The Wisconsin frontier inspired many to tell stories about growing up in the wilderness. Carol Ryrie Brink captured some of her grandmother’s, Caroline Augusta Woodhouse’s stories about the period in her Newbery Award-winning book Caddie Woodlawn. Though some of the portrayals of Native Americans in the book are dated and misleading, the book offered a snapshot of the time.
Before Laura Ingalls arrived at the Little House in the Big Woods, Caroline “Caddie” Woodhouse lived in the Wisconsin woods and grew up living side-by-side with Native Americans. Her father, John V. Woodhouse is listed in tax and property records at the county courthouse as having received a grant of ownership signed by Abraham Lincoln.
In 1970, the Dunn County Historical Society established the Caddie Woodlawn Historical Park by moving the original 1856 house in which Caddie Agusta Woodhouse lived to a five-acre park. The area was once Caddie’s father’s original 160 acres of land. The house is a bit smaller than it was in Caddie’s time, with the wing including a kitchen and attic having been removed.
The house includes several posters to help visitors get a better understanding of life on the homestead. The park also includes a rough-hewn log cabin and a memorial “Erected in memory of pioneer children who perished and were buried in unmarked graves on the frontier.”
Know Before You Go
The Caddie Woodlawn Historical Park is located nine miles south of Menomonie, WI on Highway 25 and is open during daylight hours from spring to fall.