2012’s City-as-Text event featured 12 sites in and around Menomonie.  Here are some of the students’ observations:

Downtown Menomonie

The multiple shops downtown, whether it be the chocolate truffles store or the multiple coffee shops with their spacious places to sit, give a place for community members and students alike to congregate. The unique places to buy things I believe give the people a sense of pride and therefore through this pride in their city bring people closer with a sense of togetherness. I have already used the art store downtown several times to buy supplies for classes. They have a wide selection that fits nearly all my needs. The whole downtown area in general has a very welcoming feel and I wouldn’t hesitate to stop in a store if something catches my eye. I do not utilize the downtown area very heavily right now since many of my needs are met on campus but it is a good spot to mess around on the weekends if I have some free time which is also very welcoming.

– Michael H.

Downtown Menomonie has a comforting, nurturing feel.  It is a thriving and continually growing atmosphere. Whether one is looking for a cozy nook to relax in, a creative shop, or delicious eateries, it can all be found downtown. Strolling along I felt a sense of welcoming spirit from those we talked with and passed by and found myself excited to call this place home for the next few years. I have not had a good opportunity to explore and utilize the downtown area thus far, but from my excursion today I can definitely see myself using many of the local businesses. I look forward to shopping at the boutiques, eating at the restaurants and further discovering what the downtown area has to offer. The businesses that offer unique products and the quaint hometown feel drew me in and the absence of businesses in some of the buildings dissuade me. I would love to see all of the buildings filled with useful and interesting business establishments to further diversify the downtown area.

– Haley H.

The downtown Menomonie area is a fun an inviting place for all types of people.  The new and the historic buildings standing side by side create a sense of progress and strength of community. The fact that people care about the history makes the place more charming, and the new additions show that the town is also maintaining its growth and progress. The area is filled with small shops and cafes and though I personally use the area very little, it could be used for any student looking to get a break from campus life and go out to eat, or shopping. Everything downtown is in walking distance from campus making them easily accessible, and they definitely are built to cater to the college community. At any rate, the downtown is definitely a great place to explore and relax.

– Jason H.

The downtown Menomonie area adds a special sense of community to the UW-Stout campus. The “home-y” feel of each little shop and restaurant invite the people of Menomonie to come together for a time of fun and fellowship. From the cozy couches of The Raw Deal, to the creaky hardwood floors of Legacy Chocolates, shoppers are sure to feel at home in these quaint stores. The warmth of the shop-owners radiates from their welcoming smiles. Anyone who visits downtown Menomonie will feel the small-town hospitality from citizens and restaurant owners, many of which have lived here all of their lives. I, personally, plan to use downtown Menomonie as a place to spend time with my friends, whether shopping, snacking, or studying. Sipping smoothies at The Raw Deal is something I see myself doing to ease the stress of my studies. La Dee Dah is a fun store to browse around in, as well, complete with jewelry and home décor. You can never go wrong when visiting a great antique shop, which also awaits you in the downtown area. Downtown Menomonie is a great place to go for a good time with friends and relaxation.

– Abby J.

For me, most of the time the people make or break a place for me.  The people of downtown Menomonie were very friendly.  The employees in the shops were happy to be in a college community, and were glad to have us there.  With that positive attitude, it gave the area a homey kind of feeling. Now if I were to take a trip downtown, I would hop on over to the antique shop and poke around the stuff there.  I would grab a coffee at the raw deal shop.  Finally, if there are events going on, I would make a visit to the beautiful Mable-Tainter to see it.  Just having that theater makes the whole area an attractive place to be.

– Payton J.

All the different shops seem to be locally owned, and seem to be just what college students are looking for. It’s sort of set up so everyone helps everyone in some way. The people we talked to were extremely friendly and offered us free things as well as info about that business. Well there are lots of different shops perfect for college students. I probably will take many trips to some of the coffee shops and boutiques within walkable distance from campus. There is more than one option for whatever mood you are in, or whatever is on your shopping list. I think this town is just so little and cute! It gives off that friendly and safe vibe to anyone driving by, here for the day, or if you live here. Lots of things are cheap, free, or really nice. It seems like a happy town with an important historical past.

– Karli J.

The downtown area contributes a large sense of community to the area of Menomonie.  Many of the businesses have been in the area for many years so the town folk are familiar with them.  With Menomonie being a smaller town many of the residents know each other.  While in the downtown area I couldn’t help but notice many of the business owners greeted their customers by name and asked various questions like how they or their families are doing.  This really made them seem like they genuinely cared.  If that isn’t a sense of community I don’t know what is.  Beyond that the businesses couldn’t express enough their gratitude for the college students, many saying that the town just isn’t right when school isn’t in session, it made us all feel very welcomed to the area. I think the downtown area is great and I foresee myself venturing there often.  I know that I’ll be visiting Mike’s Art Supply, La Dee Da, and the various coffee shops often. I think the downtown is a very welcoming area of Menomonie.  The architectural style of the buildings shows that Menomonie has a rich history, but since the buildings are well kept I also know that the town cares about its upkeep.  Overall Menomonie’s downtown area has a variety of thinks to offer from clothing stores, to sports shops, to antique shops, the list goes on and on, there is something for everyone downtown.

– Kelsey K.

Downtown Menomonie provides a variety of shops and places of entertainment for all visitors of the town.  It provides a sense of community with a co-op, coffee shops, pizza parlors, and bars. I will be using this area as a place to walk around at night, and it is also a good place to grab a bite to eat when I get tired of eating in the commons.  It is a much bigger town then where I come from with lots more to do.  I will not be able to do the stuff that I normally do, but I will not be bored.

– Brandon K.

Downtown Menomonie creates a sense of community with its historical buildings and small town feeling. Everything is every close to one another, easily within waling distance. Residents we meet have lived here for long periods of time and know a lot about the town and surrounding area.

I use downtown Menomonie a lot. I love to go to the acoustic cafe for coffee, the antique shop to look for gifts and Mikes art supply to buy things for my classes. It’s a beautiful downtown with a very safe small town feeling. I am only dissuaded by the lack of places for the under 21 crowd to go at night, although I believe that will change eventually.

– Rachel H.

The downtown area is one of the best areas in Menomonie to find a superb sense of community. The downtown section is one of the oldest in the town dating back over a hundred years. While some of the buildings and shops were not there during those days they have all been there for as long as some residents can remember. A few prime examples of this were that everyone we spoke to in town has a history there. They almost all seemed to have been born and raised in Menomonie. They had a love for the place and were not able to leave. Everybody was warm and welcoming to strangers, eager to share their story and what they loved about this little town. To me, this is the kind of community I would love to call myself a part of. Everyone knows everybody and the overall atmosphere is inviting.

From what you just read, you can tell I am a big fan of the downtown area. I plan to personally use it by visiting the shops and supporting the local economy by buying their products. The chocolate shop sounds like a fun place to go for my birthday as well. I want my free chocolate.

– Jake J.

Menomonie Neighborhoods

Exploring the Menomonie neighborhoods really introduced me to a lot of college homes. The fraternities and sororities all contribute to the idea that the city of Menomonie is dominated by college students. During the neighborhood walk, I saw more houses owned by college students than anything else. Not only did I witness the houses in the neighborhoods, I also went to a park. At the park there were several college students playing sports and hanging out. The park definitely provides a place for residents of Menomonie to hang out, a very welcoming place for the community. There is also a band shell open for the community to use. The band shell seems very welcoming since Stout does Shakespeare shows for free at the band shell. Overall, the neighborhoods contribute to the college community of Menomonie and the parks seem very welcoming for all.

– Daniel L.

As part of the City as Text program, I was able to tour the local, Menomonie, neighborhoods. Coming from a town nearby, I knew the Menomonie area really well. My family and friends use the town as our place for entertainment and necessities. However I have never gotten the opportunity to really tour the local neighborhoods. Despite living so close to town, I did not have many opportunities to become friends with the kids of Menomonie and therefor mainly visited the public places. Learning about these neighborhoods along with some students who do not know the area allowed me to view it in a different way. Things I would view as simple and ordinary things, others saw as unique or cherished.

I think an appealing aspect Menomonie has to visitors is its ability to be a city with an active town as well as be a calming place where the sky is still visible and people can easily escape the bustle of the city. Menomonie has the perfect mixture of calm and active. The neighborhoods did a fabulous job of showing the busy campus life, the “in between” stage of the sororities and fraternities, and the outer-shell of the campus where other students live. In the center of it all is Wilson Park. This is a place where anyone can spend a calming afternoon playing football, or go out for a night to watch a play. Menomonie accommodates everyone who chooses to live there; they just need to find their spot.

– Kori K.

Menomonie is a very diverse place to have a home.  On the trip we took touring the neighborhoods here, we explored the residential areas of both the college houses and the family houses.  It was quite easy to distinguish the two; the family homes had porch swings and trampolines with SUV type vehicles out in front while the college houses had beaten up couches and fire pits with mopeds and “fixer-uppers” lining the driveway.  I know that the college portion of the neighborhood is going to come in very useful in my later years here at Stout because it felt like a very comfortable and safe place to live and have a house, which can be difficult to find in some college towns.  Overall the community feel was a sense of oneness.  There were no chain link fences to keep out neighbors and there were no frightening dogs with razor sharp teeth threatening us as we walked past.  In fact, there was a central park that hosts free band concerts and Shakespeare performances.  This trip reinforced my idea that Menomonie is a great place to live before, during and after the college years.

– Christine L.

The Menomonie neighborhoods are what create the sense of community in the area. In the neighborhoods the homes come together to create their own atmosphere and identity. Each neighborhood has its own charm which is noticed by the rest of the community, as well as visitors from surrounding areas. This is especially noticed by the freshmen of the UW-Stout system who consider this community as their own. It was exciting to find Wilson Park while walking around the town. Wilson Park is a great place to get away from the busy streets and experience an open, green, and scenic park. This is a place that I will definitely use to get off campus, visit a calming atmosphere, and do some recreational activities with friends.

– Nicole K.

Ever since I first visited Menomonie I have felt like I was still in my home town of Hudson Wisconsin. I feel that way because Menomonie to me looks like Hudson in its architecture and in the way that the city is new in one area and is old near the university. When my group toured the residential area filled with mostly student housing we stopped at Wilson Park. At the park was a large band shell with green benches in front of it. An identical setup is present in Hudson at Lakefront Park and this only reinforced my feeling of being at home here in Menomonie. With this city being so similar to so many other small cities and towns in the upper Midwest I can only think that many of the other students here at Stout feel as welcome as I do here in Menomonie.

– Tim K.

We were assigned to walk the neighborhoods of Menominee. We got to walk and look at some of the houses in the area. We also were shown some of the stores and a park nearby. We got to meet up with another group too and played tug-of-war in the park. It was fun getting to know some new people and older members from the Honors program in a different setting. The neighborhoods, stores, and parks contribute to a sense of community in that they close personal areas. They allow the people of Menominee to get to know each other just through little stores and nearby parks. I think I will use these areas to shop and hang out. They are so close and will give the students of Menominee a place to go. The people and upkeep of these neighborhoods are very welcoming, and there is nothing really dissuading me from those neighborhoods.

– Kassie K.

I went to the Menomonie neighborhoods. We explored the neighborhoods surrounding UW Stout by walking around and looking at them. The majority of these houses are used as off-campus housing for the upperclassmen at Stout. There are also a lot of churches surrounding these neighborhoods, as well as small private schools. The sorority and fraternity houses are also tucked into the neighborhoods. We saw a wide array of different styles of houses – tall houses, short houses, houses with beer cans hung from the rooftops, houses with interesting landscaping, and houses with multiple futons on the porches. It looked like a typical college town neighborhood.

This will have an impact on me later on in my college career because I will want to live off-campus my junior and senior year. These houses are very conveniently located just blocks away from the Stout campus and are perfect for college student housing. They are somewhat of a legacy because I know that many generations of students lived in and made memories in those houses before me.

– Alyson K.

I was able to tour the neighborhoods of Menomonie. We saw the fraternity and sorority houses along with some local houses and businesses.  I think this helps contribute to a sense of community in the Menomonie area because you can see how close everyone is within the community. Walking through town we felt welcomed and I felt at home. I hope to use this sense of community to make connections in the future. The neighborhoods in Menomonie are well kept and inviting, I am happy to have chosen here for college.

– Abby K.

From the small-town grocery store to the friendly homes in the Menomonie neighborhoods to the outdoor theatre, there is plenty of welcome in this city. Chad and Lara were happy to contribute their own personal experiences in certain areas of the neighborhoods, which greatly added to the welcoming atmosphere already present as we walked through the town. I will walk through these neighborhoods more than once during my stay here, and it was helpful to see where certain services were offered, such as the market, gas stations, and even some appealing places to eat out at (when the money is available). The only truly dissuading aspect was the amount of empty beer bottles and garbage from pizza boxes to half a pizza; who wants to live in this mess? I certainly don’t, and I got the true feeling of a college town when I walked by some of these houses.

– Meghan L.

Dunn County Farmer’s Market & Stepping Stones

Farmer’s Market: The market brings a lot of people together for a common necessity at a cheap price. The food is usual produced by the vender or made by the vender. Everyone is friendly and open to talk. Once you enter the market you can see the freshness and variety. The market overall is a great place and brings all sorts of people to one location. Diversity is something everyone needs to experience!

Stepping Stones: Stepping Stones supplies food and services to families in need, but also to people who are just struggling at a time and need some help. Their mission is geared toward anyone who just generally is in need of help and not afraid of walking into Stepping Stones. They want to supply food, as a pantry, to people who are less fortunate. They definitely make a difference and are non-profit!

– Anonymous

Farmer’s Market: I found how the vendors are friendly very interesting. I guess I thought there would be competition because everyone has similar products. Also how cheap the prices are and the vendors said they would cut deals on a larger purchase. They also said they are doing this because they have enough and want to share the overstock with others. So unlike a grocery store they aren’t doing it solely to make money but to share their product with others!

Stepping Stones: What was very interesting was how organized and professional they were. They tried their best to make it as comfortable as possible. They have an area for kids to play as well as a greeting area. They don’t judge and serve anyone who is in need. They also have a large inventory and work with big companies like Wal-Mart! They are trying to work out new ways of serving people by expanding constantly. Remember this is non-profit so the idea of expansion means that they are growing and serving more people. They have volunteer forms for anyone who wants to help!

– Jack D.

The Farmer’s Market is a place of community because many people are coming together for a common purpose. People want to get fresh produce, and this is a wonderful and convenient way of doing so. The farmers market also is a place of much diversity.

Stepping Stones also contributes to the community by providing a large amount of food to individuals who are in need. Individuals are able to come on a schedule that fits their own lifestyle, not having to worry about whether or not they have gone too many times in a month. The community really wants to help one another be successful.

The farmers market is a huge attraction for me. Being a vegetarian, it is extremely nice to see that there is a place that I can go to in order to get reasonably priced produce. The variety of different vegetables was very impressive, as well as the size of the market itself. I found that atmosphere to be very warm and inviting; all of the vendors were very friendly.

I liked Stepping Stones because I am very interested in volunteer work and helping others. It’s nice to know that there is a place that I can go in my free time that is within walking distance of the dorms so that I can continue to reach out to the community that I am living in.

– Emily E.

Both the Farmer’s Market and Stepping Stones really help the community.  The Farmer’s Market is a place where everyone can come and get fresh foods, flowers, and more. The things the vendors sell are reasonably priced so anyone can buy them.  There are also many cultures and everyone is friendly and welcoming.  Stepping Stones works with local businesses and provides help for many people.  It’s a welcoming place that gives hope to everyone that walks in the door.  Also, there aren’t set times when you have to come, it’s whenever you need to come in.

The Farmer’s Market is a place where I can go to get fresh produce and other things.  It’s big and has a wide variety of foods and some flowers.  I like that the vendors are friendly and will say hi when one walks by and answer any questions that one may have.  Stepping Stones is really welcoming and has separate offices so it’s really private.  I like that they have a waiting room and a small area for kids to play.  There is also good lighting and paintings on the walls that brighten the place up.  Volunteering at Stepping Stones will help the community and make ones day brighter.

– Kate E.

The Farmer’s Market contributes because it is a place for people to sell and buy community grown food. It allows community members to meet and socialize as well as enjoy the fresh produce. The market has more variety and better prices for food than a local store.

I am attracted to the farmers market for its large variety of fresh produce. If I wanted vegetables of all sorts, Jam, Honey, or other home grown products. It is a good example of the community helping other members of the community with. The people were nice and many gave samples.

Stepping Stones is very community minded. It focuses on providing food for families that need it. It provides a variety of food and not only generic brands. Stepping Stones’ food pantry is very welcoming and often times get donations from individuals from the community.

Stepping Stones had a few major aspects that attracted me to it such as the fact it was set up like a store and brightly lit. It had a large waiting area and a private sign in area. The workers are very nice and often time develop good relations with the consumers. All of these add to the welcoming environment.

– Kyler E.

Farmer’s Market: The cultural diversification is amazing at the market.  I am a freshman here at Stout and I rarely see a separate culture other than “white” on campus.  The major culture was Hmong at the market.  I would have never known that Menomonie had a major Hmong culture present if I had not gone to the market.  The farmers market brings the different lifestyles together.  Along with the Hmong, there was some Amish culture, along with the white culture.  The farmers market brings the cultures together in one place to put food on the tables of many.  The Amish were serving cheese curds and jellies, the white culture was serving barbeque, and the Hmong were serving loads of delicious vegetables.  Menomonie for its size holds many secrets that someone would not know without exploring everywhere around the city.  The farmers market brings some of these secrets to life in one convenient area offering a great sense of community.

Stepping Stones:  Stepping Stones is a symbol of hope for Menomonie.  People have been through hard times with the drop in the economy and are currently in a poor state.  This may mean they are low on income or have no income at all.  This place offers food and shelter for those who need it.  It can be exactly what a family could need to get back on their feet.  This place is here for the community, it wants everyone to succeed.  Everyone should be able to do so in America, it is proud to know that Menomonie supports that statement.


Farmers Market: The convenience of delicious, healthy food is very nice for a college student.  Since a college student is usually subjected to unhealthy food, it’s nice to know there is an option.  The colors were awesome.  The tomatoes, potatoes, melons, peppers, and lettuce made a rainbow of color.  It has a very happy atmosphere.  The farmer’s families were playing with each other, and they acted like they were there for you.  They were glad to answer some of my questions and proud to serve you food.  The Amish girl that was operating a cheese curd and jelly stand had a smile on her face the whole time I saw.  It was very fun.

Stepping Stones:  Right when I first walked in there was a peaceful, welcoming feel to it.  I knew they wanted me to come in.  They wanted to help.  Then past their reception desk there is a waiting room.  The waiting room has a computer for anyone that needs to use the internet which is a wonderful touch.  There was a pastry dish waiting their which is a wonderful treat.  My favorite thing I saw though was a kid play area.  If a family is using this facility it is safe to assume that they cannot afford child care.  It was also very private.  The food pantry area had loads of food and there was a huge warehouse area to store the other food.  Also farmers would come and donate some of their food.  This just shows that people do care.  Do get to the point this place is very appealing.  It is well setup and ready to help anyone in need.

– Mark F.

Honors orientation day has certainly gone into my memory as a “good day.” It was not a day of fun, but more of an observation day. Now that’s not to say fun wasn’t had, but it took a backseat in the day’s itinerary. In fact, it was more than an observation day. It was an exploration day, a day to discover the charms of Menomonie. Starting with the Farmer’s Market, it was rather refreshing to actually deal with people when looking for produce. Instead of a supermarket employee, you would be able to talk with the folks who grew the produce themselves. It may not seem like much on paper, but being able to meet the people who put the actual care into their products is nice. Then we moved onto Stepping Stones, a food pantry and homeless shelter. It was rather refreshing knowing that these services were easily accessible to people in need. And the highlight of the day came when we were near the end of the warehouse tour, and a farmer was dropping off tomatoes. These were tomatoes that could’ve easily been sold at the market, but he opted to donate them. That, to me, is a real sign of a good community.

– Michael W.

Market- The market is a place for local people to sell their grown or made food and for people from all over town and from different walks of life to get together and learn about each other and their different cultures.

Stepping Stones- Stepping Stones is an organization that is built around helping impoverished people in getting food on their table and finding somewhere to live, it also gives people the chance to volunteer and help those in need.

– Anonymous

Market- The market appeals to me because of the fresh fruits and veggies that you cannot find at a store and the prices are more than fair.

Stepping Stones- Stepping Stones appealed to me because it not only helps those who need it but lets other members of the community help those people.

– Austin F.

Wakanda Park & Rassbach Heritage Museum

Our trip to Wakanda Park was very interesting. The museum felt very welcoming and it was neatly organized and the displays were eye catching. The park seemed to have a great sense of community because they had many opportunities for people to get involved such as frisbee, baseball and a swim park. Wakanda Park would be a nice place to go for a picnic or just for a peaceful, relaxing day.

– Christina S.

The Dunn County Historical Society provides a hands-on source of knowledge on the history of the Menomonie area. Sharing a common history enables people to feel closer to each other by giving them a meaningful connection. Wakanda Park brings the community together as well. It is a place where a variety of people can go to spend time with their family and friends while also meeting new people.

The Dunn County Historical Society was very interesting. I usually think of museums as stuffy and dull but found the exhibits more hands-on. I believe I would have been more excited about the museum as a child due to the play area. However, there were some very intriguing exhibits and I would like to see the rest of the museum.

The Wakanda Park seemed to be very well kept. New playground equipment also gave the location a welcoming feel. I am personally interested in the disc-gulf course and may someday take advantage of the park. I was sad to hear about the condition of the lake. Swimming in it appears to be out of the question due to algae. This is a shame because the lake and surrounding area is quite beautiful.

– Laura S.

My group visited the Dunn County Historical Museum and the Wakanda Park. Both of these places had a very strong tie to the Menomonie community because they were where the town’s roots were recorded. At the museum, we saw the progression from the days of when the Ice Age formed the land to the Native Americans and the artifacts they left behind all the way up to the present and more recent historical events, such as the famous bank robbery. At Wakanda Park there was a less documented form of local history in the form of Indian burial mounds. But there was also an abundance of youth making this town their home as we passed a little league baseball practice by the park and walked past a playground where families were enjoying their afternoons on the way to the burial mounds. All of these locations and events that were show to us that day I had not known about beforehand, but now I definitely feel more connected to the community and the land by knowing a mass of events that it has been through before I came along.

– Emma S.

On the honor’s program Menomonie as text day, my group visited the Historical Society and Wakanda Park. First we visited the Historical Society. The museum is small, but full of interesting artifacts. We started by looking at local fossils, old Indian artifacts like arrowheads, clay pipes and other locally found items. Then we looked at some very cool old photos of lumberjacks and people logging in Menomonie. We also visited the exhibit for the Kraft State Bank robbery which is a well-known historical event. It was fun to see the old pictures and listen to the story. I also found it funny that local families argued about who was present at the time of the robbery.

Then we went to Wakanda Park. The park was beautiful and the playground was very cute. I was happy to see a few families at the park. There was also a disc golf course that was being used by a group. Parks always have a good sense of community. I am always intrigued by parks that are well used. I found the park and the Historical Society both very welcoming; they also both had a sense of small community to them. The people who worked at and contributed to the museum seemed to have a genuine interest and pride in it. I feel really good about my overall experience on my Menomonie as text day.

– Isabel S.

I learned a lot during our Nature walk/Museum tour. I learned a lot about Stouts history at the Dunn County Historical Museum. It adds a sense of community because we learn about Stouts past and how Menomonie became the town it is today. Walking through the park was also very interesting. It was a really nice area for everybody, from families to college students. It was also a really nice getaway from the campus life.

– Ben S.

Touring the Dunn County Historical Museum of Menomonie gives you a great look into the past and at key events that helped shape this town. While at the museum we saw fossils of trilobites, Native American artifacts such as arrow heads, clay pipes, beaded moccasins, and learned about the Craft State Bank Robbery. Then our group walked outside and saw the Wakanda Parks, played on the playground, and saw some buffalo which are part of the Lions Club Game Park. The Wakanda Parks are very family and community oriented which is a great thing. They had baseball and softball diamonds, a frisbee golf course, a water-park and more. And lastly, our group went and saw the Upper Wakanda Mound Group, which are Indian burial mounds and a great piece of history.

– Allison R.

This location serves as a mdidle ground for the community to come together- especially at the park. It’s where people can just come together and have fun. The museum and enclosed buffalo/elk portions bring people with similar interests in nature together.

I thought Wakanda Park would be a nice place to hang out in the future and even study at. The area around the museum was also nice, along with the museum itself, and there were many beautiful trees. I enjoyed our trip and the different views of nature we got to see.

– Veronica S.

I was in group number ten for the City as Text Honors orientation. We visited the Dunn County Historical Society Museum, the upper Wakanda mound group, and the park area of Wakanda. I really enjoyed all the placed we went to. I felt that they really showed how much Menomonie cares about their past and their history. I also thought it made it feel like the community was banding together to create areas were kids could play, the park areas, and learn about their towns history in a fun way. I found that all those areas created a bond in the community. I was very inspired by the dedication that was put forth by the people of Menomonie to preserve the Indian mounds that remained, and to preserve the history of their town. I wish that all towns had the same aspiration to protect and preserve aspects of their history and past like Menomonie does.

– Ashley S.

For having lived in the Menomonie area almost my entire life, it was a wonder that I’d never before to the Dunn County Historical Society Museum. I think it’s great that it’s so accessible and easy for residents to learn about the history of where they live. Seeing the Native American burial mounds were another interesting aspect of this little tour – it’s always strange to see something of historical significance in such a local area. It was a great day, both fun and informative.

– Gina S.

Here is my submission: During our tour of the museum, I was struck by the wealth of history the building contained. It was impressive what a rich and colored history the local area has, and I gained a greater appreciation of the Menomonie community. While we were walking thru the park I got to appreciate the beauty and positive energy of this community space.

– Joel S.

Red Cedar State Trail

The Red Cedar Trail is helpful to the community in many ways. It shows the beautiful parts of Menomonie. It showed the woods, river and unusually rock formations. Red Cedar Trail also allows you to get to know many different people who live in Menomonie. The trail can take you to Dunn County as well to show you another beautiful area in Wisconsin.

I would personally use this area for a beautiful fall walk or bike ride. I liked that it was a flat trail and it wasn’t far outside of town. I want to go to Dunn County on this trail because I can see a beautiful area of Wisconsin and explore a new area. I loved the Red Cedar Trail!

– Kate P.

The Red Cedar State Trail contributes to the community in a few unique ways.  Walking, biking, or running on the trail provides a way to connect with nature and take a break from the city or college life.  It is a wonderful place to go for a relaxing walk with friends or snap some great photographs of the wildlife or river.  The peace and quiet is abundant as well as the calming views.  The trail brings people together through recreational activities and provides a firsthand look at the nature that environmentally conscious people are trying to protect.

Just by walking on the trail, you can tell that it is taken care of very well.  Everything about it is welcoming to the eyes.  There are no potholes or obstructions and there certainly isn’t any garbage to be seen lying around.  The scenery and friendly people you encounter make it all the more welcoming.  I have found nothing to dissuade me from using the trail.  I will continue to use this trail as a great place to go for a run or just enjoy the calm atmosphere.

– Marissa P.

I personally use the Red Cedar Trail for recreational running and to see the beautiful scenery.  The guiding signs and park nearby the trail welcome families and college students alike.  Red Cedar State Trail creates a sense of community for the Menomonie area by bringing together nature lovers and city-goers of all ages as one in the peaceful environment.

– Rachel R.

A place to walk and a place to dream.
A place to reconnect with nature.
And where your mind you can clean.
Not only are you welcome from spring back to spring,
But welcome with encouragement for worries here to bring.
This town, extremely blessed, has the opportunity to share
Such a trail with beauty and history, and the smell of freedom in the air.
So blessed to have a chance to find,
A pathway that for all will connect and bind,
The place where we now call our home
And the community that is now our own

– Bailey R.

The Red Cedar Trail is a great place to go walking or biking. Families can take their young children on walks. Older and younger couples alike can be found walking running or biking together. Students and friends can also be seen enjoying all the trail has to offer. Overall the Red Cedar Trail is a great place for everyone to be active and just enjoy nature.

Personally I will use the Red Cedar Trail to jog and bike with my friends. I find the trail to be welcoming and well kept. There are also several nice views and places to rest on the trail. Everyone can just go at their own pace and only hear the occasional “bike on your left”. The Red Cedar Trail is really peaceful, because it is pretty much only you nature and the people that your with. Overall I had a nice time on the trail with my group and I will definitely go on it again.

– Ellie R.

While exploring Red Cedar State Trail, I not only saw the beauty and wonders of the surrounding wilderness, I saw groups of people enjoying the same scenery that I had enjoyed as well. Nature has an interesting quality to it that pulls people out of their homes and lets them enjoy the nature together as one.

Not only is this trail a place to exercise and stay fit, but a place to see the outside world beyond what we would see in the city. It’s an escape. It is good to stay on the trail that has already been laid out for us, but a venture off the trail can bring a much more close-to-nature experience.

– Hunter R.

Red Cedar Trail is a whimsical place. It is Menomonie’s connection to the outdoors. It is a challenge as much as a relaxation place. When the trail starts it is paved and like a city path, not a real trail, built for a peaceful stroll. The deeper in the more athletic the path became until it was a hiking trail because of its length and the fact that the pavement faded away. The longer I followed the trail the more a home I felt. I grew up on a river, the reeds and river bank we followed really brought me home. It made me feel grounded and safe in the face of the overwhelming transition to college.

A sense of community has a lot to do with how comfortable and at home you feel. I believe that Red Cedar Trail gives people pride in where we are and helps tie this community together. A community is a group of people, but it is also the location of those people. If can’t connect to the people well, but you are in and connected to the place, you belong. I may not have gotten to know any one well yet but I am proud to be here and in a city with such a beautiful place as Red Cedar Trail. I am a part of this community.

– Anonymous

I enjoyed walking down the trail because it gave me an oppertunity to escape from the stress and homework associated with school life and just relax. I enjoyed the smell of fall and decaying leaves that was in the air. I also enjoyed looking at the different people that the trail attracted.

– Tim R.

Hoffman Hills

Hoffman Hills is a place of peace and serenity. Members of the community can visit this place and expect total relaxation and peace of mind. These hills are a great place to get away from everyday life or to go on a nice hike deep into the woods. At the top of the hill you can find a viewing tower from which you can see all the way back to downtown Menomonie from the top. Hoffman Hills can be different things to different people. For me it is a place I can go to get away, go on a nice hike and relax. For someone else it could be a place of training for a long distance run. To everyone though Hoffman Hills is a place to go to feel at home again.

– Cole A. 

In such a small town, the significance of unique areas are proven to be extremely valuable.  Hoffman Hills is just that.  I got the opportunity to visit Hoffman Hills and although I am not a huge fan, well, not a fan of nature at all! I had a very good time.  I have always been very independent. With this new college atmosphere and being constantly surrounded by people I have noticed myself becoming anxious.  Hoffman Hills offers a getaway for not only myself but others that are experiencing the same struggles. From what I have felt, the woods offer the peace we all deserve to have in our crazy lives. This area is unique because it has a huge tower that us as a group got to climb and peaceful paths throughout the wood. Addressing the tower, I am terrified of heights and the treacherous race to the top was a bit unnerving but as soon as you stare out above the trees the fear becomes lost.  It is amazingly beautiful, something only someone that has seen it can know. Overall, Hoffman Hills plays a huge role not only to the college students but to anyone that just needs to cool down and enjoy themselves!

– Julia A.

During our hiking extravaganza, my group traveled to Hoffman Hills. We weren’t entirely sure what to expect as our bus pulled into the parking lot, but were ready to explore with our walking shoes on our feet and cameras in hand. We found ourselves walking up huge hills and back down the next. The trail was beautiful and wound around corners and corners of towering trees. All was quiet except our voices and crunching leaves on the ground. Everything was gorgeous and we were enjoying the peaceful walk as our own secret getaway from the commotion of our lives. Then we came across our destination, a four story tower on top of the hill. When we panted up the 97 steps, we came to a platform overlooking all of Menomonie. We all stood there and looked in different directions and realized why this was our destination. This tower in Hoffman Hills shows all of Menomonie and how it coincides together. You can see the farm lands all the way to the city streets. It was incredible and so amazing to have a getaway were any member of Menomonie can go to explore and get a little peace and quiet from the city.

– Jamie A.

High above the treetops a mighty tower stands. Nestled among the trees it sits so you must roam through Hoffman Hills to reach it. The trail may be long and dreary, but the sight is worth the sweat. Once upon the tower you have a breathtaking view that will really open your eyes up. It is amazing to see what our world really looks like. We don’t have a very good view from the ground and we can only see a very small part of our world. Upon the tower, instead of seeing just what is in front of us, we can see long and clearly just what we miss out on in our daily lives. The hustle and the bustle of our everyday lives makes us forget to slow down and enjoy life for what it is. We are so dependent on technology and productivity that we may lose our roots all together. Hoffman Hills provides Menomonie a place where people can easily forget about their lives and just kick back and have a great time enjoying the scenery. While exploring Hoffman Hills it’s easy to forget about our stress-filled lives.

It would be a great idea to have a major gathering or picnic in the entrance to the Hoffman Hills. It would be a great way to get the community together and to introduce people to this treasure that is just outside of Menomonie. Many people probably don’t realize what a great place Hoffman Hills actually is and the amazing potential that The Hills Contain. I would recommend anyone to spend a weekend with their family there.

– Zachary A.

The view at the top of Hoffman Hills reminded me of Tim’s hill, a place where my parents have taken me before during the peak of autumn to see the color of the land.  I will probably be back to the Tower this semester to see the leaves and maybe take my boyfriend there for a little trip away from the stress and excitement of college life.  I believe that Hoffman Hills is an important part of this community because it is a great place where people can go to enjoy nature and relax or reflect.  Climbing all the way up is a great exercise and is a free and healthy way to entertain yourself for a few hours.  It is important that the members of the community have a place to go and connect with nature, relieve stress and appreciate their surroundings.

– Jade A.

The trip we took to the Hoffman Hills, located just outside of Menomonie, was a great nature adventure. Our trek up to the looking tower was excellent exercise and made the four-story view even more worth the hike. The hills will also be very pretty as the trees change from greens to oranges in the autumn.

The woods and nature that we passed through was very natural and peaceful. The Menomonie community can use the area for picnics, exercise, photography opportunities, and as a place to enjoy a panoramic view that stretches for miles. As Stout students, we may use the Hoffman Hills as a place to go to relieve stress when we just need to take a break from our studies to enjoy the wildlife environment.

– Rachel B.

On the trip to Hoffman Hills, I couldn’t help but think that this area was a beacon of natural exploration and beauty to the Menomonie area, simply a place for people to escape from the life in the city and view nature for a time. That being said, it served as such a link between all the members of the community, as a place to have shared experiences and entertainments in a relaxed environment. But, as well, the area would no doubt appeal to the more exercise-orientated of the Menomonie citizens, as a workout is sure to be had climbing the various hills and inclines the region features. Given all of that, though, this is not an area that I would be likely to visit again. Its main appeals are the exercise, view, and above all heights, the lattermost being prominently featured in a four-story, at the least, observational tower along the path. To someone that is terrified of heights, making that climb was an experience that would be best to not repeat. And though the area has plenty of viewing value, it is rather static in that value. For my part, I saw no wildlife at all in the Hills, nor even heard any, which was quite strange.

– Dylan B.

Steps, quietly crunching through a calm, cool stand of white pines. Pines whose lower limbs have been suffocated from the fresh, life-giving, sun. Fall time breezes sweep over the trail as we walk up the path to the crest of the tallest hill. A lone tower stands in the meadow. We climb excitedly up the tower; upon arrival at the top, a breath taking view accompanies the wind as it begins to blow stronger and stronger.  Rolling hills miles out, looking like whales coming to the surface, contrast the dark skies on the horizon which are an indication of coming rains.  It’s cool up here, and unbelievingly relaxing.  Memories of being at home seem to sweep through my nostrils, sweet, sweet memories of a younger me.

– Austin B.

A bonding experience with nature. That is what best describes my experience at the Hoffman Hills. The location is remote enough to feel away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I believe this location contributes to the community by offering a tranquil expanse of trees and trails.

– Grant B.

Hoffman Hills is a beautiful natural attraction in the Menomonie Area. It features miles of nature trails leading to a four story observation tower which is essentially a fortress of solitude, peace and tranquility. To me, Hoffman Hills seemed like more of a place where you would go to escape from the pressures of your world as opposed to a place that contributes to a sense of community. That being said, I do not think that it is a bad thing that Menomonie is home to such a type of place. If I had a car with me at Stout, I would most definitely visit Hoffman Hills whenever life became too stressful because as you can see, the view from the observation tower is incredible and calming.

– Daniel B.

Whether it be the monotony of daily routine or the bustle of social life and technology, everyone needs time to get outside of themselves. This is what Hoffman Hills offers the Menomonie area. If a bit of solitude is needed, the walking trails are perfect for a stroll to take in the sound of crisp leaves rustling about your feet. As the fall colors begin to appear, the Tower is breathtaking, and allows a person to survey the area with unobstructed view. Though the city of Menomonie is beautiful, the escape to nature that Hoffman Hills offers seems not only enjoyable, but necessary to visit on occasion for relief from everyday living.
– Ava B.

I’ve lived in Menomonie for just over seven years now. Residing in any location for an extended period of time can create a certain blindness – a stagnant perspective. At first, I was hesitant about confirming my acceptance to UW Stout. I anticipated larger changes, I suppose, in graduating high school. Already, though, I’ve discovered that location isn’t the only influence on perspective. Being submersed in a pool of new minds, experiencing a world that I was beginning to think I knew a little too well, has proven to be one of the most eye opening experiences in my life. (Re)experiencing Hoffman Hills, and learning about the history and culture of our region, with individuals who are just first being exposed to these attributes of Menomonie has provided me with a fresh vision of sorts. This Honors field trip has certainly helped me accept change, even in a ‘reality’ that I have long tried to cement in my mind.

– Robert B.

Goodwill & Wal-Mart

Venturing to Good will and Walmart showed me how their goals are influenced by what the community needs.  I learned how important and helpful goodwill is to the community by how it helps give jobs to those who cannot find employment.  They give these people a chance to raise money like anyone else.  Good will also strives to get use of all its donated goods so they do not end up in the trash.  They are sold, mostly so only 6% actually ends up being thrown away.  They work in the community of Menonomie to help bring jobs and also donate money to those who are struggling on providing for themselves.  GoodWill takes 22% to run but the rest 78% goes back into Menomonie’s community.  Walmart also is a good place where they do look at building Menomonie as a community by donating money to the local elementary schools and local food shelf.  They not only donate but provide crucial jobs in the community.  Many people lives are affected by in Menomonie by these businesses, they really are here and have this communities best interest at heart.

– Kelly O.

Goodwill and Walmart ended up turning out to be more green and giving than I thought them to be.  For Goodwill, 85 percent of their merchandise has to be donations in order to be a non-profit business. 94 percent of all merchandise is recycled and sold to customers.  What isn’t sold, goes to charities and third world countries. They also hire people with disabilities who cannot get jobs elsewhere.  They are able to work there and also learn important work-related skills such as job interviews.  For Walmart, all their products come in cardboard boxes and once those boxes are empty, they recycle them.  As for the community, Walmart recently gave $3,000 gift cards to teachers at an elementary school to purchase school supplies for the students.  I thought that was really cool that Walmart did that.  As for me, I will definitely be giving these two places my business and purchasing some of their products when the time comes that I would need it.  After all, Halloween is coming up and Goodwill is a good place to get a decent priced costume, and Walmart is a good place to get all of my college essentials.

– Mykenna P.

Both Goodwill and Walmart are so essential to our community because they provide us with goods that we need to survive. Everyone that enters is going in for a need or want; this creates a common bond over the whole consumer market. People from all walks of life shop at Walmart and Goodwill for things that they need, they may be different products but they are all there for the same reason. These businesses also create a better sense of community for Menomonie because they are supporting the community in financial and other ways. Walmart recently donated $3,000 in Walmart gift cards to local teachers to help them buy extra school supplies for their classrooms. Goodwill is a non-profit organization that employs people that have no other job opportunities. Goodwill and Walmart also recycle everything they can’t use, which is appreciated by the community and Mother Nature. I personally use this area to attend school and create my home for the next year. A welcoming factor is the small town appeal, with the cute downtown and locally owned shops and restaurants. Menomonie seems like a perfect fit for Stout and I am happy to call it home for the next four years!

– Sydney N.

We went to Goodwill and Wal-Mart. At both places we were warmly welcomed and they gave us a tour of their backrooms. Then we had a chance afterwards to look around their main floors. From the very begin of the tours it was clear that they were genuinely happy to show us around and not bothered by the fact that we were taking time out of their day. I am from a bigger town and businesses are not as concerned with every customer because there are so many people in the town, and coming through the town, so this was a pleasant change. It’s nice that the community wants to help each other out so much. The sense of community is apparent the second you walk into one of these businesses. The main thing I noticed was that the stores appreciate the community support and they use every chance they get to give back. We also learned about other ways that the two businesses gave back to the community. Goodwill sells everything it can and then the small percent of the things Goodwill is unable to sell it sends to third world countries. They try to throw out as little as possible. They also sell 85% donated goods and only 21% of profits go back into running the store. The rest of the profit goes back to the community and to charities. Our Wal-Mart tour was short and she was not able to tell us all the ways that Wal-Mart gives back to the community, but I learned that they recycle all of the boxes that the products are shipped in. They also have donated gift cards to local school teachers and donated food. This was a great way to learn about Menomonie and the town seems great so far.

– Erin P.

Goodwill gives people a place to buy good used items for a cheap price.  This helps people that can’t afford the closes at higher priced stores.  It also makes as little waste as possible by recycling the items as much as possible.  The store its self was very welcoming because it looked in good shape and was well kept.  Also, the prices for the items were welcoming.       Wal-Mart has numerous good in one convenient place which makes the community not have to travel to a lot of places for what they want.  It is a welcoming store because they have a good service there and you can find almost anything you want.  One dissuade thing about the store though is that it is so huge and would be hard to find anything for people who are going there for their first time.

– Michael O.

Goodwill contributes greatly to the Menomonie community.  Through my tour I learned that 94% of their products are recycled.  Leaving only 6% to be sent to the landfill.  That is a very impressive statistic in today’s society.  In order to be a non-profit organization 85% of Goodwill’s products must be donations.  I think it is really great that the Goodwill organization is so involved in the community.  They give out free vouchers for those that truly need things.  They also hold free clinics for people of the community.  I also think it is wonderful that only 20% of revenue goes back to the business.  The other 80% goes back out into the community.  Walmart also is a big contributor to the Menomonie area.  They recycle all their boxes, and there is a lot of them.  Recently, Walmart donated $3,000 to local elementary school teachers to help them buy school supplies.  Both of these great establishments really care about their employees and their community. I think that the Menomonie area is a very welcoming and wonderful area.  The sense of community really shines through in the businesses and people.  Just from my brief touring of a couple of the businesses of Menomonie, it is easy to see the caring and teamwork that happens in the inner workings of Menomonie.  It is so great that the businesses give back to the community just as much as the community gives back to the businesses.  I am happy to call myself a resident of this welcoming and open community for the next four years or so.

– Kara O.

After exploring through Goodwill and Wal-Mart I realized how much they actually contribute to the community. Goodwill helps locals who may not have the ability to get a job by providing them with one. Not only that, their products are not expensive which allows people from every class to afford it. Anything that is not sold at Goodwill is then donated to 3rd world countries which is another example of them giving back not only to the community but the world. Wal-Mart is also very good at working with the community and providing for all its needs. Last year Wal-Mart donated $3000 to local school teachers in gift cards for school supplies. This shows how Wal-Mart works both ways, we buy products from them and keep the businesses going and they give back to the community in different ways like donating money. Both stores are really into going green and try their best to recycle and donate everything they can we can only help the community. Overall I think Menomonie’s community is well rounded and willing to give back to the people. The city provides many things to do and along with that the essentials of everyday life which are often sold at Goodwill and Wal-Mart.

– Jamie W.

It was a great experience getting to see the behind the scenes of the Menomonie Wal-Mart and Good Will. Both businesses are accepted by the community because they provide jobs, recycle, and help support places such as schools in the Menomonie area. It was interesting to see the processes of keeping the businesses running, since my time in these stores is usually focused on getting my needs and leaving. Wal-Mart contributes to the community because it donates money to the school system. Good Will is a good place for recycling goods or buying items at a lesser price. Overall, Wal-Mart and Good Will are positive places in the Menomonie community.

– Alexandra O.

Community Garden & Phelan Park

Note: The Menomonie Community Garden had unfortunately been vandalized just prior to the student visits, something we did not know at the time of our visit and writing.

By definition we recognize a community to be a group of people living together in one area, but it also means those people getting together and practicing common ownership. That is essentially what a community garden is and does. It is a place for people of all ages and nationalities to grow not only plants but themselves as equals to one another. These gardens bring people together, away from cliques and friends, to meet new people and develop broader networks of friendship. This is why I enjoyed the garden, why I hope to support them in years to come.

– Tessa W.

Though arguably small, I feel that the Menomonie Community Garden contributes much to the city. Most obviously, it provides the space for those who otherwise don’t have the land to keep a garden. The garden is also a relaxing and overall pleasant spot for guests and residents alike to visit. Lastly, the garden helps promote a strong sense of community and sharing through a hobby that is otherwise largely done privately in one’s backyard.

The park’s contribution to the community is a little more subtle than the garden’s; it is simply a nice spot for people to rest and play. The park features a playground for kids, a small pond, a shaded pavilion where one can sit or have a picnic, and even a small skatepark for those who are slightly more “extreme.” A site doesn’t have to serve a practical purpose to be important or improve the quality of a community, which this park demonstrates.

– Austin W.

When you first enter the community garden it’s underwhelming.  It’s just a big, fenced in lot with a bunch of gardens at various levels of disrepair.  It’s similar to when you first enter Menomonie.  It’s just a small town with areas that have been struck hard by the economic downfall.  In both the garden and Menomonie, one has to look close to find what makes it great.

The garden promotes a sense of community within Menomonie, providing a space where everyone can come together in the same activity, but I think it represents the community more than in contributes to it.  Each of the garden plots had its own personality.

One lot has an adorable, hand painted sign in front that reads, “OuR 1st gArDen – Mid & ElteN”.  It’s not a particularly impressive lot, just a spattering of tomatoes and squash, distributed unevenly throughout the weed-infested dirt.  But the little shovel and hoe that are still lying within the lot give it a certain childish charm.  This lot could belong to the very same children who chalked street signs and road markers onto the sidewalk outside their house so they could pretend to drive on their bikes.

Another lot, one of the first you see when you enter the community garden, is a neatly organized flower garden.  Each flower has its own specific row and the back is lined with healthy green corn.  It’s a well-loved garden.  All the flowers are vibrant and blooming.  Perhaps it belonged to the individual in the community who had the brilliant red and white door that stands out against the bland siding.

Over all, the entire garden is just a small part of the community, but when you ask what it represents in the community, it becomes a thorough and in-depth explanation of the small town of Menomonie.

 Barb Y.

How does the community garden bring Menomonee a sense of community?

The community garden is a very nice location that is basically the definition of what a community should be. It is place where people come and work together to further a single purpose, in this case, a garden. The garden also does not single out whether a person has money or not because it is very cheap to buy a small plot of land. Plus, renting the plot shows that a person actually wants to be part of the community garden experience.

I really like the whole idea behind a community garden. It gives people a chance to do something that they normally would not be able to do, plus, with other people of the community. The thing that I really did not like was how bad in shape the whole place was. It looks like the community tried, but just not hard enough. The way it was could be a repercussion of the harsh summer it endured but, either way, it did not look up to par. I will give the gardens a break though, considering how it is only a few years old. I hope the community here can turn it around and make the gardens into what they were meant to be.

– Tyler W.

I think the idea of a Community Garden is very good, but in this situation it was not executed very well. Something is obviously not going right that most of the plants are dead and the garden isn’t all filled. I think it’s great that they give people an opportunity to grow fresh produce that otherwise wouldn’t be able to. A community garden is a good idea because it brings together people of common interest to form essentially, a community. The sunflowers were very impressive, the alive ones that is. I didn’t like that it felt as if the garden was abandoned. So, I think with a little upkeep it would be a great addition to the city of Menomonie.

The park was pretty cool, especially seeing the frogs and turtles. It was very peaceful and a great place for people of all ages, as was the garden.

– Jenna W.

I chose to do an acrostic poem because I had a bunch of random thoughts about our experience!

Cool Breeze
Our First Garden’ Sign
Many Signs of Fall
Multitude of Animals
Unidentified Plants
Neglected Gardens
Irrigation Systems
Tiny Watermelons
Yellow Marigolds

Giant Sunflowers
Abundance of Tomatoes
Red Peppers
Dried Corn Stalks
Empty Plots
Nice Flowers

– Hanah W.

The community gardens add to the community by luring citizens of similar interests to a place with a common goal. By allowing agriculture hobby people to grow plots side by side, it forces members to interact on a social basis with their hobby. The work required to maintain this garden will require teamwork, cooperation, and organization making all involved not only more connected but efficient. Finally, younger members of the garden can obtain valuable knowledge from older/more-experienced members. Essentially this pass down of knowledge would strengthen the community in a teaching sense.

I appreciate the fact that the community gardens is a good attempt to gather a community, especially one built on a farmer culture, to strengthen the connection members of the town have together. The fact is though; its progress has not been progressing well. Few plots are taken, and the ones that are, aren’t maintained as well as they should be.  Maybe it’s the fact that technology is turning our communities into house living, hermit hiding people who hide in the Internet and live through the digital characters of games. More initiative needs to be taken, and less reliance on the idea that people have sustained interest in holding a garden plot.

– Lucas Z.

My first impression of the area was the need of nurture. Menomonie is a small town that has the potential to be a better place and with each year, and that’s exactly was it achieves. The plants in the Community Garden tend to be neglected and it just ignited my want to grow something there. The playground was enjoyable and unleashed the child in me that figured college would be a time to grow into a mature adult for once. Luckily, I was disproven. I don’t find anything to dislike here in Menomonie, but it is different to see how much this community has to offer.

– Melissa W.

Spiritual Menomonie

Himalayan way,
Found a friend with free muffins,
Crashing church weddings.

– Brian S.

Silent, calm, and inviting with a smell of the Far East. For 10 years, one room in the Himalayan Meditation School has been like this, inspiring people to open their mind.
– Jennifer T.

The Spiritual Menomonie tour informed me that there are 25 different churches in town. We also learned about many different bible study options near campus. My favorite part was getting the chance to meditate and try tea at the meditation school.

– Alyssa S.

I do love muffins
meditation good for grades
squirrels are cool too

Public School
smell of Incense burned
Santji will show us the way
his house was nifty

Band Shell
It’s a shell for bands
Hands burn from the war of tugs
letting go is fun

– Tim S.

What we expected:

  • Learning about old buildings
  • Talking to every day church goers
  • Jesus

What we got:

  • Learning about unique, new places
  • Ten minutes of good-smelling silence
  • Chai tea

– Keaton V.

In and out, in and out. The pattern of my breathing was all that filled my head. Santji shared his belief that all you are is in your breathing. The meditation room, with the fragrant incense mixing with the cool breeze from outside the window, was a place of solace where his words were hauntingly true.

– Jeanette V.

Today we experienced many of the spiritual aspects of Menomonie. We learned about many of the Christian organizations including some others. It was a great introduction to the town and all together a good experience.

– Ray V.

Today I learned that there is a muffin lady that gives out muffins by Harvey Hall. Also that the old public school just off campus is a meditation center run by a Stout graduate. There are also many different ministries in the city of Menomonie.

– Alex V.

All you have is breath
Meditate to enlighten
And have some chai tea

– Chris S.

Free Muffins
The Muffin Lady
She is there every Monday
Too bad I have class

We just met Santji
He taught us meditation
He gave us some tea

– Michael T.

Govin’s Farm

Govin’s farm reminds me of home. The old blacktop roads surrounded by tall walls of corn leading to the farm feel comfortable and familiar. Directions on the promotional flyer, “Do not use a map or GPS program, you will not get here”, make me laugh as I remember friends who have made this mistake in attempting to reach my home in the past. As we exit the bus, four massive dogs greet us with tails wagging, followed by a small, excitable, black dog holding a Frisbee. We are introduced to the farm, then instructed to explore. We see alpacas with shaved backs, legs and heads left unshaved, that resemble emo-rock-stars; a small goat begs for attention as a miniature pony meanders along the back of the barn. A 740lb pig had given birth recently, and her young ones shuffle around a small pen filled with Oreos that the farmers were unsuccessfully using to convince them to race for an audience. An apple tree grows near the large “jumping pillow”; half of our group decides to check out the pillow as the other half heads towards the impressive 6-acre corn maze. The “jumping pillow” turns out to be a giant, inflatable, rubber pillow in a rink surrounded by sand and a gate. As one person jumps on one side of the pillow, the wave of air sends a person on the other side flying into the air. Jumpers learn to time leaps in order to jump the highest, rather than ending up on the wrong side of a bounce, legs locked, falling over. One of the farmers joins, and quite a comical sight ensues. As jumpers wear out, the mini-golf course next to the “jumping pillow” and apple tree obtains more players. After this, the original two groups switch places so both get equal chances to explore all of the different entertaining aspects of this farm that hosts not only corn, pumpkins, strawberries, and livestock, but a mini-golf course and a fantastic jumping pillow! After the hour-long visit ends, we leave hoping to return soon – what a great aspect of Menomonie to explore! A calming, family-friendly place to escape work and school for some fun or relaxation is surely a great asset to such a small Wisconsin town.

-Sierra C.

Govin’s Farm is a good representation of Menomonie’s community because the people (and animals) there make you feel welcome. Upon arriving, we were greeted with a group of dogs that were very friendly and playful. John and Julie Govin, the owners, also came up to greet us and went over the history of the farm with us. After that we were allowed to roam around and check out the different parts of the farm. About half of us went over to see the animals first and we saw alpaca, a goat, a miniature horse, sheep, and even pigs. Later on we went to the jumping pillow, which was lots of fun, played a round of mini-golf, and went through the corn maze. I loved being able to experience the fun Govin’s Farm had to offer because the whole atmosphere was inviting and I think people of all ages are capable of having a good time.

-Emma S.

When I was first told we were going to Govin’s Farm, I wasn’t very excited. What is at a farm to be excited about? There might be some animals or a barn or a vast expanse of land, but there wouldn’t be anything fun to do. I was never more wrong. At Govin’s Farm, there was a barn, animals, and a lot of land, but there was so much more! There was a corn maze designed to support the end of Alzheimer’s, pig races, a jumping pillow, a pumpkin cannon, mini golf, and so much more! Govin’s Farm definatley blew my expectations right out of the water and I would recommend every one to go there. I certainly will be going again!

-Sean D.

Placed a comfortable five or so minutes outside the main cluster of Menomonie businesses, Govin’s Farm provides the perfect fall get-a-way. Each year Govin’s dedicates their immense eight acre corn maze to charity or sport recognition by cutting specific pictures into their fields, this year’s charity being Alzheimer’s.  John and Julie, Govin’s owners, and their Pyrenees giants’ friendly faces invite all visitors onto their land to take part in the festivities that are the “jumping pillow”, vast array of farm animals, hay rides, miniature golf, and three acres of pumpkins weighing in at one to one hundred pounds. The environment is homey and the owners like longtime friends igniting the warmth for the fall season.

-Nicole Ca.

Govin’s farm is great experience with a large variety of things to do. There is a corn maze of enormous size. The corn is much taller than one would expect at a height of about 10-12ft tall and it provides a very interesting effect, really giving a better perspective on the size of corn. There are also a wide variety of animals at Govin’s Farm including pigs, goats, alpacas, chickens, a miniature pony, and a large flock of lamps as well as 5 very friendly dogs. There are many different things that they farm throughout the year such as their lamps, pumpkins, strawberries, and corn. Additionally they have a miniature golf course and a Giant Bounce Pillow which is amazing fun. The whole of Govin’s Farm is a great experience that is a must try as well as being a good representation of how Menomonie is fun, unique, and family friendly.

-Mitch C.

Did not know what to expect beforehand, but glad we got to go!  From petting the variety of animals such as baby pigs, sheep, alpaca, and more.  To a challenging corn maze, mini golf, a large group sized pillow trampoline, pumpkin patch, hay rides, and tons of other fun things to try.  It is the perfect place to take a group of friends, or to even go to with a date.  I would defiantly recommend this destination; nice people, lots to do, overall good time.

-Nicole Ch.

John and Julie Govin run a huge farm just outside of town. With many activities to choose from, such as a corn maze, jumping pillow, or playing with cute farm animals, the Govin family hopes to not only provide fun for their guests, but also to teach them something about agriculture. This place is super fun and definitely a place to visit while in Menomonie!

-Taylor D.


Our trip to the town of Downsville was filled with interesting facts about Dunnsville Sandstone and the International Office of Odd Fellows — a fraternity that built the building that is now a museum. Our guide, Chuck, let you walk around the building and look for different examples of marks that different tools made which helped get inside the minds of the men who build it and see what their processes were. The sandstone that was used to make the building was quarried just a bit south of the building, close to the Red Cedar River by the men who built it, so I can only imagine how much pride they had when they went to the lodge. It was a very good experience to learn more about the communities around Menomonie.

– Valerie H.

I found Downsville to be quite fascinating. My initial thoughts of the city were that it was just a cute, small town, quite similar to the small towns near my home.  Through speaking with Mr. Chuck my perspective of the town began to morph. I began to appreciate the previously unnoticed elements of the town. As a group, we mainly focused on the International Office of Odd Fellows building, which is currently a museum. Being interested in history and antiques, I found our group banter to be particularly thought provoking. With my father working in construction, I have heard many stories about the erection of different buildings, however I have never heard about how a building made of sandstone was built. I can really appreciate the craftsmanship that went into all the details of the fraternity, especially the ornate front of the building.

Other interesting tid-bits were from the area surrounding the museum. First, a log is on display representing the circumference of red cedar trees that was cut down in the late 1800s-early 1900s. Another interesting structure was a jail cell that was originally inside a building from a nearby town. And lastly, Mr. Chuck shared a story about men in town taking a hand cart down the Downsville tracks to get to and from the quarry. Overall the experience was a positive one; it was very educational and enjoyable.

-Abby G.

After visiting the International Office of Oddfellows in Downsville, I thought that the practices used in constructing the building were very interesting. We were shown the various tools and techniques used in constructing the Dunnsville sandstone into pieces for the building. I’ve taken from this experience knowledge of architectural techniques and practices of the period. Learning the history of the area removed some of the feelings of being in an unknown place and made me feel more at home. Overall it was a very educational experience and I enjoyed the outing.

 -Orlaith G.

The trip to Downsville was very interesting and extremely educational. We had a tour around a building known as the I.O.O.F or International Office of Odd Fellows. At one time, it was a frat/sorority house, but now it is being used as a museum for the town. The building is definitely an important monument to the town not only from the content in the museum itself, but also because of the exterior. The building was built completely from sandstone and our tour guide, Chuck, taught us about how the building was made and the history of the sandstone industry. I really enjoyed learning about how the use of sandstone was so important to the town and others also. It’s crazy to think how much time it would take to create and entire building from hand. I’ll definitely have to revisit the town again in the near future.

-Sean H.

Our group took a trip to the lumber museum in Downsville, where we learned the interesting history of the building from Chuck of the Dunn County Historical Society.  Formerly, the building housed the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a benevolent fraternity with a corresponding sorority called the Rebeccas.  The building was constructed to replace the first building that had burned down, and it is still standing.  It was made with hand-chiseled Dunnville sandstone, which was quarried right in the Menomonie area.  Chuck explained the types of chisels used, then we got to look at examples of the marks the chisels left on the building.  It was really cool to see the evidence of all the work that was put into the building.  We were also made aware of places on the building that were less ornate because when the building was constructed, areas like the back and some sides of the roof were not visible from the road.  Not decorating these areas seemed like a sensible, practical thing to do.  I really enjoyed learning about this building’s rich history, because I think that knowing a town or area’s history helps to give it character.  I definitely feel that this area has a lot of character and appreciated the opportunity to learn about Menomonie and the surrounding area.

-Roseynn F.

In our “City as Text” exploration, I enjoyed learning about an old fraternity house named “The International Office of Odd Fellows”. The tour guide, Chuck, was very insightful and tied fun facts and questions into the tour. Chuck taught us how and why the building was created and he definitely showed pride and compassion in his job. Introducing unique tools and pointing out specific details in the structure are some of the things Chuck helped us with. After being armed with knowledge and understanding of this building, it was very clear that it plays a significant role in the Downsville community. Chuck described the building with the pride of a man who had built it himself, and to me that deserves great appreciation.

– Kayla H.

Memorable Museum –

For the event “City as Text,” my group went to Downsville. We saw the lumber museum, which was previously used as the “International Office of Odd Fellows.” Chuck, our guide in Downsville, taught us how the building was created. We learned that the builders got the stone they used from a quarry only a few miles away. They also used several different tools to give the stone a specific look. Chuck had us look closer at the building and notice the small details that we would have missed at first glance. It was nice to realize how much the people of Downsville value their history, because they put a lot of effort into preserving such a beautiful building. I learned a lot from this trip and I hope I will be able to see the inside of the building in the future.

-Emily G.

Library and Lake Menomin


The public library of Menomonie is a wonderful aspect to the community. It provides a place for families and community members to use for both educational and entertainment resources. It offers several outdoor sitting areas overlooking the lake that are very calm and serene.

The lakeshore was a nice little area to get close to the lake. The lake itself was very green, but not as much as it has been in the past. I would like to revisit the lakeshore in the spring or summer to see the beautiful blue I have been told about. It is a great place for families to go for picnics and has a small dock you can fish off of.

Overall the library and lakeshore were both very pretty and relaxing and I would like to visit both of them in the future.


Lake Menomin, it was not a lake when the settlers arrived in this region, rather it is a result of the industry and lifestyle of those who first came. I had the privilege of experiencing the community, the paths, the streets and the places that they experienced. It may look different now, but there are still remnants of that powerful time of growth and expansion. I sat and looked at the marsh grass that I am sure they observed. I walked around the lake. I experienced what they experienced; they experienced what I experienced, and now, we are connected.


When at the library trying to decide what showed a sense of community, I was drawn to a sculpture of a seashell.  This sculpture was dedicated to those who have made donations to the library.  On the floor around it were the names of those who have donated.  Seeing the many names around the statue showed me how much this community cares about education and keeping books in their lives.

I would use the library as a place to relax.  Behind the library there is a bench overlooking the lake.  It was a very serene place.  It would be a great place to sit and think or do home work.  I can see myself spending a lot of time there while I am here at stout.


I think that the two places we went to really enhance the sense of community because they both are quite calm and peaceful sanctuaries that allow people to sit in a quiet place and relax. I have not used either of these places yet but plan to do so in the future to relieve stress in a quiet place.


The library and lake shore contribute to the sense of community here because they are accessible to everyone. They are places that the community can gather together and just enjoy the day.

I personally love to go the library because it’s a very quiet and welcoming place. It provides many books, magazines, cd’s, and movies to choose from. Having discovered the “secret garden” I will be visiting the library more often. I also enjoyed seeing the lake. The green color of the lake was very dissuading but it’s still a very beautiful view.


The library helps bring a sense of community to the area by being a place where one can organize meetings, and utilize the many resources available there. The lake serves as more of a quiet area, being a place where one can sever themselves from the community for a while.

I would utilize the lake and surrounding nature areas as a place to get away from school and other people when the load gets too much and I just need to get away for a little bit. It’s not the prettiest nature area I have ever seen, but it is close, and surprisingly quiet for its close location to the city.


I thought the library and lakeshore were places that I would feel comfortable going to for some alone time. To me, it seems that these places would feel like this to anyone, especially since in our group discussion we all said things like “peaceful” and “a place of serenity”. Therefore, these places could contribute to the community a place of escape. I would use these places to escape the busy noise of everyday life to get some alone time and just enjoy nature. Coming from a home where my only neighbors are trees, the lakeshore, with all of its natural beauty, is very welcoming. I would recommend anyone looking for a place to escape to go here and just enjoy nature for a little bit.



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