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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This 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.
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.
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.