Letters to the editor graphic for the web

What do you remember growing up in Menomonie in the ‘50s and ‘60s? Summers spent at Wakanda Park, fishing crappies at Evergreen Cemetery, band concerts at Wilson Park, riding bikes for hours out Co. Rd. J, watermelon slices at Stout. Sound familiar?

What about walking the Red Cedar trail, ice fishing on Lake Menomin or searching for books at the public library?

All of these activities bring back special memories, but the one place in Menomonie that captured our entire family’s heart was the Mabel Tainter. I’m not exactly sure how this happened, but when we heard about the campaign for the Mabel Tainter, the three of us wondered why this beautiful, historic building continues to inspire us even though we haven’t lived in Menomonie for quite a while.

We talked about a “mysterious place, full of wonderful adventures!” We remembered the high ceilings, the stained glass windows, the stacks of books, the sliding ladder, the round table with the center heater, the card catalog - all under the guidance of rather somber librarians—the Pinkepank sisters.

From Nancy Drew to the Hardy Boys, from sports stories to biographies to the Encyclopedia Britannica. What an incredible introduction to the “outside world” we all had.

As we grew older, the theatre behind those heavy wooden doors became of greater interest to us and brought even more memories: The Mabel Tainter hosted high school plays and concerts, and even our parents acted in community productions—Dad as Captain Tainter in Bequest for Tomorrow, and Mom as Mary Todd Lincoln in Black Friday. Were you ever on stage or did you work backstage?

So many friends involved in acting, writing and producing—and inspiring: Barbara Gavin, John Russell, Doris Harmston Cronk, and others who loved theatre and the arts and who brought them alive for everyone who came through those doors.

By now, we are certain your own memories of this community treasure have taken over. All of us have a unique opportunity to help this local, historic treasure become debt-free! With your financial support, we can join with others to retire the remaining $95,000 of debt, and use valuable resources for programming that will create memories for generations to come.

Please join in Passing the Memories On! To donate:

To pay online, go to the Support butt on at www.mabeltainter.org and click on $95,000 Debt Elimination. Make checks payable to: Mabel Tainter. Mail to: Mabel Tainter Debt Relief, 205 Main Street, Menomonie, WI 54751.

—Judy Ruehl Cole, Geri Ruehl Evans, Jim “Nick” Ruehl and Philip “Bill” Ruehl (deceased), Menomonie

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