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

Historical Sites

The Russell J. Rassbach Museum

The Rassbach Museum tells intriguing, ever-changing stories of an area of Wisconsin with a long and rich history — from the mound builders of a thousand years ago to Dunn County’s friendly communities of today. And our Fulton’s Workshop, new in 2018, is an interactive space for people of all ages to learn, marvel and make.
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.


Caddie Woodlawn Historical Park

This historical park is a popular destination to visit in Dunn County. Visitors who have read the award winning children's book Caddie Woodlawn are in for a treat. You can visit the house where Caroline Augusta Woodhouse, the young girl who inspired the book Caddie Woodlawn, lived.
  • This scenic park also has a covered picnic area, restrooms, and fresh water. This is a great location for school field trips or a weekend stop.
  • Open during daylight hours spring through fall.
  • Are you interested in planning an event or gathering at the park? Is your scout troop interested in earning a Caddie Woodlawn Participation Patch? Contact 715-232-8685 for more information.
  • The Caddie Woodlawn Historical Park and wayside is located nine miles south of Menomonie on Highway 25.


Red Cedar State Trail – Depot Information Center


Downtown Historic District -- Menomonie

  • Bowman Hall, 1897, UW-Stout
  • Harvey Hall, 1917, UW-Stout
  • Louis Smith Tainter House, 1889, UW-Stout
  • Mabel Tainter Memorial, 1890


Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts


Wilson Place Mansion


Colfax Railroad Museum


For more information on locations, exhibits and online exhibits please visit the
Dunn County Historical website or stop in for a visit.