war veteran, Joel Foster, is credited as the founding father
of River Falls. He and his black indentured servant, Dick,
built a log cabin with a root cellar along the banks of
the Kinnickinnic River, about a half mile south of the falls
in the winter of 1848-49. That was the first official year
of the River Falls settlement.
What's happened since then would certainly astonish Joel
Foster, if he could come hunting and fishing his way down
the St. Croix Valley today, as he did over 150 years ago.
that matter, the University itself would be new to an old-timer
like Joel. River Falls' population swells up a bit during
the school year, as 6000 UW-RF students roll into town in
the fall. In 1999 the university celebrated it's 125th anniversary.
Chippewa Valley Technical College is also in town, as are
three elementary schools, a middle school (soon to expand to
two middle schools and a high school (the new $27 million
high school that opened in the fall of
2001, complete with auditorium and eight-lane competitive
Falls is rich in recreational resources. There is a local
Apple Orchard and about
a dozen parks in the city, including 100-year old Glen Park
with 35 acres and a pool and Hoffman Park with 53 acres
and two lighted softball fields. The city's parks offer
facilities for volleyball, basketball, football, tennis,
sledding, cross-country skiing, ice-skating, hiking, picnicking
and just hanging out.
Yes, it's a college town for all ages.
also a theater called the Falls Theatre that shows first-run
movies at a very low price. Adults $3.00, children
(12 & under) & seniors (65 & older) are just $2.00.
There are three horse stables in River Falls. River tubing
is available 25 miles to the north on the Apple River. A swimming
beach in Troy Park, eight miles northwest. Nearby Somerset
also offers the Water Park with waterslides and a heated
in River Falls itself and within easy driving distance,
there are a total of eight local golf courses to play, whether
you are an amateur or a professional. Troy Burne, the area's
newest course near Hudson, was designed by professional
golfer, Tom Lehman.
the serious trout fisherman, the Kinnickinnic River, flowing
for 20 miles from north of River Falls southwest to Prescott,
is a Class One trout stream. Brown trout are abundant in
the Kinnickinnic (about 70% of the trout population), with
the brook trout numbers on the rise, according to a 1996
Wisconsin DNR survey. J.R. Humphrey, a St. Paul freelance
writer and angler, calls the waters of this river "precious
jewels of a fly-fisher's memory."
[Printed with the
permission of the author Dorie Haugen.]