Tuesday, October 16, 2018

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UW-Stout professor illustrates republished 1913 fairy tale

Dunn County Historical Society brings to life former Menomonie High School student's writing

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    Dunn County Historical Society’s collections manager Sofi Doane, left, and Holtby Museum educator Melissa Kneeland display the original edition of The Menomite, a 1913 high school literary magazine.

    Contributed photo

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    Erik Evensen included in his illustrations historical places in Menomonie, including the Louis Smith Tainter House, shown here, for the fairy tale “The Devil’s Punch Bowl.”

    Contributed photo

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MENOMONIE — A 1913 fairy tale about the origin of a natural wonder near Menomonie, along with new artwork by a UW-Stout artist, is the subject of a book to be published by the Dunn County Historical Society.

“The Devil’s Punch Bowl” was written by Isabelle Waterman, then a Menomonie High School student, for the school literary magazine The Menomite. 

For the new book of the same title, Erik Evensen, a UW-Stout assistant professor in the department of design, created new illustrations for the fairy tale. 

The illustrations feature sites around Menomonie, including the UW-Stout clock tower and Louis Smith Tainter House and the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts.

The illustrations have a steampunk influence, Evensen said.

“That is my way of bringing in history and fantasy,” Evensen said. “Steampunk sort of bridges the gap of history and fantasy, particularly in the Victorian Era. Steampunk is full of history recognized in a fantastical way.”

Sofi Doane, the Dunn County Historical Society’s collections manager, found a copy of The Menomite earlier this year. 

Waterman’s fairy tale is a magical and mystical story of how the Devil’s Punch Bowl originated. 

The 2.9-acre Devil’s Punch Bowl is located on 410th Street about four miles southwest of Menomonie. 

It has a waterfall, forest vegetation and many bird species and is a naturally carved rock formation with depressions resembling a bowl shape.

“I was awed that over 100 years ago people were seeing the Punch Bowl as a magical place,” Doane said. 

There are stories of gnomes, trolls, ghosts and fairies being spotted at the Punch Bowl, Doane said. She questioned whether the 1913 story may have been the origin behind those.

The book will go on sale Dec. 1 at the Rassbach Heritage Museum gift shop in Wakanda Park. 

The cost will be $7 for the full-color, seven-page book. All proceeds will benefit other historical society programs.

Melissa Kneeland, Holtby Museum educator with the historical society, said the story is fun and suitable for children. Teens and adults will favor the illustrations.

“The writing is romantic and in the tradition of classic fairy tale literature,” Kneeland said. “This celebrates the writing of a high school student from Menomonie more than 100 years ago with vivid illustrations. It captures the imagination that we can bring a student’s work to life all these years later. It feels special.”

Waterman died in 1978 at age 80 in Madison. 

The Menomite is believed to only have been published in the 1912-13 school year.

Contact: 715-556-9018, pamela.powers@ecpc.com, @MenomonieBureau on Twitter

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