In 1979 about half the residents in Menomonie were students at University of Wisconsin Stout. We spent 1979-80 there studying and
working. We learned about Stout because one of Annette’s colleagues at the University of Botswana received a US Government fellowship
for graduate work, and combing the college catalogues, she found Stout offered the most practical applied masters programmes.
This is the “main drag” through town.
The town was big enough to have all the usual clubs and churches.
Most homes were very large wooden buildings. This is a typical house.
Winters could be very hard, and the lowest temperature when we were there was – 27 C. The poor insulation
of ceilings and attics showed when melting snow on the roofs filled the gutters and froze to icicles like these.
We lived in a small apartment for students, only ten minutes walk from the campus. Typical US student car parking at the time.
We had a furnished flat with living room and two bedrooms, plus large kitchen. We had to improvise book shelves with bricks and boards.
We did not have a car, but two bicycles that we used in town as well as to go out into the country side.
Grilling on the landing outside the flat, overlooking a canyon.
The landscape was flat, and full of farms. There were many small diaries, and we often bought fresh cheese curds from them.
They are pale lumps of unaged cheddar – a local specialty – and lost their texture in the days it took to get to the supermarket.
Countryside around Menomonie.
Corn was a very common crop, both sweet corn and grain for animals.
4th of July celebration, which included a competition between fire departments from small towns nearby.
A half barrel, normally used for beer, should be “pushed over” by hitting it with water from the fire hoses.
We managed once to paddle on the Red Cedar River, a tributary to the Mississippi.
Lake Menomin, a recreation area at the edge of town.
Menomonie was hit by a tornado touchdown one summer evening. Winds came up to 55 m/s, and about one third of all trees in town were lost.
We were at a lecture on campus and sheltered in the basement of a big building.
There was no electricity and trees and power lines were down. It was difficult to get home in the dark
that night. We had no electricity for one day, but parts of town were out for many days. Some of the
supermarkets sold off or gave away their frozen food and the army came in to distribute fresh water.
A trailer park was badly hit.
No farm escaped damage, but most were not so serious.
It was difficult to see how this old barn could be rescued.
Worst hit was a community near Eau Claire. The wooden homes could not withstand the strong wind and many lost their homes.
One kind of housing that became popular was earth sheltered housing, like this. It could withstand tornadoes
and was less likely to get burgled as the backside, where burglars most often break in, was protected by earth.
A reflection of the landmark of the university, Bowman Hall.