THE CADDIE CONNECTION: Historic Caddie Woodlawn Park Has a Literary Past
park features 1800’s-era house that was home to family who inspired beloved children’s book
A scenic spot a few miles outside Menomonie in also a notable historic park named for a much-loved children’s book character. Known not just for its picturesque outdoors charm, Caddie Woodlawn Historical Park is operated by the Dunn County Historical Society. It is perhaps best known as the onetime home to Caroline Augusta Woodhouse, or “Caddie,” who inspired the title character from the 1935 Newbery Award-winning children’s book, Caddie Woodlawn.
For folks who have read the beloved book, Caddie Park will hold a specific allure as the site of the Woodhouse family’s 1856 home. The park was dedicated to Caddie more than 50 years ago. The dedication ceremony featured the book’s author, Carol Ryrie Brink, granddaughter of the real-life Caddie.
At the ceremony, Brink thanked the community, saying her grandmother would have been proud. “There is something firm and stable in a community that values its past,” she said. “It makes me happy to know that my grandmother will always be remembered in Wisconsin as part of that cherished past.”
Though it was moved from its original site a few hundred yards away, the park is part of Caddie’s father’s 160-acre farm. In fact, the original Woodhouse patriarch, John V. Woodhouse, acquired official land ownership via papers signed by Abraham Lincoln himself.
In addition to the house, which is free to tour, the park includes a log cabin and a covered picnic area with restrooms and running water. The historic park is open during daylight hours from spring through fall, and is located about nine miles south of Menomonie at N1250 Highway 25.
Check out the Dunn County Historical Society website’s Caddie Woodlawn Historical Park page for more information and travel directions.