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From the files

The trunk of a dead burr oak in Cedarama Park in Menomonie will have a rebirth this month when Grizz Works wood sculpture transforms it into a work of art.

135 Years

Saturday, Sept. 6, 1884

William Barnes, the popular butcher of Cedar Falls reports that a few weeks ago a young man, a stranger, came to him and sought employment. The young fellow seemed to be needy and was given work, proving himself to be willing and apparently faithful in all things. But one morning he was missing, and so were fifteen or twenty dollars from the till and a coat and a pair of pants belonging to Mr. Barnes’ nephew. “ Which is why we remark and our language is plain,” that William hath blood in eye, and a yearning in his heart to lift the capillary substance of the unfaithful servant, whose name is William Hatton.

Mr. John D. Anderson, of town of Red Cedar, made our mouths water by the exhibition of what he claims to be the biggest watermelon ever grown in Dunn County.

125 Years

Friday, Sept. 7, 1894

A strange story comes from Menomonie concerning one of our former citizens- J.F. Ronneberger. A number of years ago a boy who was living with Mr. Ronneberger, who by the way lives near Rusk, and about five or six miles from Menomonie, mysteriously disappeared and could not be found although diligent search was made for him by Mr. Ronneberger and others. According to the current report his remains have been recently found in an old well on the Ronneberger premises and Mr. ronneberger has been arrested charged with the murder of the boy. How much of the story is true or how little we are unable to say. To convince any of Mr. Ronneberger’s old neighbors that he is guilty of murder, however, would be a very difficult task. It is a very improbable story in their estimation.—Mondovi Herald.

An examination in justice court, instigated by Mr. Ronneberge himself, has established the fact that all the evil rumors and charges of murder are without foundation and have their origin in the spiteful and malicious heart of some villainous member of the community. We can assure the Herald that Mr. Ronneberger is all right.

100 Years

Thursday, Sept. 4, 1919

Saves little girl but is run over — Harvey K. Snively Struck by Auto on Sixth Street — Car Is Driven Rapidly Away.

By dashing out into the street in front of a rapidly approaching automobile Thursday afternoon, Harvey K. Snively saved his little daughter, 3½ years old, from being run over and killed but was himself struck by the car. knocked down and run over. Both wheels passed over his right ankle, inflicting a compound fracture and he is now confined to his home with his ankle in a cast. Little Frances Mary, the daughter, was struck by the car and considerably bruised.

The car dashed on, never stopping turned the corner on Sixth street into Main and disappeared. No clue has been obtained as to the identity of car or driver.

The block where the accident occurred is one of the most dangerous in the city. A stream of cars comes from the south toward Main and vice versa and the practice of parking along the east side of the street makes a very narrow thoroughfare. It has been suggested that the council adopt and enforce parking regulations, requiring parking to be done in certain places or areas and limiting the time the same car can remain parked in one spot.

75 Years

Wednesday, Sept. 2, 1944

Monthly salary Increases for the chief of police and policemen, and a 24-hour call service at police headquarters were recommended to the city council in a report from the Menomonie Police and Fire commission that was read Tuesday evening at the weekly session of the council.

Reading of the recommendation brought forth a ripple of informal discussion from the aldermen that resulted in leaving it to Mayor Bakken to find out when the commission holds its next. meeting, then notify the aldermen and have a joint session of the city council and the police and fire commission, to go further into the merits of the proposals set forth in the communication.

While nothing from the discussion that it provoked went on record, it was stated by one of the aldermen that to put on a 24-hour service at the police station would mean adding three men to the police department and apparently there were other things about the proposal’s that the aldermen wanted to know more about before they took action.

Inquiry brought out that the present pay of the chief of police is $120 a month, with an allowance of $10 a month for the use of his car. Present pay of policemen is $115 per month.

50 Years

Wednesday, Sept. 3, 1969

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Fire department, sheriff’s authorities and the state fire marshall are investigating a rash of fires that kept the city firefighters busy early Tuesday morning. It is believed to be the work of an arsonist. The first alarm was sounded when a caller notified the department that a vacant house owned by Ruben Shellhouse, Rt. 2, was on fire. While firemen were battling the Shellhouse blaze, it was reported the former Ney Schoolhouse, Rt 1, was on fire and department vehicles were dispatched there. The third fire was discovered while the schoolhouse blaze was being fought. A fireman noticed the vacant Adams house, Rt 1, just across the town road from the schoolhouse was on fire. While the firemen were still battling the school house and Adams fires, a barn owned by Walter Kuester, Rt. 6, broke into flames. A vacant house on the Kuester property was also intended to be a victim of the arsonist, but the flames went out before the structure caught on fire.

All off duty firemen were called to fight the blazes and all but one of the department’s trucks were pressed into use. In addition bulk trucks owned by Lyle Rowley and Maurice Howe were used to haul water.

25 Years

Sunday, Sept. 4, 1994

The sale of Dunn County Bancshares, Inc., owner of the Bank of Menomonie, to Bremer Financial Corporation, a St. Paul based bank holding company, was finalized Thursday, according to Eugene J. Heymana Jr., immediate past president of Dunn County Bancshares and Ae Bank of Menomonie, and Michael R. Ginter, chief executive officer of First Amencan Bank Wisconsin. Dunn County Bancshares was owned totally by the families and heirs of Eugene J, Heynans Sr. and Dr. Louis D.Mersch, who purchased the bank in 1963, while First American Bank Wisconsin is owned by Bremer Financial Corporation. With the transaction finalized, Heymans has retired and is succeeded by Ginter, who moved here from Amery. Corporate offices of the bank were also transferred here from Amery. Acquisition of the Bank of Menomonie, which had assets of some $70million, gives First American Bank Wisconsin total assets of $280 million. Ginter said the name, Bank of Menomonie, will be retained until Monday, Oct. 24, when the Bank of Menomonie and First American Bank will merge. “Merger is completely different from acquisition, which occurred last week,” Ginter explained.

First American Bank Wisconsin now has 17 banks in 14 communities, Ginter said. Three of the banks are in Menomonie—downtown, North Menomonie and East Menomonie.

15 Years

Sunday, Sept. 5, 2004

Ifs official! Menomonie will have a bowling alley! It will be located in the southern portion of a structure now identified as the Thunderbird Mall. That happening — rumored for use several months — became reality last Thursday afternoon when the Board of Zoning Appeals granted Jay Williamson and David White, of J.D. Acquisitions, permission to operate a bowling alley at 1501 North Broadway. Williamson, owner of Southside Management is Real Estate, and a White, president of J & J Electric, are the new owners of the mall, purchasing it from United Joint Ventures of Newton Falls, Ohio. The transaction was finalized on Friday, Aug. 27. Besides the bowling alley, their immediate plans including filling potholes in the parking lot and placing a new roof on the structure. Although they purchased the “interior” of the bowling alley operated by Dick and Gloria Snyder, they plan to use only the automatic scoring system, which is one year old, in their new 20-lane facility. Otherwise everything will be new — synthetic lanes, pin setter and pins.

The new bowling alley, which patrons will enter from the west side of the mall, has been named Gusto’s Gridiron Bowl. Explaining the name choice, they said: “Gusto,” vigorous enjoyment; “Gridiron,” a sports playing field; “Bowl,” to roll a ball in bowling.

10 Years

Sunday, Sept. 5, 2009

Art to emerge from old oak tree in Cedarama Park. For some time, the stark remains of a once regal oak along the Menomin Lake bank have captured my attention. A headless wonder, the tree stands with limbs outstretched, like arms reaching to the heavens as if asking “What now?”

At first I wondered why the dead tree in the well-kept Cedarama Park was not removed during the tree-trimming period. But as the seasons changed and the true silhouette emerged, I was reminded of an opportunity that Hurricane Katrina presented in New Orleans, when a wood carver turned similar tragic remnants into beacons of beauty as a way to honor the past and mark the pathway of future.

Now, thanks to the City of Menomonie Urban Forestry Board, such will be the case in Menomonie. Following a presentation about a tree carving opportunity by Joe Jax, City of Menomonie Urban Forestry Board member, letters of support for the concept were received by The Greater Menomonie Area Community Foundation

Urban Forestry Board to create a work of art out of a dead oak tree instead of adding it to the woodchip pile.

GMACF has since awarded a partial grant of $1,700 to do the work. The total estimated cost is $3,400, And donations are currently being sought to assist in the completion of the project scheduled for the middle of this month. Grizz Works Wood Sculpture based in Maple, Wis., has been selected to carve the sculpture to preserve the historic oak’s place in the future of the landscape of Menomonie. Based on suggested themes, several designs have been sketched, incorporating an homage to the city’s founders: a lumberjack and an eagle that overlooking Cedarama Park and Lake Menomin. Justin Howiand of Grizz Works, has been commissioned to develop the carving, which will take between three and four days to complete.

5 Years

Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014

“Castle” still stands all over Elk Mound.

Sitting as it does on what is reportedly the second highest point in Wisconsin, the view from the “castle” that overlooks the village of Elk Mound is truly an awe- inspiring sight. The 1,220-foot mound from which the imposing tower rises is believed to have been the place where the war council of the Chippewa and Black Hawk Indians once met. There are also rumors that a herd of elk once roamed the hill, giving the village its name. In 1933, Louis and Marie Nelson deeded the hill to the village and Dunn County to create what is known as Elk Mound Park. To give men work during the Depression, the road to its summit was built mostly by hand using picks, shovels and wheelbarrows under the aegis of the Works Progress Administration. WPA workers also built fireplaces on the hill well as picnic tables and, of course, outhouses.

The “castle” was constructed during the summer of 1938. Topped by an observation deck, the three-story tower included a kitchen with cookstoves and dining room. Both featured sliding glass windows with screens. Although those amenities were destroyed over the years by vandals, the sturdy structure remains a treasured landmark. Closed in 1953, Elk Mounds Boy Scout Troop 71 spent two years cleaning the park which was reopened in 1959. Liability concerns caused the area to be closed to the public once again in 1987. Thanks to diligent work students in May 1994 by the village board and high school, safety features like guard railings were installed, ensuring that Elk Mound’s castle and surrounding park remain accessible to all.

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