A Little Time and a Keyboard: Visiting the Dueling Waterfalls of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin

Friday, January 22, 2021

Visiting the Dueling Waterfalls of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin

Visiting the Dueling Waterfalls of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin

Wandering Around Waterfalls at Menomonee Falls

Looking for a little adventure on a winter day, we drove up to Menomonee Falls to gaze at waterfalls. We then trickled our way back to the Chicago area, stopping at a variety of hiking spots to savor some fresh air in short stints. My grandparents drove me all over Wisconsin as a child. However, I do not remember ever stopping in Menomonee Falls. So, I thought it would be fun to check out the waterfalls.

Winter framed waterfall at Leper Dam in Menomonee Falls.
Winter framed waterfall at Leper Dam in Menomonee Falls.

We began our adventure rambling along the Menomonee River. The natural falls at Menomonee Falls rumbles not too far from the manmade falls, thus presenting a little excursion most can enjoy.

A Gently Rolling River and Rocky Ledges

Wandering, we noted the sculpted edges of the river bank layered with rock ledges. Crystal icicles artfully dripped from the ledges.

Rock ledges and icicles frame the Menomonee River.
Rock ledges and icicles frame the Menomonee River.

A variety of vantage points allowed us to admire different angles of the river. A couple of bridges do cross between the two waterfalls. We did stand upon  one for a wonderful view.  I am not sure how long you can amble along the river in the summer. Ice and snow obstructed some areas, so we could not thoroughly explore.

History at Lime Kiln Park

We discovered the natural falls in Lime Kiln Park. Lime Kiln Park contains several preserved lime kilns standing as reminders of industry of the past. The Garwin Mace Lime Kilns were operated in the late 1800's. A limestone quarry at this site began in 1838. However, these particular kilns were constructed in the late 1890's.

Garwin Mace Lime Kilns in Menomonee Falls are remnants of a limestone quarry.
Garwin Mace Lime Kilns in Menomonee Falls are remnants of a limestone quarry.

The park offers a spectacular view of the namesake falls for Menomonee Falls! We were quite struck by the beauty of the falls. During on late December visit, the falls thundered on framed with snow and golden grasses. Such a peaceful moment!

Menomonee Falls' cauldron framed by frosty snow and golden grass.
Menomonee Falls' cauldron framed by frosty snow and golden grass.

Admiring Mill Pond Park

While the natural waterfall is actually the waterfall Menomonee Falls is named for, another waterfall tumbles from the Lepper Dam in Mill Pond Park. Once, a mill stood in the area of the park. Now, adventurers admire the beauty of the Menomonee River cascading over the dam.

The Menomonee River tumbles gracefully over Leper Dam.
The Menomonee River tumbles gracefully over Leper Dam.

The Mill Pond Park area has long been a focal point of Menomonee Falls. The original dam was constructed in 1851 to power a flour mill. When that dam washed out, M. F. Leper rebuilt the dam in 1886. The current Leper Dam was constructed in 1954 at the site of the 1886 dam. The 2.5-acre recreational area is a popular spot for outdoor fun and photos. In the 1940's-1950's the Village purchased the land. The Garden Club would mold it into a green space.

During our little road trip, I was unsure of what we would find. Our discovery certainly was fun and we quite enjoyed the scene especially with the signs of winter! I appreciated learning a little bit of history by uncovering the lime kilns! I would like to return in the near future to check out the local small businesses in the area as well as more history at Old Falls Village!

Visiting the Dueling Waterfalls of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin



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