Downsville Community Museum

The mission of the Downsville Community Museum is to record, preserve and promote the history of our community and to provide educational programs and opportunities.

On January 27,  2015 The Township of Dunn purchased the Empire in Pine building, also known as the Oddfellows Hall, from Dunn County.

The Town Board formed a committee to open the building. The building was inspected and is in good shape.  Before Downsville Days 2015 the committee, along with some generous volunteers, cleaned the building, painted the downstairs and refinished the floor.

In the Fall of 2015 a new sidewalk was poured along the east-side of the building and we now have a Free Library installed along the East side of the museum.

By Christmas 2015 all new windows were installed upstairs.

In 2016 the upstairs was painted and the Downsville Community Museum is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day each year and also opened for special occasions.

This building is owned by the people in The Township of Dunn, Dunn County, Wisconsin.  The committee is open to your suggestions.

Downsville Community Museum
E4541 County Road C
Downsville, Wisconsin  54735

Feel free to e-mail us: museum@downsvillecommunitymuseum.com

  • Suzanne Messa: 715-664-8374
  • Vicki Price: 715-664-8499
  • Lynnette Smith: 715-664-8783
  • Luisa Fumagalli: 715-664-8890
  • Forrest Johnson: 715-664-8688
  • John Miller: 715-664-8532
  • Arlene Cartwright: 715-664-8564

Photo Gallery

The Knapp and Stout Company

The Knapp and Stout Company

Logging was very important in the 1800’s, and the years before, all over the world. Logging employed thousands of people to help make houses and other buildings for everyone as the central part of the United States developed.
Wisconsin also needed logging companies so it could develop. The Knapp, Stout and Company was the biggest logging company around this area. It was owned by John Holly Knapp and William Wilson. It once was the best logging company anywhere.

In 1846 William Wilson and John Holly purchased half of a small mill owned by David Black. This mill was located in Menomonie, Wisconsin. Until 1850 it was named the Black and Knapp Mill. About three years later another gentlemen named Henry Stout purchased the other half from Black, and from then on the mill was called Knapp, Stout and Company.

Menomonie became a huge trading site for the mill. The mill employed over 2,000 people from Menomonie and other small area towns. By the 1870’s, the company had grown to become the largest lumbering operation in the world. In 1878 they had control of the Red Cedar Valley. Other communities helped the company by putting up dams around the company dams. Cities involved in helping were Cedar Falls, Downsville, Prairie Farm, and others.

Between the 1870’s and the late 1890’s the company processed approximately 85 million board feet of lumber. The rivers that the company used are the Mississippi, Red Cedar, and Chippewa River. They sent their lumber as far south as St. Louis, Missouri. They used some steamboats, to guide rafts down the river so that they wouldn’t lose a lot of the lumber.

They had three different offices on the Mississippi River. The location of the offices were Dubuque, Iowa, Read’s Landing, Minnesota, and St. Louis, Missouri. Around the 1900’s Knapp, Stout and Company moved their production line further south to Arkansas and Missouri. The main reason for their move was that the logging in earlier times in Wisconsin, had considerably diminished the forest, and the new area had better forests.

In 1888 John Holly Knapp died, and his son John III, his siblings, and their mother took over for him. In 1949 the children gave their estate to the Eau Claire Diocese as a memorial to their parents. The house in Menomonie still stands and is now known as Bundy Hall on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

By Amanda Kircher with information from http://discover-net.net/~dchs/history/exbundy.htlm in March of 1999.

Caddie Woodlawn

Caddie Woodlawn

Caddie Woodlawn is a children’s historical fiction novel by Carol Ryrie Brink which received the Newbery Medal in 1936 and a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958. The original edition was illustrated by Newbery award winning author and illustrator Kate Seredy. Macmillan released a later edition in 1973, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman.

Plot

Set in the 1860s, it is about a lively eleven-year-old tomboy named Caroline Augusta Woodlawn, nicknamed “Caddie”,  living in the area of Dunnville, Wisconsin. As a young girl she made the journey from Boston to Dunnville with her family, one which nearly cost her life. Sickly and weak, she is allowed to run wild with her brothers, Tom and Warren, to regain her health. They spend much of their time exploring the woods and rivers that surround their farm. The book opens with Caddie, late for dinner after an excursion to visit the local Indian tribe, embarrassing her mother with her antics. She, undaunted, spends the next year having a string of adventures and scares. From a midnight ride through the forest to warn her friend “Indian John” that the settlers are planning an attack, to a prairie fire that brings out the best in Obediah, a schoolhouse bully, to a life-threatening fall through a lake while ice skating, her life is far from boring. Things come to a head when “perfect” Cousin Annabelle from Boston arrives for a visit and Caddie is forced to confront her future. Tom and Warren, always a part of her adventures, come along for the journey. This story is full of practical jokes and touching moments like the long journey home of Nero, a beloved pet. It is the true story of a family’s existence on the frontier during the Civil War, and offers insights into how life was lived in a small Wisconsin village where fear of local Indians was a reality and life and death situations arose with frightening regularity. The sequel, Magical Melons (1939), continues the story of Caddie and her family.

Author’s Background

Brink was born and raised in Moscow, Idaho, in the Palouse region. Orphaned at age eight, following her mother’s suicide, she lived in Moscow with her widowed maternal grandmother and an unmarried aunt. The grandmother had grown up on a farm in Wisconsin. In a preface to the later edition of Caddie Woodlawn, she said the books were partly based on the life of her grandmother, Caddie Woodhouse Watkins (1853–1940) ]and her siblings: older sister Clara, older brother Tom, younger brother Warren, younger sisters Hetty and Minnie, and baby brother Joe.

The house where Caddie lived is now a historical site, about 12 miles (19 km) south of Menomonie, Wisconsin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

History of Dunn County

History of Dunn County

Though originally home to Santee Dakota and Ojibwe native people, jurisdiction over the land that comprises Dunn County has been claimed by Spain, France, England and the United States. As smaller territories were formed from the Northwest Territory of the United States (Northwest Ordinance, 1787), that same land was a part of the Indiana Territory (1800-1805), the Michigan Territory (1805-1809), the Illinois Territory (1809-1836) and finally the Wisconsin Territory.

Dunn County was created from a portion of Chippewa County on February 19, 1854, and at the time included all of the present Dunn and Pepin Counties (formed in 1858). Its present-day boundaries encompass some 858 square miles. Prior to 1854, all or parts of the land in Dunn County had been part of Chippewa, St. Croix or Crawford Counties for various periods.

The county is named for Charles Dunn, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Wisconsin Territory (1836-48), who was appointed by President Andrew Jackson.

Dunn County’s “Seat of Justice” was at Amos Colburn’s at or near the ferry across the Red Cedar River near its mouth at Dunnville. The courthouse in Dunnville burned to the ground in October 1858. After several months of moving from place to place, the county seat was moved to Menomonie on January 1, 1861.

Dunn County Wisconsin has a rich history and many historical sites to explore.

From the 1925 Curtiss-Wedge history of Dunn County