History of Wisconsin Dells


The history of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin dates back to the Native American tribes that first inhabited the area. The Ho-Chunk Nation, also known as the Winnebago tribe, was the primary tribe in the region. They called the area "Kee-waw-nay" or "the dells," which is where the city gets its name.

The first European settlers arrived in the early 1800s, primarily consisting of farmers and lumberjacks. The area was known for its rich timber resources and fertile soil, which made it an attractive place to settle. The Wisconsin River, which runs through the city, was also an important transportation route for the settlers.

In the mid-1800s, the city began to attract tourists due to its natural beauty. The Wisconsin Dells became famous for its sandstone cliffs, scenic waterfalls, and picturesque views of the river. The first tourist attraction, a small museum, was built in 1856, and it was soon followed by other attractions such as boat tours, hotels, and restaurants.

In the late 1970s and into the 1980s, the city began to develop more elaborate tourist attractions, such as theme parks, water parks, and indoor water parks. One of the most popular attractions was the Dells Boat Tours, which took visitors on a scenic tour of the Wisconsin River and the sandstone cliffs.

In the early 1900s, the city continued to attract tourists from all over the country. The city was also known for its natural beauty, which was the main attraction for many visitors. The city has many attractions such as the Tommy Bartlett Water Ski Show (Sadly now closed) and the Original Wisconsin Ducks which are still popular today.

During the Great Depression, the city struggled as tourism decreased and many businesses closed. However, the city was able to recover due to the efforts of local business leaders and the tourism industry. In the 1940s, the city began to see a resurgence in tourism, as more and more visitors came to the area to enjoy its natural beauty and attractions.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the city continued to attract visitors, but the focus of tourism shifted from natural beauty to more man-made attractions. The city began to see the construction of large amusement parks, such as the famous Noah's Ark Water Parks and Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the city continued to attract visitors, but the focus of tourism shifted again, this time to indoor water parks. The city became home to the first indoor water park, the Polynesian Water Park Resort, which was a huge success and set the trend for other indoor water parks in the area.

Today, Wisconsin Dells is known as the "Waterpark Capital of the World" and attracts over 3 million visitors annually. The city is home to over 20 water parks, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Midwest. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, from water slides and lazy rivers to wave pools and kiddie pools. The city also offers a wide range of other attractions, such as theme parks, museums, and historic sites, making it a popular destination for families and visitors of all ages.

In conclusion, the history of Wisconsin Dells is rich and varied. From its origins as a Native American village to its development as a popular tourist destination, the city has undergone many changes over the years. Today, it remains a popular destination for visitors from all over the world, known for its natural beauty and wide range of attractions. The city is a great example of how tourism can shape a city and its economy, and it continues to be an important contributor to the state of Wisconsin's economy.  Kimball Realtors would be happy to help you find a vacation home or primary residence anywhere in the Wisconsin Dells area.

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