Paradise Springs; Eagle WI
This is a beautiful park open to the public. Part of the Kettle Moraine Forest, Southern Unit. It is also one of my very favorite places to go with or without anyone, day or night (when the park is open, that is).
Paradise Springs, aka Minnehaha Springs, documented history goes back to 1880 when it was owned by L.D. Nichols, who may have been associated with a circus. He owned it until 1900 and used the property to raise monkeys, peacocks, pheasants, and brook trout. One would assume the pheasant and fish were raised as food. One would hope the monkeys, were not!
I cannot find history of ownership from 1900 to 1927.
In 1927 Louis Petit bought the property and developed it, building a spring house, horse track, wading pool, 9-hole golf course, and a tennis court.
In 1932, Pabst brewing executive August "Auggie" Uihlein Pabst inherited the property from what I believe was his father-in-law, Louis Petit.
Future owners were Frank Fulton and Gordon David Mertens. Mr. Mertens gifted the property to the state. His grandson has a Paradise Spring Facebook page, in memory of his childhood visits. He often posts cool period pictures and history bits.
Through the years a luxury spa and hotel were built, as was a spring water bottling plant operating under the labels “Eagle Rock Springs Water", "Lullaby Baby Drinking Water”, "Minnehaha Water", and “Natural Spring Water”.
The hotel and bottling plant are long gone, I believe by fire. Foundations, steps, and sidewalks still exist.
Pics are from 2015. I do have pics from before then and as recent as this winter, but I can't find them at the moment. This visit revealed a very sad site. The dam had failed, and the trout pond was mostly drained. Today the dam has been repaired through donations and volunteer work. The pond is once again filled and is stocked and fishable. Water flow has returned through the dam spillway and over the waterfall.
Do you know this area? Drop me a line! I would a local to share info and explore with....
1. Dam spillway. The pump sitting there must have been revealed when the pond drained, and someone dragged it to the spillway. I had not seen that there before. It suffered from a broken connecting rod and must have been tossed in the pond at some point. Unknown if it is original to the property or not. The wooden structure is usually used as a bridge across the spillway for the nature trail that loops the trout pond.
2. This is the fishing pier. Must have a license and NO live bait allowed. The DNR will check and fine you! You can see the former water level on the pier pilings.
3. The wading pool. Still gravity fed by the spring pond, but I wouldn't wade in! Lots of frogs live around the pool...
5. This was a storage tank for fresh trout, served for dinner in the long gone hotel.
6. Another shot of the dam and spillway. Also shown is the remains of the power house, obviously driven by the falls.
7. The sidewalk and front walkway to where the hotel once stood.
8. Front steps and foundation wall of the former spring water bottling plant. I once found (30+ years ago) "Lullaby Baby" bottle caps way back beyond this site in a garbage pile. I no longer have them, and can't find the garbage pile anymore. I doubt the pile was removed, I either can't find it or nature has reclaimed it....
9. The old tennis and shuffleboard courts make for a picnic area today.
10. The trees surrounding this flood pool are growing on what was once the horse track!
11. The beautiful spring house. When I was very little (40yrs ago) there was an awesome copper dome roof over this. Some worthless waste of human space burned it down.
12. View of the spring fed trout pond from inside the spring house
13. Inside the spring house. This is fed by an Artesian aquifer, where deep ground water follows bedrock that slopes up to the surface. It has a constant 47f temp, year round. Ice cold, but warm enough that it does not freeze in the winter.
14. The low water level in the trout pond revealed more springs bubbling from the ground.
15. Another view of the fishing pier. The obvious man made wooden structures to either side once supported a walkway, and pier.
16. Opening to the spillway. Note the water line.
17. The spillway.
18. The spillway.
19. The pump with broken connecting rod. I would love to hear any and all info anyone may have to this piece!!