as taking away from the local businesses, but the large Wal-Mart in Menomonie actually keeps this organization running. Massive amounts of food are taken off the shelves every day that are still perfectly consumable. These products are donated to the food pantry, and are handed out to people in the community in need, which can be over 800 families a month. Other local food chains and businesses donate food to help those in need through Stepping Stones. The workers at the food pantry are so devoted to their community, and care about the well being of the people living within it. We heard some touching stories that brought the workers to tears.

Through each of these wonderful organizations, people of the community are brought together through food. It is so inspiring to know how much of an impact people have on their communities. This was an eye opening experience that will continue to inspire many.

Hannah H.

Connecting to Help the Community – How the Menomonie Farmer’s Market Helps Support Low-Income Families:

Walking into the Menomonie Farmer’s Market, I am greeted by the sight of an array of tents, vendors, and the produce they are selling. From talking to one of the vendors I find out that this time of year is the most bountiful for the farmers market, and with the different colors of all the different varieties of fruits and vegetables seemingly shining in my face, it’s not hard to tell.

After visiting the market for a while we walk not far to Stepping Stones, the local food pantry. Before today I have never been in a food pantry before, and it is certainly much different than the cold, dark warehouse that I am expecting. The area is warm and inviting, with posters offering help in various life problems displayed on the blue painted wall. We are told of how the pantry helps the community, and we are surprised to find out that most of the produce comes from the very farmer’s market we had just left. I am pleasantly surprised at this display of community between these two places. By the vendors at the market donating their food they are helping so many families receive the nutrition they need to live a healthy life and further help the community.

Megan H.

While exploring Menomonie as I would a text-book, I realized that the town is connected through giving and food.  My group and I started at the farmer’s market, where I talked to a few of the vendors.  When asked if they thought their stand made them connected to the community, an overwhelming majority answered yes.  The vendors at the farmers market come from different races and backgrounds, but are all tied together though this daily meeting place.  Some are Hmong, Amish, and Caucasian, but all are bound together through ties that go deeper.  Upon the exploration of Stepping Stones, Menomonie’s food shelf, my group and I realized that the food that the farmers market vendors don’t sell, goes to the food shelf so that the citizens of Menomonie can have fresh produce.  Even national businesses, such as Wal Mart and Kwik Trip, donate extra food that they don’t sell.  Through this, Stepping Stones has been able to give 1,356,251 lbs. of food to Menomonie’s residents in 2012 alone.  Stepping Stones has also paired with Menomonie’s elementary schools to give kids food that are at risk of going hungry during the weekend.  But the connections through food don’t end at Stepping Stones.  The food that Stepping Stones can’t use and bad produce is then sent to the pig farmers of Menomonie, where it is used for pig food.  Menomonie is connected through this chain of food and giving, whether it be farmers market vendors, national businesses, schools, or farmers, Stepping Stones’ motto “When a community connects, anything is possible” has never been more true.

Eric H.

Coming from a fairly large city, I hardly believed the small city of Menomonie had much to offer. At just over 16,000 residents, around a quarter of my hometown, Menomonie is, surprisingly, a very connected and supportive college town just like my hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The differences are very visible; no shopping mall, less restaurants, fewer movie theaters, etc… The list of “less” superficial attractions is seemingly endless. However, Menomonie does offer many profound places similar to Eau Claire. Notably, Stepping Stones Food Pantry is not only similar to the many food pantries in Eau Claire; it is directly related to, and collaborates with Eau Claire’s Feed My People Food Bank. Through donations from the local Wal-Mart, KwikTrip, and even the small scale farmers market, the community comes together with Stepping Stones to serve nearly 800 families in Dunn County every month. It is quite amazing how such a relatively small community can support such a large-scale operation. There is a mural within Stepping Stones shopping pantry stating, “When a community connects… Anything is possible!” Stepping Stones could not be a better example of this very statement; the possibilities are endless for Stepping Stones with the assistance of the greater Menomonie area. Already a food pantry, homeless shelter, and community connection program, there is no telling what could become of the now great organization. I am prideful to not only attend such a great university, but also be a part of a tremendously supportive community. I feel very at home in Menomonie, even considering the lack of a shopping mall or the lesser selection of restaurants because, just like Eau Claire, Menomonie is filled with caring, hard-working people. Plain and simple, Menomonie is a wonderful place to be.

Kevin K.

Communities need many types of people to survive in today’s world. They require those who form laws and regulations, those who dedicate themselves to enforcing said laws and regulations, those who strive to protect fellow citizens from danger or harm, those who help them heal and recover if such harm occurs, and those who work to provide services and aid to others. Of course, that only scratches the surface, but they all have something in common. As much as everybody works to supplement each other’s lives, they need something to supplement themselves just to live at all. Oxygen, water, shelter, sleep, and (last but not least) food. Trouble is, food isn’t as easy to come by as many of those other things are. In practically every case, we must work to earn our food. Some people have it easy – they can toil in the fields to grow food themselves, or perform well at their jobs to earn money so they can buy food. But what about those who have access to neither, people who are unemployed and/or homeless? If they can’t grow it or buy it, how are they supposed to obtain enough food to survive? Some feel they don’t deserve any, since they don’t contribute to the community (fools). Others feel these folks deserve as much a shot at life as the next guy, and thus spend their time gathering food specifically for those unable to earn it themselves (geniuses). You can find such people at the Stepping Stones food pantry in Menomonie, WI. They take in food items donated by community members and acquired from places like the nearby farmers’ market, then turn around and allow the homeless and/or unemployed to help themselves to whatever they need. The volunteers at Stepping Stones recognize that they are a part of Menomonie, too, and they know that by giving them another chance, these poor folks will eventually find their place and make their own contributions to the community, thus allowing it to grow and thrive even further. Anyone who says differently obviously has no idea what they’re talking about.

Joey K.

The farmers market and Stepping Stones food pantry were familiar and still inspirational places to visit.  The farmers market consisted of local residents with freshly grown fruits, vegetables, and flowers.  There was also a vendor offering his services by means of his homemade furniture and goods.  Nearby residents came for their fair share of goods and really turned the market into a true community.  This community in Menominee reminds me of the small town I grew up in.  A town in Northeast Wisconsin called Freedom.  Each town has ways of bringing the people of the community together to help out the community itself along with those in need.  If people need to, or even out of the kindness of their hearts, wanted to volunteer their time, the farmers market or local food pantries are truly amazing places to go.  It seemed the people who took their time to volunteer there had enjoyed their time helping out the cause.  Everything was truly inspiring.  If someone is trying to find a worthy cause to volunteer, then the Stepping Stones food pantry is more than worthy of volunteer time.

Gwendolyn K.

“When a community connects anything is possible.” This was the quote on the wall of Stepping Stones, a food pantry we visited. Our group also went to the Farmer’s Market. Both the Farmers Market and Stepping Stones are incredibly connected to the community. Stepping Stones brings together volunteers, families, and businesses large and small to help feed 300-400 families a month who would otherwise be unable to feed themselves. The Farmer’s Market does its part in this by donating produce each week that would have otherwise gone unsold and uneaten. The Farmer’s Market is also a place of connection all on its own, bringing together all types of people from the community. While there, I felt a sense of acceptance for everyone. It didn’t matter what you looked like, if you had a store or if you just sold your wares from the back of a truck, everyone was accepted just the same. There were people of all backgrounds too- richer, poorer, white, Hmong, Amish- all were welcome at the market. That same sense of equality and acceptance was found at Stepping Stones. It didn’t matter that someone was unable to feed their family; they were still treated as a person just the same. No one was judged or seen as less due to their circumstances, which I learned were often short term crisis. The past didn’t matter, the community connected to help that family have a better future.

Megan K.

The Farmers Market and Stepping Stones Food Pantry both clearly contribute to a sense of community in the Menomonie area.  For example the Farmers Market brings together people from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds.  They sell a variety of items however most have to do with food: fresh vegetables, honey, jam, baked goods, apples, and even meat.  Even on a hot summer day you can still find a good number of community members out and coming together to do something they have in common with one another.  Following our time at the Farmers Market we continued to the Food Pantry.  There we learned about what the organization does and some of the interesting programs they have developed.  One of which include having someone sit with a truck at the farmers market as it is ending and offering to take peoples leftover produce to the food pantry.  Yesterday alone they received 603 pounds of fresh produce that they can provide to the families they serve.  Another program they participate in is the food saving program where businesses such as Walmart, Market Place, and Kwik Trip give there close to date foods.  This is a great program because otherwise the food would be thrown away.  And if the food goes bad while in the food pantry’s care they save it to give to local pig farmers so even then the food does not go to waste.  In conclusion the places I visited clearly bring people together through food, and really what better way is there, everyone has to eat.

Phoenix K

Farmer’s Market

When you are someone like me, you see people and you would rather just not. I walked alone getting off the bus and again around the small market afterward. I hoped to follow a group and wait for someone else to ask questions. I hoped to just stare at everything and somehow know it all. Well, it does not work like that. Everyone else got ahead of me; I lost track of the pack. Then the strangest thing happened, that lady said “hi”. So I asked her about her produce and why she sold it; where she grew it. Suddenly I was visiting the other stalls. I discovered that the man who looked like a drug lord was, in fact, just a farmer selling his produce to help save up for his son’s college education. The man in an unflatteringly tight shirt made it his mission to provide healthy food to people. The guy with a huge beard had a passion for growing flowers. Sure, they could have been lying in hope to get a customer; although, I made it clear I was just looking. Either way; they were all people trying to make a living, people who love to see things grow. They were all people; they were all my kind of people. So that lady spoke with a thick accent, she was still a person just like me. Breathing and living. Helping other things live. Food is the true heart of a community; food and the people who grow it. There is a reason farming communities are less dangerous than big cites. The people work; they do not sit and idle. The people eat; they do not turn to crime to feed themselves. I walked in guarded, but I left inspired. I am glad I did not breeze by with my camera and huddle under a tree for shade. If I had, I would have missed everything. I would have never seen the point.

Kody K.

For City as Text Honors Orientation Day I went to a local farmers market and Stepping Stones food pantry. The farmers market was pretty much what I am used to a small gathering of people trying to sell their home grown goods. All the food was very inexpensive and I plan to use it as a good source of fresh food. I spent my time talking to a man who ran an orchard outside of Menominee who used the farmers market as a marketing tool to help expand awareness of his orchard. One member of my group asked questions about pesticides and common problems that apple trees have. I would imagine that the farmers market is a great place for people to share tips about growing food and how to deal with problems making everyone’s produce better for the community. The Stepping Stones food pantry gives around 800 needy families who have hit hard times food to help last the month. They also help run homeless shelter, connect volunteers to those who really needed help and help raise awareness of the poor showing people that even though they are poor it doesn’t make them any different from us. Stepping stones gets its food from food banks that in turn get their food from the second harvest of some local farms. Stepping Stones also gets food from food rescue projects, these projects involve buying food that is normally thrown out because some of it had gone bad. That way the whole bushel didn’t get ruined by a few bad apples. If I ever want to volunteer this is definitely my first choice.

Steppng Stones

Posted in 2013 City-as-Text | Leave a comment

Walmart and Goodwill

Goodwill

For the City as Text event, my honors group visited the Menomonie Wal-Mart and Goodwill. In both of the establishments we went on tours of the facility. At Wal-Mart, we learned about some of the produce coming from local farmers, and how the product selection and availability is based on consumer purchases, so the products in the store are community driven. At Goodwill, we learned about the donations and how Goodwill sorts, determines if the items meet certain standards and then prices the items. This is also mostly a community-driven selection because it is based on what people donate and the few items that are purchased by Goodwill.

Wal-Mart and Goodwill are both establishments that help give the area a sense of community. Wal-Mart achieves this through being customer-driven. Their products are stocked based on how much and how often the community members purchase each product. Goodwill also achieves a sense of community through their customers, but in a different way. They help community members to help each other through reusing items such as clothing and shoes, so instead of each person in the community always purchasing brand-new clothing or other items, they share. Those that donate help those that can’t afford new items or are on a smaller budget for clothing or shoes to afford good clothing.

During my time at Stout, I will use both Wal Mart and Goodwill. Wal Mart is a great place to purchase fresh produce that may be from local farmers. Also, they have pretty much everything from groceries and electronics to auto-care and clothing. Their prices are reasonable, too. Goodwill is perfect to find cheaper prices for clothing. After going on a tour and learning about how Goodwill sorts, selects, and prices their items, I am confident that the items I purchase there are of pretty good quality.

The Wal Mart and Goodwill stores in Menomonie, WI are both somewhat different from the same stores in my hometown of Rochester, MN. In Wal-Mart, the people are much friendlier, and the store itself is kept in better condition and cleaner. The Rochester Wal-Mart’s have a very similar selection of products to the Menomonie store, but that is really the only similarity. Goodwill in Menomonie is quite a bit smaller than the Rochester location. Both locations have a similar selection of items, but Rochester is able to sell some larger items like bookcases.

Wal-Mart and Goodwill are both establishments in the Menomonie, WI community that help foster a sense of community, help college students such as myself, and are similar and different from other cities and towns.

Becky G.

Wal-Mart and Goodwill are both very large contributors to the community of Menomonie and the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Wal-Mart is one of the larger contributors to the community by providing one of the only places in Menomonie to conveniently shop for a variety of items. Goodwill also is a large contributor to the community by providing inexpensive and slightly used items for the community that may not be able to afford brand new purchases.

I can see myself using these two areas quite frequently Wal-Mart gives the Stout student a “one-stop-shop” to find almost anything they need. For example, I bought an Ethernet cord, push pins, apples, and WHEY Protein, all in the same trip! I can also see myself using Goodwill for items like clothing, holiday items, and anything else I might need. It is always interesting to shop and Goodwill, because their inventory is always changing.

The Menomonie Wal-Mart and Goodwill are not that different in the way they are run and operated from where I am from (Minneapolis). But there are is one main difference, the variety of places to shop and purchase items. In Minneapolis I am used to being able to purchase a variety of items at a variety of stores, such as K-mart, Rainbow, Target, Kohls, etc. Menomonie is different because of its smaller variety of places to shop.

Stephen E.

Today in the City to Text experience, our group went to Wal-Mart and Goodwill, and got a very nice tour of each from employees at the establishments.

Nowadays, whether it’s good or bad, big retail stores are huge parts of any well-established community. They provide goods and services at affordable prices to the middle class, and are really a big reason that the communities operate. Wal-Mart is the biggest retail chain in America, and one can be found in just about any city in this country. Unlike some chains, they actively interact with locals by buying a lot of produce from local farmers. Since Menomonie is a college town, Wal-Mart is used perhaps even more than it usually would be. The low prices will attract every college student with a car, which makes it a huge part of the community just because it’s where everyone in the community gets their stuff. Goodwill is another part of the community, but it is for a different aspect of it. Their prices are even lower than Wal-Mart’s, which is of course on purpose. Goodwill supports and unites the poorer section of the community, a section most college students are a part of. The more fortunate donate to the less fortunate, and as the name says, it indeed creates good will between the different parts of the community.

Wal-Mart and Goodwill will be the main sources of where I’ll buy the stuff that I need for college. They are both going to get a lot of business from me in the next few years.

I come from Hudson, Wisconsin, and my town has both Wal-Mart and Goodwill. This Wal-Mart is bigger than the one in Hudson; it has a deli and a Subway inside of it. Otherwise, they’re largely the same, as it’s a retail chain; they try not to make them too different. Our Goodwill in Hudson is bigger and newer than this one though. This Goodwill seems limited by their physical constraints of the older building, but they got a great thing going over there.

Nate D.

Both Wal-Mart and Goodwill contribute greatly to the community in various ways. Wal-Mart prides themselves in the fact that they are customer driven. They receive calls and suggestions from the community and use those to shape the store to better fit the community. They also try their hardest to keep local farmers included in their largely supplied produce. Goodwill has a similar process but is much more reliant on the involvement of the community. Their entire inventory comes from the community and they put it back out there at low prices for others to reuse. Both Wal-Mart and Goodwill will be go-to shops for me both because they are convenient and they offer essentials at affordable prices. These things are key for both me and many other college students. I am from the Twin Cities where Wal-Mart isn’t as common as some other chains. So this will be a new experience for me. Goodwill too is different for me back home. It feels a lot more corporate than it does here. I really got the feeling that the people who work at Goodwill here in Menomonie really love what they do and understand the full extent of what they are doing.

Molly F.

For the City as Text experience, our group visited Wal-Mart and Goodwill. I consider myself very familiar with both of these locations, but this outing gave me a slightly deeper appreciation for each.

Wal-Mart contributes to the sense of community by listening to customer feedback, which strengthens the relationship they have with consumers. They also buy a small portion of their produce from local venders, and even donate their expired (but still edible) food to pig farmers and local food pantries. Doing so reaches out to a variety of community members and begins to break the “big business” stereotype. I see myself buying food, toiletries and household and office objects like eating and writing utensils at Wal-Mart in the future. Even though Wal-Mart is a very large chain, it is still different from the one I am familiar with. Menomonie’s Wal-Mart seems busier than Platteville’s Wal-Mart (my home town) and also seems to be better staffed; most of the registers were being run instead of only two or three. There was also a wider product selection.

Goodwill contributes to the community in a slightly different way; in their building there is a break room that serves as a meeting room, quiet room, and is also available to employees for religious purposes. On a larger scale, Goodwill reaches out to the community by donating all shoes that aren’t in good enough shape to be sold (but still wearable) to third world countries. I see myself shopping at Goodwill for costumes, second hand books, and, like Wal-Mart, cheap household appliances. Goodwill is also different from the one that I am familiar with in that it is physically smaller and gets most of its sales from clothing purchases. In addition, it has a fairly decent second hand book section.

Because both of these businesses are in my hometown, I thought I knew both of them like the back of my hand. However, City as Text proved to me the saying (no matter how overused) to be true: Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Laura D.

Wal-Mart is a retail store that specializes with providing us with a variety of products from apparel, to home goods and even food. Families are able to find all that they need in one location for affordable prices. It is a convenient place for the community to buy everything that they need in the same location. As a student, I could see myself going to Wal-Mart in order to buy basic needs for college life, and even anything else I may desire. Since they also sell food in their store, I can stock up on some food to have in my dorm for late nights. It is definitely my go-to store if I desire to save money as a broke college student. Wal-Mart is definitely a familiar store that I’m sure we have all been to at least once. In my hometown’s local Wal-Mart, the store’s format is only slightly different, but has a familiar and easy-to-navigate format. This makes shopping at Wal-Mart easier, for it will relatively look the same no matter where it’s located. I did, however, notice some UW Stout merchandise in the apparel area and a huge banner welcoming students back to Stout. My local Wal-Mart does not associate with any colleges, so it really exemplifies the relations Stout’s Wal-Mart has to its community. You can definitely see the local people filling up the aisles of this megastore.

Jessica F.

Wal-Mart is used not only as a retail market, but a grocery market as well. It is a supermarket, selling people goods from all over the area, and creating a more intertwined community between local farmers and international corporations. I will definitely buy things that I cannot purchase at grocery stores here, though Aldi is very close by. The Wal-Mart that I grew up with had a smaller selection, and was not geared towards college students.

The Goodwill takes in donations from the community and the community buys from the Goodwill for cheap. Yet the difference here with the Goodwill I grew up with is a much smaller selection. Menomonie’s Goodwill has no furniture or the like and has pieces that are not donated from the community. In any case I see myself coming to this Goodwill for cheap entertainment and clothes.

Blaine D.

During City as Text, I traveled with group three to two contrasting businesses in Menomonie. The businesses were Goodwill and Wal Mart. After receiving tours at both locations we discovered how their differences and similarities. Mainly, our group discovered how these businesses contribute to the community. Upon receiving the tour at Wal Mart I was taught that their main focus is to be a community driven company. One example is found in the produce section. To fill the produce shelves after their main shipments they use local approved farmers’ produce. Wal mart is a main shopping center for the people of Menomonie and supplies many products and jobs. After taking a short walk to Goodwill our group discovered how they are involved in Menomonie. When touring Goodwill we were allowed access to the back room to see the behind the scenes operation. Goodwill starts and ends with donations from the local community. The donations are brought to different areas to be sorted, priced, stored, and put on the floor. A goal of the company is to provide one stop shopping at affordable prices for people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Goodwill provides affordable products for all people of the community and has a use for all donations. It was beneficial to see how two different companies both have their unique ways of contributing to the community.

As I traveled on this journey I could see how I would utilize both businesses and how they compared to where I grew up. The main use of the two places for me will be shopping at both. They are beneficial to me because as a college student they are both affordable businesses that strive to give back to the community. Wal Mart will be a good location to find the products I need quickly. Goodwill to me is a unique store to find treasures that are not sold in typical stores. As I walked through both businesses I could see that they do not vary much from my hometown. Where I grew up Goodwill and Wal Mart are located about the same distance from each other as they are in Menomonie. Along with location the layouts are about the same for each store the only difference is the size of the two businesses. I will probably use these businesses more than I did when I lived at home though. This comes along with living on your own at college and needing more products. Traveling to these contrasting businesses during City as Text was a great welcome to Menomonie and beneficial to my future years here.

Lindsay P.

Wal-Mart contributes to the community by providing many different products and fresh food to Menomonie residents. Another way that Wal-Mart contributes to the community is that they often provide local produce if these local farmers are approved by the Wal-Mart Corporation. Also, Wal-Mart’s customers often influence the items available in store. During my time at Stout, I see myself visiting Wal-Mart to purchase fresh fruits or vegetables as well as any essentials I many have forgotten for my dorm.

The Goodwill in Menomonie arranges their products very similarly to the Goodwill in Chippewa Falls where I live. All of the clothing items are arranged by color and located in the left side of the store. Housewares, electronics and other items are located to the right of the store. During my time at Stout, I see myself visiting Goodwill for any miscellaneous items such as books or clothing for a great price. Everyone knows college students are always looking for a good deal!

Danielle F.

My honors group visited Wal-Mart and Goodwill located in Menomonie, Wisconsin for the City as Text activity. From this experience I was able to view the two separate venues in a new way. With the ability to ask questions such as “where does your produce come from?” and “how do you keep track of inventory?” I was able to discover new idea about two locations that have been in my life for as long as can be.

The Wal-Mart and Goodwill organizations have a unique way of making the community involved. The Menomonie Wal-Mart claims to use a wide variety of local/small farmer produce. If this is true, the fruits and vegetables sold at the store are much more likely to be fresh and healthy for the community. It also helps the local farmers stay in business. The Goodwill organization relies almost entirely on the donated goods of local townspeople. When a specific item goes low in stock at the warehouse, the local Goodwill must rely solely on donated products. This is a great way for the community members to recycle the items they no longer need or use.

Throughout my future years at Stout, I see myself utilizing these two organizations to the fullest. Each will serve as my one to two stop shopping place for groceries and other essential items that cannot wait until my arrival home on the weekends. I believe students at Stout that live much farther away would use these locations much more than me.

Because I have lived thirty-minutes away from Menomonie my whole life, being the Durand High School graduate that I am, I don’t see much difference to what I’m used to seeing in these organizations. This is what I’m used to seeing. I may look at them a little differently now that I have seen the behind-the-scenes process of one organization (Goodwill) and heard a new-outlook for the other (Wal-Mart).  Overall this was a very positive experience for me.

Cassandra F.

The community of Menomonie holds many businesses and sites that all somehow give back to the community. I visited Wal-Mart and Goodwill and found out that both of these businesses provide many opportunities for the community. Both places provide services for the community that makes Menomonie a great place to live.

Wal-Mart seems to try hard to accommodate the needs of the people in Menomonie. Wal-Mart provides items that are used often in the community with much easier access than some other places. Wal-Mart also use produce from local farmers who are certified by Wal-Mart to provide local items to community members and help keep consumer money in the community. They also provide sheets at the ends of the aisles to help customers find the items they need without having to search all over the store. This is especially helpful to college students like me who have never have used the Menomonie Wal-Mart.

Goodwill also contributes a great deal to the city of Menomonie. Goodwill provides a place for the people of Menomonie to drop off their new or used household items that they no longer need or want. This service helps the community by the fact that all these unwanted items do not end up in the local landfill which makes the quality of living here in Menomonie better. They then take these items and sell them at a discounted price to the community. This service helps people on a small budget get the things that they need without the fear of spending too much.

The city of Menomonie has many businesses and organizations that make the city a much better place to be. The services these two businesses we visited help make the community better and more united. Without these places, the city would be much different.

Morgan E.

Wal-Mart was the first place my group went for City as Text. There were only a few differences compared to my city’s Wal-Mart. One of which was that the entertainment/electronics area was much larger. Another was that there was a list that tells what isle an item is in, so you can find your products easier. Out of the things we learned, I think that Wal-Mart contributes to the community by being customer driven, by bringing in items customers want, and by selling produce grown by local farmers.

Goodwill was where we went next. Being as this was my first time in a Goodwill store, I can’t really say if anything is different than my city. However I can say that I can see myself going to Goodwill to find clothes or maybe a Halloween costume! Goodwill also contributes to the community by taking donations and sending things to places that need them

Brandi E.

Posted in 2013 City-as-Text | Leave a comment

Spiritual Menomonie

Spiritual Menomonie

Walking around town and visiting the different churches in town was a unique experience. Menomonie reminds me of my hometown of Marshall in the sense that there are a large variety of churches. Residents of Menomonie have a variety of churches and religions to choose from.

Many of the churches find ways to help the community. Most of the churches have ministries here at Stout. To be a little more specific, the Jesus Fellowship church has a coffee shop that has volunteer workers, and the proceeds from the shop go to church events. The church of the Nazarene gives clothes to people in need.

My personal favorite church was the St. Joseph Catholic Church. The main entrance had beautiful stained glass that told stories from the bible. The interior was designed to without an obstructed view of the Alter. All in all, the churches were beautiful.

-  Curtis L.

Menomonie is a beautiful small town in Wisconsin.  It’s full of nice locals, studying college kids and also some of the most gorgeous churches.  Every church has its own unique appeal from a coffee shop to lovely organs, but the most spectacular of the churches is St. Joseph. 

When you view St. Joseph from the outside it comes off as an odd shaped, very bland building.  However upon entry you truly come to understand the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  The interior of St. Joseph is stunning.  The inner windows run high with stained glass art work, the walls have paintings depicting the bible in chronological order and audience appealing seating.

The members come off as very friendly and open.  If ever in Menomonie and looking for a nice church with spectacular art I strongly suggest visiting St. Joseph.

- Alex M.

  Throughout Menomonie there are many different churches of multiple different denominations. My group visited a handful of these churches and from the ones we went to it obvious that they all contribute to the community through various methods. Whether it is providing shelter for the homeless, free meals and clothing for those in need, services throughout the week and fellowship within their congregations, the churches are able to reach out to the community to create relationships and give support. For example, the Nazarene Church we visited set up a system where members of their church and people around the area are able to donate clothing they no longer need for the church to then give away for free. The church has members waiting inside to greet those who come in and welcome them into their congregation.

I can see myself attending many of the churches I visited on the trip to not only further my religious views but to also get to know the people in the community. Because there are so many churches many of the people in Menomonie attend them. These churches are places for me to introduce myself to those around me and start gaining a sense of familiarity with Menomonie and its members.

Overall, Menomonie has a wonderful number of churches which provide people with an opportunity for building relationships and getting involved. The churches allow for community members to share similar experiences, become acquainted with something they maybe otherwise wouldn’t get involved in, and to discover something new.

-Megan M.

Menomonie seems like a nice place.  However, in my opinion, there are too many churches in comparison to the population.  Yet, for the first time in my life, I find myself appreciating this.  In addition, for most of the churches we visited, I found myself actually interested rather than cynical.  Mind you, I was still cynical about some projects, such as missions to other areas to “spread Jesus’ gospel.”  But there were other, for more helpful projects, such as clothes donation.  Another church had a (very) small garden, and some artwork made by a Stout student.  After seeing all this, I realize that many of these people actually care.  I may even attend a Sunday prayer just to see if it helps out in stressful times.  Either way, it was an eye-opening experience; one that will help me in years to come.

-Daniel M.

     I come from a town of about 2,000 people. Menomonie is larger than that. Still, I can see the similarities between the two towns. Even though Spencer has less than 2,000 people; we have five different churches. Each of them has a different denomination. That same diversity is reflected in Menomonie. Just within a few blocks we had the chance to explore a large number of churches. Some of them were traditional while others were more modern. The buildings that housed them also reflected this theme. Some of the buildings dated back to the 1800’s, while others were just a few decades old. Some had schools attached while one even had a coffee house. Some stood simply in the shadow of other’s stained glass windows that told stories from The Bible. There was such a wide variety in everything about them. Even though these churches had so many differences, they seemed to have one common thing tying them together. All the places we visited had their own ways of connecting with the community. Everything from food drives to helping rehabilitated convicts was being done. It goes to show that nothing is too small when it comes to helping people. Overall, the places we visited were very welcoming and excited to share with us the history and purpose of their churches with us.

-Abigail K.

Every church has something else to offer, just like every member in a community. Having many churches rather than a few creates a more welcoming and diverse atmosphere. People are able to feel like they have more of a choice when it comes to something as important as faith.

I haven’t gone to a church service in many years; however, I see myself possibly joining a church here in Menomonie. That would be a fantastic way to feel more at home and apart of this community as a whole.

In my hometown, St. Michael, MN, we have two churches. One Lutheran and one Catholic. My town’s background is primarily catholic. Our town is very welcoming an has a great sense of community. It may all be due to the fact that the town shares the same faith, but nevertheless, whether a town has only two churches, or over twenty-five, community is just that—community. In the end, the people make the town.

-Jessica L.

I was a part of the spiritual Menomonie group.  We explored churches in the area and found out about the history of the church if we could find someone to talk to. My partner and I visited four churches and only two were unlocked but in the first church (First Congressional United Church of Christ) we couldn’t find anyone to talk to.  We still looked around though and it was really beautiful and traditional.  Everything was original; it still had all its original windows and doors.  All the door knobs and hinges were metal with symbols and designs on them.  The second church we went to that was open was the Jesus Fellowship of the Believers.  We met a woman named Becky, and she has been involved in the fellowship for 16 years.  She told us about their ties in the community.  Their first pastor ran a local coffee shop/ bakery and eventually bought them the building.  It was too hard for him to run both the church and his shop so he moved it into the basement of the church.  Since they started their fellowship they built a church and a school in the Philippines, their congregation gives donations to help them pay for school.  They have a student organization that is a part of Stout, they hold discussions in the MSC.  Lastly, they help inmates and drug addicts. They help them deal with their addiction and give them free housing until they find a job, which they assist them in finding. Through my tour today I realized just how involved churches are in their community and how much they help people in need.

-Zoe L.

 Today I explored Spiritual Menomonie with my group for the City as a Text activity. Together we explored four churches: St. Joseph’s Parish- a catholic church, Our Savior Lutheran, St. Paul’s Lutheran, and Jesus’ Fellowship of Believers- a non-denominational church. These churches all contribute to Menomonie’s community by providing multiple worship services and various campus ministries. These church services and campus organizations often provide comfort to students who have left their home congregations, or are looking to join new ones. Jesus’ Fellowship of Believers puts on a program called Street Level Ministry. They also run a small coffee shop in the basement of their building, and have a radio station on channel 101.7. These churches’ congregations are made up of many long-time, multiple generation members, as well as many new comers (many of which are Stout students).

I plan to attend worship services at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church at 10:30 on Sundays, because I grew up going to a Wels Lutheran Church. I may also join one of the other Christian campus ministries.

There are many places around Menomonie that provide opportunities for students here to grow spiritually. There’s really something for everyone.

-Erin L.

My group visited several churches and religious groups as we walked around Menomonie. Many of the buildings were beautiful, both inside and out. From gorgeous stained glass to artwork created by Stout students, each building felt like a miniature gallery. However, what was truly beautiful was the effort the religious groups make to improve our community. For example, the Jesus Fellowship of Believers is an open community made of mostly students. They are involved both in and out of the Menomonie area. They do work to help inmates and drug addicts in Dunn County area, as well as building churches and a school in the Philippines. Overall, the religious communities contribute positively to the Menomonie area.

-Brenna L.

The churches that I visited while touring “Spiritual Menomonie” contribute to the community of Menomonie in a variety of ways. Each church had a unique way of reaching out to the community. The church members that I met were eager to invite new faces into, not only the church, but the outreach programs and activities as well.

The first church I visited was the First Church of the Nazarene. They provided an inclusive, small town feeling. The first Wednesday and Saturday of every month they have an organized shop in the church basement where they give away clothes. They have a variety of outfits that have all been donated and are completely free for anyone that wants to take them.

Next, I visited the St. Paul Lutheran Church. They offer Sunday School classes for the entire family. They also provide classes and services at different times of the day to provide for peoples differing schedules. They have a campus ministry at Stout and provide potlucks in the park.

The last church I went to was St. Joseph Catholic Church. They have a school across the street as well. On September 14and 15 they are hosting a Fall Festival as a part of their community outreach. The church offers free meals on Tuesday for anyone that wants to come. In the winter, they house the homeless in the church basement.

Each of these churches welcomed me without hesitation. They provide food, clothing, and shelter not only for those in need, but also for people that want to have fellowship with one another. While I attend Stout, I hope to participate in the various activities that these churches sponsor.

Being involved in “Spiritual Menomonie” will provide me with a chance to network with people and participate in the community itself. I want to help others by preparing food for potlucks, playing piano, and singing in the choir.  Church will also provide me with the chance to relax and take a break from the stress of school work.

-Maria L.

Along with numerous other churches in the Menomonie area, the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church is beneficial to the surrounding community.  Being a church, it provides a safe place for people of faith to gather with one another and support each other in their beliefs. However, it also reaches out into the community to help individuals of the surrounding area as well as those on the Stout campus with community ministries including such things as community puppet shows and a campus ministry.  St. Paul’s has been a part of the community since the 1870′s – though there have been a few more recent renovations to provide for the needs of the congregation and community.  Because it has been a part of the community for so long, it can be considered a stable part of the area and in turn creates a stable feeling that encompasses the Menomonie area in general.  By reaching out into the community and being a positive presence in peoples’ lives, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church helps people to see Menomonie as not just simply a place to live but rather a place that they can call “home.”

 -Danielle M.

Posted in 2013 City-as-Text | Leave a comment

Hoffman Hills

Hoffman Hills

When you get tired of the city or dorm life you should check out Hoffman Hills. These hills are great for sight-seeing, hiking, or just some fresh air. It’s a great natural getaway. There is a lot of beauty to take in from all the different sorts of plants and wildlife. There is a tower to climb where you can see a mixture of tall hills and wide plains. The Hoffman Hills are even a great to place to visit in the winter because it has many cross country skiing routes. Hoffman Hills is just one of the many locations that make Menomonie a great city.

- Layne B

A selection of UW-Stout honors students and I visited Hoffman Hills, in Menomonie, Wisconsin. Hoffman Hill’s offers a large amount of trails for everyone to explore and enjoy. This would make a great place for a weekend stroll with friends and family in the summertime, or cross country skiing when the thermometer drops. There is a vast array of vegetation and wildlife which makes you feel more connected to the natural world. A several story tower buried within the greenery offers a breathtaking view of the community.  I envision myself coming here with a group of friends to take in the scenery and distract ourselves from our busy lives. I must warn you, bring a nice pair of hiking shoes, because there are some steeps hills to climb. Back home in Markesan, an hour north of Madison, there are trails much like this, which friends and I liked to roam. It’s like a little slice of home away from home. In all, Hoffman Hill’s is a great place to visit, and if you find a free weekend, I suggest you give it a visit.

- Brice B

The trip to Hoffman Hills was a chance to disconnect from the noisy, city life, to learn about and appreciate the surroundings, and enjoy a genuine conversation.  Having Hoffman Hills in the Menomonie area allows people to enjoy nature all year round.  Whether it is hiking in the summer or cross-country skiing in the winter, the park is well kept and open for many one of a kind adventures.  Nature, at Hoffman Hills and other park areas, allow people to relax, listen to their surroundings, and to indulge in a peaceful, healthy moment in an otherwise busy and active life.  A community that can keep itself healthy and maintain its nature for the next generations is always a nicer place to live, and only adds to Menomonie’s charms.

-Grace B

Our trip to Hoffman Hills was breathtakingly beautiful; It a place of scenic views, all kinds of nature, and endless trails to hike. It reminded me of my home town a lot, because even though you really think of industry and agriculture within Menomonie, there are small places that offer beautiful views and attractions. My home town is the same way; within the town, there are schools and corporations, but when you take the time to explore, you can find the most amazing things. I think Menomonie is very fortunate to have places like Hoffman hills to create a sense of community. Hoffman Hills would be the perfect place to host fun events like Halloween hayrides, and picnics that could easily bring a small town together. I can definitely see myself going back to Hoffman Hills as a place to relax and relieve stress from a hard class or project and just hike trails, sit up in the tower, or even just sit on one of the many scenic benches. I’m glad I took the time to explore around Menomonie, and find places that add value to the town as a whole.

-Megan B

The walk through Hoffman Hills was absolutely beautiful. It reminded me a lot of my hometown, Winona. Winona consists of rolling hills, breathtaking views, and dense forests. The actual town of Menominee is rather flat, but Hoffman Hills had actual elevated landscapes. On the hike, it was really comforting to see forests and hills since Winona is known for its really pretty bluffs. I felt like I could’ve been on a hike on one of Winona’s many windy trails. We also went up to a tower that overlooks the entire area and in Winona we have a rock carved out of the bluff which overlooks all of Winona. I thought it was really cool that Hoffman Hills and Winona both have lookouts that enable one to view the surrounding scenery. I love hiking because it helps me to feel a sense of community with the surrounding nature and the people I hike with. I would love to use Hoffman Hills as a place to go to when I feel stressed from school because it allows me to be in the fresh air and feel free from the confines of schoolwork. I now know a beautiful hiking place that I can go to with my friends!

-Heidi B

For the City as Text Honors Activity I was a member of group one that went to Hoffman Hills. It was a very beautiful place and I really enjoyed the sights on the trails. It was a really beautiful place to go. The rest of my group and I agreed that it was a great place to go if you want a place to relax and go to see nature. I really enjoyed climbing the Tower and seeing the skyline view of the rest of the nature park. The other place that we went to was a pond that was nearby in the wetland area of Hoffman Hills. Hoffman Hills is a place that creates a sense of community by the bonding between the people that you go there with. Hoffman Hills is a great place to go with friends if you want to go hiking together. It’s a great place to go to relax and get away from the city and out of the dorms. Hoffman Hills is very peaceful and I would recommend the Hills to anyone in Menomonie.

Like I said before, I thought that Hoffman Hills is a great place to go with a group of friends. It would be a fun place to go at night and see the stars from the Greg Schubert Memorial Tower.  The pond that we saw would also be a great place to see the stars from too. I grew up in Albert Lea Minnesota and we have an outdoor trail called Helmer Myrie park that is very similar to Hoffman Hills. I like going there and now that I know about Hoffman Hills I would love to go there as much as possible. Overall, I enjoyed the experience of the City as Text activity; I took some beautiful pictures from both the tower and the pond.

-Megan B

Hoffman Hills is a breathtakingly beautiful component of the city of Menominee. It is a great place for community members to hike and a great place for groups to meet for activities to contribute to a sense of community. The area provides a great opportunity for all and is a way to remember past Menominee.

This is the perfect area for Stout students to utilize in their free time. It can be used as a learning experience or change in scene for an exercise routine. Hoffman Hills is a great escape for students who need a wilderness getaway or just a peaceful area to relax. I hope I get to use this area a lot during my time at Stout. In comparison to my hometown of Hortonville, WI, Hoffman Hills is a beautiful park area that offers great resources for the surrounding community. In my town, the parks are small and their impact is minimized by the towering buildings. Hoffman Hills is an excellent example of how parks can affect the landscape of the community. Parks like Hoffman Hills should be in every community, but unfortunately most cities don’t have to space to put in such a large and effective area. I’m glad my town has a few parks to call its own, but seeing Hoffman Hills has shown me what my town is missing.

Hoffman Hills was a great experience and I’m so glad I got to share it with fellow honors students. I hope that I can share the peaceful place we discovered with other students and offer an escape from the hectic and loud dorms and campus life. Hoffman Hills was a peaceful escape and a perfect way to start discovering all Menomonie has to offer.

-Amanda B

I think the Hoffman Hills definitely gives the Menomonie area a sense of community. The trails and scenery we saw was very unique and can bring people together because it is something the community can appreciate. I would use Hoffman Hills as a place to get away from everything. It would be great place to get away from all the craziness of living in the city. I would go there to find some peace and relaxation. It is similar to where I grew up in the sense that there are also “getaway” places in nature you can go to relax. Although the two places are similar in many fashions, there are still differences between them so that I can still appreciate each of them for their own unique qualities. I recommend Hoffman Hills to everybody as a place to find some peace.

-Shawn A

Today my group and I went on a trip to Hoffman hills. I really enjoyed the trails and scenic views that this park offers.  I can easily see myself going back to relax from a long week at school, get to know someone better or just reflect on my life. My hometown has a several similar protected areas around a local lake. This great place helps to keep our community better connected to nature as well as providing a retreat from the townscape.

-Robert B

My group hiked through Hoffman hills, visited together, took pictures, and admired scenery. Nature areas like Hoffman Hills remind me of home and having areas you can go to with friends and loved ones as a getaway from the city. A way to get back to nature and enjoy time in the fresh air getting to know your friends, family, and community. It is also a good escape to go alone and get to know yourself better. I appreciate the simplicity of escaping the city and also the incredible detail in the nature that surrounds us.

-Emily B

Posted in 2013 City-as-Text | Leave a comment

Community Garden

Community Garden

The community garden contributes to the community by giving the citizens of Menomonie and students of Stout the opportunity to come together and strive for a common goal, gardening. We spoke with our leader, Jessi Goodell, who also owns a plot at the garden. She says that the people are really nice to the extent where they even share their plants. For students who would just like to see the garden, it offers a variety of plants such as produce, and flowers. While in Menomonie I envision using the garden for my hobby of photography. The garden is used by many people as it offers a wide range of different flowers in one place that I would be able to photograph.

I enjoyed seeing the garden. Even though my hometown offered a community garden, it was mostly dedicated for people in town. Because I lived closer to the rural part of town, it was not directly accessible to me. At one point I was able to visit these gardens and see for myself what they offered. It had the same photographic qualities to it as the one in Menomonie.

-Brenna P.

We started off this glorious expedition by getting on the bus to explore an unknown area consisting of bees and plants.  It was the community garden.  When we got there, it wasn’t what I hoped it would be.  Instead of being a vast area of luscious green growth, it was closer to a desolate wasteland.  It was hot and dry.  The dirt itself felt scorching and sand-like.  Despite all the negativity, I saw the potential of the place.  It is a truly amazing idea.  In my hometown almost everybody has the land to start a small garden, but that is not the case in Menominee.  I took it for granted that everyone can start a garden.  I sincerely hope that the community garden gets the attention that it needs to grow and flourish.  Even though I will probably not use it, everybody else that will deserves at least the opportunity to.

-Tyler P.

We visited the Community Garden, Wilson Park, and Phelan Park. The Community Garden and the Park help to establish a sense of community though giving the people of Menomonie and Stout a place to work and play together. I could see myself using the community parks as a place to relax and using the parks as an area to attend events or play games with all of my new friends here at Stout when we want to get out of the dorms.  These areas also provide a place for me to meet and interact with the people of Menomonie in a way in which I never would be able to at a gas station or a store.  In my hometown we also have parks so it is nice to see that Menomonie is building its sense of community through them and even has a community garden to further that growth.

-Tommy P.

The day mainly consisted of observing the various floras that had been planted by the nearby population in the community garden. This also involved learning about the process of obtaining a plot on location. How this garden becomes a source of community enhancement, this appears to be most profound through the interaction of gardeners who choose to rent a plot. Such interactions may include the sharing of tips as to the most efficient gardening method, the possible sharing of weather related information, or just the simple discussion sprouted from similar interests. However I have no interest in gardening myself, I am interested in the parks of Menomonie. Particularly the park located nearest Stout, as I would enjoy watching performances shown within the stage located in the park. The park locations do remind me of the park in my hometown of Clintonville, Olen Park specifically. Olen Park in particular has always been the major source of festivities for such town. These festivities include our major Fireman’s Festival as well as the base of operations for the people that launch fireworks for our Independence Day display.

-Austin P.

The garden creates a sense of community because it serves as a gathering place for people within the community to get together and get to know each other.  It helps people come together through a common interest they all share.  In this garden the community works together to achieve a common goal.  I could see myself buying a crop here because it will bring me closer to the Menomonie community while I’m here at Stout.  This area is very different from where I grew up because this is such a smaller town where everybody knows everyone else.  In my community I can walk down the street a million times and still see people I’ve never seen before.  This was a very different experience for me, coming from a big city and now trying to adapt to a smaller one.

-Courtney P.

We visited Menomonie Community Garden, Wilson Park, and Phelan Park today. These places contribute to creating a sense of community by allowing citizens to have a common goal and a place for everyone to come together and have fun. I envision using these areas by maybe planting vegetation in the Community Garden to get my mind off of things or going to the parks with my friends to relax. These areas are similar to the town where I grow up with because we have a lot of farmlands which is similar to the garden.

-Khai (Connor) P.

For our adventure in City as Text, our group explored the Menomonie Community Garden, Wilson, and Phelan Park. Though each area was well within reach of both the Menomonie community and the campus, they all felt quiet and peaceful enough to enjoy lazy Sunday afternoons or study and learn.

As mentioned above, all these places are in fairly close proximity to the community, allowing members easy access to the benefits of each park and garden. In the Community Garden, plots are purchased by community members for the span of a year. Members begin their own garden within their designated plot, and can share their yields with others, talk about plant and garden management with those who also own plots, and enjoy the variety in the scenery brought by each individual plant and crop.

Though I do not see myself using the Community Garden for the foreseeable future, the parks are great places to hang with friends, enjoy the peace and serenity, or study for the exam tomorrow. In my hometown of Fox River Grove, IL, we have a few parks, similar to what Menomonie has to offer; we do not have a community garden, however.  My town is also much busier than Menomonie, as a major highway runs right through downtown. It is much quitter here, and I prefer it that way.

-Matthew P.

The Menomonie Community Garden contributes to the community by providing an area where people are able to work together to achieve a common goal. The garden also is a common ground in which different people can all relate to through their interest in gardening. I envision myself using this garden in my UW-Stout experience through volunteer service. I plan to partake in various volunteer organizations that I hope will include using the garden. I may even learn some gardening tips from my grandmother and buy a plot myself.  The community garden gives me a sense of home because I grew up in an area that was surrounded by farms. My family has had a garden every year. This garden proves to me that there are some rural aspects, similar to those from home, in this urban area.

-Rachel P.

Being in group nine allowed me to see a new part of Menomonie: The Community Garden.  The Community Garden was located in a small patch of land where anyone could grow whatever was possible with the soil and there was also a beekeeping stand.  The garden represents a community because it is a shared space between citizens of Menomonie that come together to achieve a common goal: to grow different food and flowers.  As a community space, it needs to be taken care of.  As an honors student at Stout, I plan on using the community garden for service opportunities.  I also plan on learning more about the citizens and different cultures that maybe present in the garden.  Unlike my own town, Wausau Wisconsin does not have a community garden (that I know of); meaning that there is not unity between different people with one goal.

-Ashley P.

Our group went to the community garden, and also Wilson and Phelan Parks. It was nice getting to see the area while at the same time getting to know some other people in honors. At the community garden I thought it was really neat to see that people are given the chance to grow food because healthy food is very important to me. I also enjoyed seeing people hanging out at the parks and being out in the community here in Menomonie.

I think the community garden brings a sense of community because it allows people to meet others who are interested in gardening. It also gives people the chance to help others out with their gardening. I think I will definitely spend some time there because I think it would be cool to meet the people with plots there. This is different from where I grew up because there is no community garden in my hometown being that I lived in a suburb of a busy city. The small town community feel is very present here and different from where I come from but it is a nice change.

-Caiti P.

The Menomonie Community Garden contributes to creating a sense of community in the Menomonie area by allowing the citizens and neighbors to share a common passion for gardening. By having a community garden, the people who owned plots had a shared goal of tending a successful garden which could start new friendships and relationships! It makes me sad that some kids vandalize the garden from time to time because that could weaken the community. I envision myself using the garden in a few different ways. I can see myself going there just to relax and admire the vegetation and plant life. The garden had a calming sense to it which could be helpful after a stressful week! I wish my hometown had a community garden. I think it is important to have a common goal/project for a town that can connect other neighbors while creating joy! My town has many gardens and parks, but none that the community can contribute to. Although everyone enjoys the beautiful places they can come and visit, it does not exemplify the feeling of teamwork and community. In conclusion, having a community garden is an awesome idea and is very instrumental in creating a sense of community.

-Katie Q.

Our trip to the community garden was fantastic. One of the great things about the garden is that it brings people from every walk of life together with a common interest of agriculture. The garden is a compilation of several small plots of land that people can rent for a year at a time. Each plot is uniquely different. Some plots are overflowing with ripe produce, while others boast a variety of colorful flowers. Some plots are a beautiful combination of both! However, the placement of the garden is unfortunate. While it is close to the city as well as the UW Stout campus, the land is very sandy and rocky and the sunlight is unrelenting. Because of this, some of the less-attended to plots are suffering. The people who own these plots may not have enough time to go the garden and tend to it frequently, so their plots are a little water-deprived and weedy.

I would like to maybe in the future help out with general maintenance at the garden, like watering and weeding certain plots if the owners would be alright with it. Something else interesting about the garden is that there are beehives there. The great number of bees help pollinate the plants and they also help create honey. It is a very interesting and beneficial system. One of our leaders, Claire Quade, was explaining to us a project her biology class worked on for the garden. Her class took soil samples from an area near the garden and came up with a system where they would plant certain vegetation that would attract helpful insects and discourage harmful ones. This may not be exactly right but I think that was the general idea of the project. Anyways, visiting the Community Garden was definitely worth it!

-Grace R.

Posted in 2013 City-as-Text | Leave a comment

Red Cedar Trail

Red Cedar Trail

My experience today with the Red Cedar Trail has been opened with a lot of different questions that may take some time to get answer, but in the midst of it all it was a great place with a lot of history to it. The actual trail would be a great place for exercise and bike rides during the year, there’s a lot that can be done with this area when it comes to huge gatherings or special events that the town may hold. One of the questions was in comparison to the city or town where you grew up, what is the different or similar about the area? For me growing up in Milwaukee which is a big city, I never had been around a lake that was polluted. Lake Michigan isn’t the cleanest lake in the world but it’s also not harmful to us when we go for a swim or just even stick our feet in it. I have never be to a place where the lake has been dangerous to people and animals, so that would be the biggest difference between here in Menomonie and Milwaukee.

-Javante W-H.

The Red Cedar Trail provides a place for people to gather with friends and family, as well as promoting healthy living in the area. The trail can be utilized for a variety of different activities throughout all four season here in Wisconsin. As a student at UW-Stout, I could see the trail and surrounding park as a good place to go with friends to play games, talk and do other outdoor activities. Where I am from, there aren’t many places like the Red Cedar Trail, so this was a different experience for me overall. The scenery was beautiful in comparison to the city and offers a temporary escape from the rush and stress of life.

-Carley W.

The Red Cedar Trail creates a sense of community in the Menomonie area by giving people in the community a place to get together. It can be used to hold picnics or a place to exercise. It can also be used to view the scenery or take photos because it is a beautiful place. While I’m at Stout I will use the Red Cedar Trail as a place to relax as well as an area to exercise. I enjoy running outdoors and the trail is a perfect area for that. I grew up in Grand Marais, MN which is full of trees and lakes. I’m used to seeing them everywhere I go. Therefore, the Red Cedar Trail reminds me a lot of home. It is a little different than the trails at home though. At home the trails aren’t paved and run through the woods. They are very rough. Overall, the Red Cedar Trail was a very beautiful place and I’m glad I got the chance to see it.

-Katie V.H.

The Red Cedar Trail is a gorgeous, secluded park where the people of Menomonie can retreat to for both solace and the chance to reconnect with nature. The park itself is a great area to gather as a family or community to spend time relaxing or mingling with one another. The Red Cedar Trail, which winds through the park and throughout other parts of Menomonie, offers the community a great way to both exercise and enjoy the day. People can walk, run, and bike down the trail in the spring, summer, and fall, then during the winter, they can snowshoe or cross country ski. If anything, the trail offers a scenic way to stay active and healthy.

Personally, I believe I will take advantage of the Red Cedar Trail year round. As an avid biker, the trail provides me a safe way to work out in the mornings. In the winter, the trail will be perfect to cross country ski, something I greatly enjoy. I also hope to return with friends to just enjoy the peaceful feeling of the area. I believe it would be a great spot for picnics!

At my hometown of Darboy, WI, we have a similar area called High Cliff State Park. Like Red Cedar Trail, it is a great place for the community to exercise and reconnect with nature or the community. Both Red Cedar Trail and High Cliff are great resources to take advantage of; to stay healthy and to stay grounded in a rushed society.

-Megan V.

The Red Cedar Trail is one of Menomonie’s many great natural resources. It provides an outlet for the entire community to enjoy nature while only travelling a short distance from Broadway. The park located at the trail head serves as a meeting place and informational hub. Any hiker, biker, or cross country skier can find sufficient information on the trail at the repurposed train station which is now the visitor center. This access to a common experience helps to give the area a unique modern culture and identity.

As a member of the community, I know that I can personally take advantage of the trail by going on long runs before it becomes too cold to do so. Because it formerly housed a railroad, the Red Cedar Trail provides easy terrain that stretches all the way between Menomonie and Eau Claire while passing by multiple smaller communities as well. In my hometown of Poynette, Wisconsin, the only nature trail within walking distance of downtown is a short out-and-back trail that can be completed in less than an hour. It also has very hilly and difficult terrain including sand and warped footbridges. The Red Cedar Trail is certainly a part of Menomonie that should be well used and preserved.

-Jake W.

The Red Cedar Trail is an important piece of Menomonie because it provides a sense of community. It does this by being a place where people can come together to exercise, eat, and engage in various other activities that have the power to bring people together. Also, it encourages a healthy lifestyle by providing a safe environment surrounded by the beauty of nature. Since I am form an area where there are not many nature trails it was very different for me to be submerged in a pure nature scene filled with various bugs and musky smells. Being from a big city this experience was new to me; therefore, it was a bit challenging to get accustomed to, but that’s what new experiences are all about. This trip was personally rewarding because I was able to open up to and accept something I was not used to, and that is a lesson that can be applied into all aspects of my life. It is especially important currently to be open to new people and ideas here at college in order to get the most out of it.

-Shelby W.

Red Cedar Trail contributes a sense of community to Menomonie by having a park area and nature reserve at which community events can be held (e.g. picnics, weddings, family gatherings).

I would use Red Cedar Trail as a place for recreation such as bike riding or taking a walk.

In my hometown of DeForest, we have a bike trail leading across the town. This trail is much smaller than Red Cedar, but also has a park and functions as a nature reserve. Red Cedar also has a river flowing through it, and the quality of its water has attracted much attention due to its high level of phosphorus. In my hometown, the small creek that runs through town and next to the trail does not have this problem, however, the town holds an event to clean up the river and its surroundings, suggesting an issue with litter.

-Jake W.

During my city as text experience I visited the Red Cedar Trail. This trail contributes to a sense of community in Menomonie because of the many opportunities for different group activities. Hiking, camping and the park area can all be enjoyed by groups to spend more time with other Menomonie residents. The trail is also an area that residents of Dunn County can be proud of because of its beauty. Throughout my time at UW-Stout I could use the Red Cedar Trail as an area to relax, exercise, read, or have fun with a group of friends. Cross country skiing on the trails would also be a new experience that I could try in the winter.

My experience in Menomonie has shown me that it is quite a different experience than I would have at home. Coming from Milwaukee, the opportunities to enjoy nature are rarer but can be found. Although the trail is different than my time in the city, the experience reminded me of the summers I spend in northern Wisconsin surrounded by nature. My times in both a large city and in the woods of Wisconsin have helped me to appreciate the beauty and opportunity in both locations.

- Nora W.

For my city as text location of Red Cedar Trail, we explored the walking trails as well as the sitting areas and a small park. The Red Cedar Trail contributes to the sense of community in Menomonie as a way for people to exercise and enjoy its natural beauty. Whether it is running, biking, walking, or even some winter activities like cross country skiing, The Red Cedar Trail offers many physical activities to engage the community of Menomonie. Personally, I will use this trail primarily for running since I am an avid runner.

In comparison to my hometown in Illinois, there are many similarities. This surprised me considering how far I am away from Menomonie. There are two trails near my home that are very similar to the Red Cedar Trail. One is the Stonebridge Trail, which was originally a railroad bed then turned into a 20 mi long path for running and biking. The other is Rock Cut State Park which has multiple hiking and running trails and a lake used for activities such as fishing and kayaking. The Red Cedar trail is very similar to those two locations from where I live, and I definitely will be going there many times.

-Sarah W.

The Red Cedar Trail is a beautiful and serene place to go anytime of the year; its uses are endless. In the spring and summer months it is a great place to go biking, walking, and picnicking with friends and classmates. The beautiful trees and quiet atmosphere make it an ideal place to study off campus during this time of year. In the winter, the Red Cedar Trail is perfect for cross-country skiing or just winter-weather sightseeing.

I think the trail can add a great sense of community to the town of Menomonie if used as a group outing location. It would be a fantastic place for a group study session, or even a board game competition. The group possibilities are endless at the Red Cedar Trail.

In my hometown of Mount Vernon, Iowa, there is a similar park to the Red Cedar Trail of Menomonie. Palisades Park is about five miles out of town and is more based around hiking and walking rather than biking, but the abundance of picnic tables is comparable. Palisades also sits on the ledge or a river like the lake by the Red Cedar Trial.

-Katelyn W.

The red cedar trail is clearly one of the most beautiful places in Menomonie. While I was there I witnessed a variety of insects, plants, flowers and trees. I also got to see a glimpse of how citizens were using the trail. There were lots of bikers and walkers getting their daily exercise. People were socializing over the grill or fishing in the river. There was even a wedding party using the scenery as a backdrop for their photos. It was clear that the community of Menomonie has found many different purposes for this area based on individual interest.

I also imagined myself using the trail for exercise in all seasons of the year. Running in the fall, skiing in the winter, Frisbee in the spring and summer. While I was walking down the trail I also thought it might be a nice place to just get away from campus and clear my mind before or after a stressful day or test.  This break from the routine is what I used the trail for in my home town of Owatonna. The trail system there was relatively the same with bridges and trees. Both trails had the same calming feeling even though the areas were in two different states. Overall I believe Menomonie has a place to be proud of in the Red Cedar Trail.

-Spencer V.

The Red Cedar Trail is a great thing for the Menomonie Community.  It has paths and wide open spaces that could be used for many different activities.  You could go with a group of friends and run or bike or just walk on the trails.  Likewise, you could get a group together and have a picnic or some other sort of gathering.  It is also a very beautiful area.  You could go there alone to get away from everything for a while.  I see myself using the Red Cedar Trail for many of these purposes.  I enjoy exercising and being in nature, so I will probably end up running or biking out there at some point this year.  I may also try cross country skiing.  If I get into photography and get a nice camera, I will definitely head out there to take some pictures.  In comparison to my hometown, Menomonie is very similar, except bigger.  My hometown has parks with trails that aren’t nearly as big.  The trails we have there are only about a mile long at most and either gravel or dirt.  There are also less bodies of water there.  Overall, I enjoyed the visit to the Red Cedar Trail and I will definitely go back.

-Nik Z.

Posted in 2013 City-as-Text | Leave a comment

Wakanda Park

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Maria G

Upon arriving at the Dunn County Heritage Museum I realized my expectations were set too high. I pictured a big brick building composed of crisp, clean edges and lines with its knowledge and history waiting to be discovered. Instead our big yellow school bus, filled with hot and complaining freshmen, rolled up to a green shed that emanated something besides knowledge. I went to elementary school. I know and am fully aware that we are “not to judge books by their covers,” but I was judging. My heart sank and was immediately aware that my experience at the Dunn County Heritage Museum would be less than satisfying.

Yet something happened as I stepped through the front doors. Emotion, history, and community rushed over me and filled me with a sense of home. It felt as though Menomonie’s, and furthermore Dunn County’s, history flooded the space with light and passion. Although this could have been coming from the museum’s curator, Frank Kennet, who enlightened us with Menomonie’s past by showing us the museum and giving us a tour that would ultimately affirm what elementary teachers everywhere are trying to ingrain in adolescent minds. The tour was inspiring. The history was profound. The exhibits were versatile. The artifacts were raw. The space was inviting. The experience was unforgettable.

I gained a lot from visiting Wakanda Park. From geeks to foot x-ray machines to bank robberies to hand-pump vacuum cleaners I learned the importance of knowing your history and appreciating your heritage. However the greatest lesson that Dunn County Heritage Museum provided me is never judge a book by its cover… or you might miss out on a great steamboat.

Jacqueline G.

Visiting the Dunn County Historical Society Museum and the Indian mounds in Wakanda Park was a rewarding and educational experience. We were able to look back in time and learn the history of Menomonie, what industries shaped the town, and the famous events that took place. Wakanda Park contributes in creating a sense of community by providing the knowledge of Menomonie’s history. Knowing its history is important in order to understand the current state of Menomonie and the future. The industries of logging and brick work formed the basis of the economy in Menomonie and contributed to the growth of the town. Glancing down Main Street in downtown Menomonie, I now know that many of the buildings still standing today were made with the red clay bricks made in the town brick factory a hundred years ago. Now that I know more about Menomonie history, I’m looking forward to bringing my family and friends to Wakanda Park to share the rich history. Different to my hometown of St. Michael, Minnesota, St. Michael unfortunately does not have a museum where we can be provided with the information pertaining to the history of our town. I am glad to now be a part of the close knit community of Menomonie.

Hanna G.

For Honors Orientation, I was assigned to group four, which visited the Russel J. Rassbach Heritage Museum and Wakanda Park. Initially, I was expecting a tedious tour of some not-so-exciting places in Menomonie; however, I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived at our destination.

The Russel J. Rassbach Heritage Museum is quite similar to the museum in my hometown (Eau Claire, WI), in the way that it presents itself: Plain on the outside, amazing history and artifacts within. When I stepped off the school bus, I took one look at the building and thought, Oh no. One of these dinky local museums that have nothing to show for. This is going to be a long afternoon. However, as soon as I walked inside with my group, I knew I was in for a treat.

The museum is lovely, presenting itself in a home-y, cozy manner when you walk in. As you make your way through the museum, you can see all sorts of things one wouldn’t expect to see in a small-town museum. I was really impressed with the collection! There were many artifacts that caught my attention, including but not limited to: a highly radioactive shoe x-ray machine, a Civil War POW’s mess hall plate, a book about swordplay, a collection of antique cars, displays of what a Victorian home might look like and much more.

Usually, when listening to a speaker, my mind starts to wander off from the lecture. This was not the case when I listened to our group guide/historian, Dr. Kennett. He really knew his stuff on the history of Menomonie, and about each of the museum’s artifacts. He provided us with a history lesson of how the town came to be, and while hearing about Menomonie’s logging, brick-making, and plastics past might sound fairly boring, Dr. Kennett made it quite interesting by including interesting and/or little known fun facts about the city. For instance, he told us about a bank shootout back in the day that involved some high profile criminals from the cities. He said that not long after, the bank was closed and bulldozed, and people started finding remnants from the crime scene, including bullets and pistols. Dr. Kennett also noted that the bank stood where the parking lot for the local Burger King is today (I found it quite sad that the city chose not to preserve a building with so much history).

After the museum, Dr. Kennett took our group outside and led us to Wakanda Park to see some rare Indian burial mounds. We walked all the way across the beautiful park to the secluded area where the mounds were. In all honesty, the mounds weren’t much to look at, being two miniature hills next to each other, one with a commemorative stone on the top. What WAS intriguing however is the mystery behind them, as Dr. Kennett said he nor any of the other local historian know which group of Indians created them, but he estimates that the mounds are approximately 800 years old! I was blown away by that fact, as land is always changing and one wouldn’t expect a pile of dirt to last that long!

After visiting the mounds, Dr. Kennett had our group pose for a picture with them, and then we headed back to the museum to catch the bus. I left the museum and park feeling full of knowledge. While I thought I knew a lot about Menomonie since I live relatively close to the city, nearly everything Dr. Kennett talked about was new to me! And all of the information was fascinating! Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the museum, and there were several artifacts I didn’t have the opportunity to observe, so needless to say, I’ll be visiting again soon!

Emmitt F.

Today we visited the Dunn County Heritage Museum at Wakanda Park. The museum has two sections, however one is still under work. This area contributes to the community by giving the residence a place to learn about local history. in one of the rooms at this museum, visitors can learn about the Menomonie bank robbery which is a famous event in the city’s history. I may use this museum and park for relaxing and learning about the local history.  Within the museum, many artifacts can be found, ranging from vintage cars, to civil war pieces. Rare artifacts, such as feathers from the Eagle, Old Abe, can be found on display. I found these very interesting. I also thought the steam boat and hand pump vacuum cleaner were neat. A short walk from the museum across Wakanda, 2 Indian burial mounds can be found. The area is scenic and the mounds are interesting to observe. Overall this is a nice place that would be fun to visit and I would recommend to a friend.

Nick G.

The Dunn County Historical Museum gives a great view into Menomonie’s past.  The Indian artifacts, Kraft State Bank Robbery (which apparently everyone in town was involved in), old-style (but still running!) cars, and various past occupational exhibits that the award winning museum displays do a great job of giving insight to the cultures that have lived here.

Wakanda Park is a great place for the community to get together. Among its features are a Frisbee golf course, eating areas, beautiful trees, baseball and softball diamonds, and a waterpark (because the lake is too green). The thing I like most about the area is that it reminds me of Plamann Park, which was basically an extension of my backyard. The mounds, though small compared to others I’ve visited, serve as a legacy of a past culture.

Noah F.

The Dunn County Historical Society was truly something all UW Stout students should get a chance to visit. Not only does the museum give interesting information about the beginnings and origins of Menomonie and UW Stout, but it provides a more detailed look into the lifestyle of the previous generations. For example, I believe the shoe store X-ray had the best story tied to it. Kids would come to the shoe store to use this device to see how well a shoe fitted by locating the bones in their foot. Each session would deal a quarter of the radiation needed to cause illness. Although this is not the ideal memory to bring back to the present, it certainly is worth bringing up. Just because we do things we regret does not mean we should forget them; we still need to learn from them. This is why museums exist: to remember the past and learn how to act. Radiation was not a problem in the past because of the lack of information. We learned from it and understood our mistakes. That’s why I think the Dunn County Historical Museum is important: it shows the minor mistakes history has made and shows how far we have come.

Tyler F.

I learned that Menomonie is full of history that is just waiting to be discovered. Part of this history (and most noteworthy) is the wealthy houses located within the city and the business’s they owned through the course of history. Some of these businesses include sawmills, brick making and cigar plants. These big business’s provided people with jobs and also some of the more notable buildings around Menomonie. It’s vast history is like my hometown, Superior. Superior is home of the largest freshwater port in the world and has always been a big shipping port. However it has battled with the nearby city of Duluth Minnesota for business in ship travel, train railway usage and flow of materials through the port. This is quite like Menomonie, (Menomonie is the farthest you can reach from the Gulf of Mexico from a small ship) and the results are the same. Superior (and Duluth) has had lots of jobs and historic buildings in the city’s history. Making known this history is the Dunn County Historical Center, located in Menomonie Wisconsin. This award winning museum has everything from 5,000 year old copper spearheads, civil war artifacts, 1940’s automobiles and inventions from people in the Menomonie area. As I come to the Menomonie area, I can appreciate this history and be reminded of it as I see the history in the buildings around me. And when my family comes or when I’m hanging out with friends outside of campus, I have another conversation starter just about anywhere I go.

Blake G.

The Dunn County Heritage Museum helps retain many pieces of Menomonie’s vast history. Due to floods, fires and other disasters some things are lost or later destroyed. The Heritage Museum creates a community by having a large amount of artifacts that are in rotation to draw people who may be visiting Menomonie. A class reunion photo section is in circulation for when the people of a certain class regroup. The disastrous flooding that destroyed many historical bridges in Dunn County is featured as well, containing information on new bridge designs and pieces of the older bridges.  Menomonie’s most exciting event, the Kraft Bank Robbery, is also featured in which most of the citizens of Menomonie were a witness. The Mounds at Wakanda Park preserve some of the Native American history; the dam once overflowed and destroyed seven other mounds. The park is also a great place to play disc golf and feature gatherings generating a communal vibe. These two areas can create nostalgia but produce a sense of community in Menomonie.

Erich G.

I believe that the Dunn County Museum is what contributes to society the most in the Wakanda Park area, and it contributes through its history and culture. The Kraft bank robbery exhibit is a key example of how at one point the community was strong. After the robbery and murder of several civilians, the people of Menomonie grew stronger and became more wholesome, determined to prevent another disaster. The museum also shows how even with all the change in technology over the years, the people still retained their cultural heritage.

The area around Menomonie is completely different from my hometown. The fact that it is basically a small city is mostly what sets the two places apart. The Menomonie area we visited though was a more quiet and peaceful area, filled with trees and a playground area. The lake was fairly large, similar in size to the lake near my home, but it didn’t seem to attract many people (most likely because of the time of year). Usually, many people gather at the beach and play volleyball or swim. Another difference was the lake seemed to be separated from any sort of other attractions, while my lake has a few restaurants nearby and hosts festivals. All in all, the general area has a few similarities, but is mainly different from my home.

Kinsie F.

The honors orientation presentation yesterday was very helpful and informational. I learned a lot about the Menomonie area and the history behind the city. I also really enjoyed our tour to the Wakanda park mounds and Heritage Museum. The mounds were in the back of the park so we had a beautiful hike through the park and around the lake. It was very hot ,but it was really pretty. We also went to the Heritage Museum where are leader was the curator. He gave us a tour of the museum and even demonstrated an olden time vacuum cleaner. Overall, the tour was really fun and I learned a lot about the city I plan to spend the next four years in.

Grace G.

I have always enjoyed history and so it was exciting to explore the Dunn County Historical Society Museum.  I had no idea of the area’s history and didn’t realize there are reasons for a lot of Menomonie’s quirks.  Every building on campus is brick, which I found irritating and confusing before.  I like brick, but being in a new place where three fourths of the buildings look identical is frustrating.  I learned from the presentation and museum trip, however, that Menomonie has excellent clay for brick making, so brick was a practical building material.  I also had no idea where UW Stout got its name, which sounds silly, but almost none of my classmates did either and to be honest, I’m not sure anyone even wondered.  I learned on City as Test that it’s named after one of the lumber giants.  I think people pick UW Stout for financial and academic reasons and don’t look into its rich history or the perks of its town.  I enjoyed looking beyond the mundane and into history and culture I previously didn’t know about.  It gave me a sense of completion and comfort in a way, and showed me that my life could have more in it than school.

Posted in 2013 City-as-Text | Leave a comment

Downtown Menomonie

City as Text- Downtown MenomonieThe shops that we visited in downtown Menomonie created a sense of community because of the way everyone seemed to know everyone. You could tell just by talking to the shop owners that this is a very close knit community, and this was emphasized by the fact that most of the shops sold items made by smaller, local businesses. This created a sense of community because it seems like the local businesses look out for and support each other, and help each other thrive. I come from the Twin Cities, which is larger and more fast-paced, and so I have never experienced that sense of small town closeness, and the businesses do not look out for each other in the same way. Menomonie is the kind of place where you can pass someone on the street or walk into a shop and say hello, whether you know the person or not. Coming from a larger city, I am not used to this atmosphere, and I found it very refreshing. Menomonie is a place where you feel welcome, and it is a place where you feel safe. This is new for me, and I look forward to spending the next four years in this town, and experiencing this sense of community.

~Abby H.

                I have always been fond of the concept of “downtown.” There is something oddly exhilarating about the idea of unique, driven people setting up various shops which range from the ordinary to the unique in terms of products and services provided. Downtown Menomonie is no exception. This area contains literally a little of the old, and a little of the new. You see antique  shops, buying and selling forgotten and discarded treasures, right across the street from a local store that shuffles through a different kind of commodity; baseball cards. An organic grocery store stands a block away from a small bar & grill. Contradiction can cause conflict, but not here. No, these businesses thrive only because of the contradiction. They bring together both young and old; to learn from each other, to share stories and ideas from each other, to share ideas to support one another and the city of Menomonie as a whole.

~Jacob G.

In these last two hours I have spent exploring the Menomonie downtown area I have learned of the rich history and sense of community this town has. Starting with the buildings themselves, they are nearly all older brick buildings that keep the memory of the old brick company that helped first establish this town. The fact that they have kept so many of the original buildings exemplify the towns desire to maintain their past and stay close as a whole. Even talking with the shop owners you can feel their passion and love that they provide for the city. Everyone is so friendly and caring. The fact that there are so many downtown businesses also reflects how the community helps support itself. Rather than going out to Wal-Mart or other department stores, they go out to their local community and support small businesses. Overall, the feel of community in this small town is present everywhere in the downtown area.

~Tyler H.

                The downtown Menomonie area is much smaller than the downtown area I grew up in, but I grew up in the Twin Cities so that is why. I found the area to be a small pleasant community. Many of the stores are small businesses owned by Menomonie residents, which makes the stores feel more comfortable, because the owners all seemed very easy-going. It will be very nice to have such an area so close by for my college years. I enjoyed being able to go out on a tour and see the places and meet the people.

~Erik G.

I feel that downtown Menomonie creates a great sense of community because of all the local businesses. These businesses are friendly, knowledgeable, and welcoming. They don’t just work for their own personal gain, but rather for the community as a whole. This is a lot like my own home town which is made up of much small family owned, locally supported businesses. They work hard at the things that they love and strive to give back to their communities to create a greater sense of comarodity and family. I greatly appreciate and work hard to help support such businesses for my own growth and the growth of my home.

I think the business that inspired me the most would be the New Refuge Farms. We had the opportunity to speak with the owner who told us her inspiration. She works hard to rescue dying and left for dead horses and uses the proceeds to save animal lives.

~Sarah H.

The downtown are in Menomonie is a place that is historically significant and a popular place to be. My experience of the many antique shops was essential to my view of the downtown area. The antique stores had so much to offer through all the products they were selling. I believe those shops represent the history of Menomonie. I was happy to learn that most of the shop owners either rent out specific areas of their stores to local seller or sell the local communities’ products. These stores created a sense of community that all of Menomonie can be a part of and enjoy.

~Austin H.

Growing up in Elk Mound, which is only 15 miles away, I thought I knew the Menomonie area pretty well. I was wrong. I discovered so much during our short adventure. One aspect I really love is the history. Everyone around is so proud of the history and development of the town and all the buildings show that. All the owners of the shops had great stories of how their shops came about. It was cool to see how everything has changed throughout the years, through their eyes. Every shop and owner had its own story and that’s what I enjoyed most. Everyone here is so proud of the history and knows so much about it. Even though I live fairly close, I learned so much more than I expected; it was worth the afternoon and I can’t wait to do some more exploring!

~Alex H.

Downtown Menomonie is a very unique place. It has antique shops where local collectors sell their items to help profit the community; there are numerous local bars and cafes. There are also several boutiques and art stores. With these businesses, Menomonie thrives at a special role because the local town’s people want to help out their historic community.

Also, because of the several cafes, I will most likely spend a lot of my time in them studying and being with friends. While I am doing that I am supporting their stores as well has having a good time.

~Anna H.

I thought that the Downtown area was an intriguing place. I could see myself walking down the street to get some antique item. Then have a quick stop in the Bookends bookstore to get some new reading material before stopping in one of the very welcoming cafes; such as the Raw Deal or the Acoustic Café. There were quite a few small businesses that started up just from a dream or a passion and you can tell that the owners really love and believe in what they are doing. One in particular was quite inspirational- The Store; Such a simple name for something with such a noble goal. The Store is a consignment and goodwill store where all the proceeds go towards the owner’s Refuge Farms, which is a rescue organization for dire horses, horses no one else wants. It’s run only by volunteers and is a fine example of how people in the community can come together and work towards a greater cause.

~Cole H.

Posted in 2013 City-as-Text | Leave a comment

Menomonie Neighborhoods

Neighborhoods

I’m not a small town girl, so coming to Stout for college surprised everyone, including myself. I was convinced I would hate the town but I have fallen in love with every aspect of it these past few days. There is a great sense of community as well as serenity and calmness that is found everywhere. While outdoors, I’ve found that I am free to let my mind wander and listen to my surroundings. I was surprised with the peacefulness since Menomonie is a college town. Peaceful is usually the last word to describe a college town. I also loved that there is a worn feel to the town in which you can tell there is a lot of character. You can tell the past has had an influence on the buildings and town as a whole. I was pleasantly surprised when we came upon areas that aren’t exactly common knowledge, such as private gardens and prairies- treasures of the town.

Megan V.

I thought that this town would be a polite mimicry of where I grew up. It had the same decaying rentals and dry fields, but as we journeyed further down this particular rabbit hole hidden treasures began to appear. A small, tucked-away garden, horses at pasture, and lovely homes perched on high hills at the edge of town, these are the things shattered my assumptions. Menomonie has much more than I expected, I just had to look a little harder and walk at little farther.

Kelly S.

The neighborhoods of Menomonie were filled with nice homes much like the neighborhood that I am from. You could clearly see the houses quality improving as you walked east away from the college campus. The neighborhoods close to campus are mostly rented out by students and there are lots of beer cans in the road. As we walked through the fields the grasshoppers started going crazy and jumping everywhere. We also saw a nice garden that was bordered with bricks from the old Menomonie Brick Company. It was interesting seeing the bricks and realizing just how old they were, and how big of a part they played for the people who started this small town. We also noticed that there were chains around the manholes so nobody could gain access to the sewers. The people of Menomonie must like to go exploring every once in a while! Our group noticed some really cool corn stands that were on the corners of various streets. There was nobody working at them but they sold fourteen ears of corn for five dollars. You just drop your money in a lock box and take the corn. People from around here must be held to a high level of integrity.

Trevor T.

The Menomonie neighborhoods that my group toured today slowly morphed as we walked farther east. When we first stepped off campus, we walked through a neighborhood filled with chipped siding and cracked sidewalks. The occupants of this area had most likely not waken up from sleep after a long, exciting night. Yet even though the gardens were overgrown and the shingles barely hanging on to some of the roofs, each of these houses portrayed so much character and allowed us to glimpse into the lives of those who inhabited them. As we walked farther from campus, we saw more churches, apartment buildings, and houses that seemed to be owned by single families. Our group climbed a hill and we were suddenly facing a huge meadow. I liked how the shaded neighborhoods gave way to a giant field filled with sunshine. After hiking through the meadow, we slowly made out way through a beautiful residential are where our group leader lived. Compared to where I live, the neighborhoods of Menomonie are similar. I come from a small town, so I’m used to seeing houses that were built in the same time periods as those we saw today. I also noticed several architectural similarities to that of houses that I see in my town. From this experience, I was able to see the many different kinds of people that live in Menomonie, and appreciate the beauty and character of the places where they live.

Olivia S.

Our journey through the neighborhoods of Menomonie showed me an unspoken history and the beginnings of many new stories. Our trek began at the foot of the hill where many students reside in temporary housing. Although the area looked like a ghetto with all the houses that seemed to be crumbling where they stand, they still had a lot of personality if you looked closely enough. One could tell what sort of person lived in each house by looking at a variety of things like the landscaping, decorations, furniture or paint color. As we climbed further up the hill the hill the houses looked much less run down. The residential areas were definitely more pleasing to the eye and still had some personality. At the top of the hill we came across a home that reminded me of Bilbo’s house from The Lord of the Rings. The whole area looked very peaceful. In comparison to my own neighborhood, this one has much more variety crammed into a few blocks than a whole side of my town would have. Menomonie has many different colored houses for many colors of people. But it still has a sense of community and history reminiscent of the Shire.

James S.

Our group went around the Menomonie Neighborhoods. At first, we walked east and saw what the neighborhood around there was like. The houses were small and very worn down. Although there were signs of people, the neighborhood was not lively to what I’m used to back in my town. As we progressed the houses and streets became more quiet. In a some sense you can say the town was peaceful, but the damaged and abandoned looking homes gave me the creeps. Our group then went uphill to the highest elevation of Menomonie where it finally seemed to be more lively. We then traveled back downhill going on a different route where the neighborhood actually seemed to be lively. We passed churches, schools, and parks on the way back to the MSC. Overall, the neighborhood was very nice, although it creeped me out for the first part or so.

Tommy T.

Touring the city of Menominee was almost overwhelming for this small town girl. I come from a town of five hundred people, so Menominee is a drastic change for me. Walking past all the houses made me feel like I was in a rustic, vintage like neighborhood. Almost like I had time travelled into the Victorian era. These houses looked like they had stories to tell. Secrets that they’d been hiding for over a century, mysteries waiting to be unlocked. And the trees, oh my gosh, the trees. They whisper in the wind, taunting you with their years of knowledge and experience. It is almost like each breath of wind you feel is their secrets of the past. On the east edge of town is a huge meadow. A meadow that felt like home. It was extremely quiet and serene. I actually thought for a moment that this week had all been a dream and I was still at home sleeping where I’d slept for the past eighteen years. In all honesty though I am so glad I’m in reality and not a dream. I have spread my wings and learned to fly. I am going to leave behind my story at Menominee just like the trees and houses before me.

Melinda S.

roadThis was a really rad experience! I had not yet had the chance to really explore much of Menomonie, so it was nice to see some of what the city had to offer. We walked through a few of the residential areas and saw a number of homes, many very lovely and refined and others in very poor condition. It was interesting to see both kinds of homes in such a close proximity to one another. Homes back in Milwaukee, where I come from, come in all sorts of conditions as well, but they are quite a bit more segregated. Many of the homes’ gardens, that we saw, were quite lovely too, and it was nice to see how many homes actually had large gardens.

After exploring the residential parts of the neighborhood for a while, we walked through a field and saw a bit of the nature in Menomonie. This was one of my favorite parts of the walk; the parks and forests were always my favorite places in Milwaukee, so I was really happy to see that there was so much of that around here. Overall, I’m really grateful for this experience, and it has certainly made me eager to see what more Menomonie still has to offer.

Peter S.

I suppose I wasn’t incredibly surprised by what I saw today. Like many midwestern towns with a population ranging from blue collar to middle class, much of it’s housing were older houses ranging from Victorian to pre WWII styles all in various stages of dilapidation. One thing that struck me was the amount of vegetation. There wer tons of trees everywhere and several of them had to be over a hundred years old considering their size and height. Along with the trees there were many gardens in various yards. Even wildflowers had taken up root in the yards of vacant houses All the vegetation added with the quiet nature of the neighborhoods added a sort of sereneness to the area that isn’t easy to find in this day and age. Another thing that I noticed was the topology of the area. The neighborhoods were rather hilly, much different from my hometown of Marshfield which is located in the incredibly flat areas of central Wisconsin. One interesting location we passed by were some old houses owned by first generation Stout professors. Furthermore, while walking through the garden of our tour guide’s friend, we got to see bricks from the now defunct Menomonie Brick Company. Our final stop took us to a local bandstand where we took a break from the hot summer sun. Overall the trip was very interesting, although it also reminded me how much I hate summer weather.

Phillip S

The Menomonie Neighborhood is a great mix of new and old.  Throughout the town, small bits of history could be found in many different forms.  There were many old buildings from early Menomonie.  Some of the homes close to campus were the residences of early Stout professors.  Another piece of history was found in a wooden garden where some of the last remaining bricks from the Menomonie Brick Company were used in a wall.

In addition to new and old, the neighborhood also is a mix of Stout faculty, students, and ordinary residents.  The neighborhood has a very peaceful feel and reminds me of my hometown.  The beautiful gardens and homes made me feel right at home.  This portion of Menomonie was a bit more commercial than the small town where I live.  However, the independently owned grocery store and shops were a nice asset to the area and added convenience to an already nice neighborhood.

Lastly, the area and its residents seemed very trusting.  On one street, an ‘honor system’ corn stand was located.  The stand was unattended and simply had a box for customers to leave their money.  This isn’t something that can be found everywhere, so its presence made the neighborhood unique.

Menomonie is able to showcase many different types of people and places all within walking distance of each other.  The neighborhood is a great place to explore and is conveniently located right off campus.

Rebecca S.

09-09-2013 028

Posted in 2013 City-as-Text | Leave a comment