Pigeon Falls, small, delightful, real

Pigeon Falls is a village in Trempealeau County with a population of about 400. Pigeon Creek meets the Trempealeau River here, and goes over a bit of a falls which now is the result of a small dam. Now, you are not visiting Milwaukee when you come to Pigeon Falls. This is a small town to be sure. It is on the eastern side the Western Upland Geographic Province of the state. I have to tell you that I had a great time here. It was mid-May, a beautiful day, and I met some locals fishing who were absolutely delightful people. Whet my lips from hunger in the local meat market, and wandered around to get the full flavor of small town Wisconsin.

July 29, 2017

I got a late start out of Wausau and wanted to see if I could make it to Independence and get into the Western Upland Geographic province of the state. I saw I was not going to make it and be able to return to Wausau at the appointed time, so I set a course for Pigeon Falls, having no idea of what the place would be like.


This is a small lake, perhaps pond is a better word, formed from Pigeon Creek flowing from off the photo to the right backed up by the dam off the photo to left. It's probably called Pigeon Lake!


Here is the dam and, according to maps, that is now the Trempealeau River flowing out of the creek on her way to meet the Mighty Mississippi River to the west, just downstream Winona, Minnesota. And of course, as Wisocnsinites are prone to do on a magnificent Friday in mid-May like this, there are guys fishing. Just above the dam, out of the photo to the right, is Ol' Mill Park.


And there she goes, the Trempealeau River heading to meet the Big Guy after a long meandering, twisting and turning run to the southwest.


Oops, not just guys. There was a lady fishing there too at the Ol' Mill Park. The lady is a pistol! She brought a box filled with dirt filled with worms and was supplying those three guys up on the deck. Then she decided to do some fishing herself, and chose a slightly different place than those guys, no doubt hoping she'd catch something before them. As an aside, the guy in the white shirt with suspenders in the middle of the group, he's a pistol too! A wonderful group of real Americans.

Cyrus H. Hine built the first dam on Pigeon Falls Creek in 1867. He was born in 1825 and died in 1884. Cyrus was the first inhabitant of Pigeon Falls in 1867, although the Trempealeau County Historical Society says Erik Nelson, a Norwegian, was the first settler of Pigeon Valley. In any event, Hine purchased a tract of land from George Hale and erected and owned a small carding mill at the site of the present dam. Carding is a process that disengages, cleans and intermixes fibers to produce a continuous web suitable for subsequent processing, most commonly for clothing.


The Town of Pigeon was created in 1875. It was largely settled by Scandinavians. Pigeon Creek was so named by two hunters in 1848 who camped on the bank of the creek and noted a huge flock of Passenger pigeons perched in some trees nearby. As the story goes, there were so many pigeons on the tree limbs they weighed the limbs down and cascaded toward the ground. Therefore, the town was named Pigeon Falls!

Shortly thereafter, Johnson & Olson put up a store and by 1917 the village was the trading center of Pigeon Valley, the only village of an importance in the county.

The Sletteland Dam replaced the first dam in 1930, I believe by Ben Sletteland. Then the Pigeon Falls Lions Club took up the cause to save the dam project. The cost of a new dam was $500,000. The village obtained a grant for $200,000. Fund raisers, private donations and the Village of Pigeon Falls kicked in the other $300,000 and the new dam was completed in 2000.

I decided to take a look around town.


Thankfully I quickly found the Pigeon Falls One stop to gas up, jettison fuel, and buy some nice cold water.


Of course we are in Wisconsin, so I also quickly happened on the Hillbilly Fun Saloon. Unfortunately I had a long drive home and could not have a brewski. That still pains me.

The old bank.


Like I said, we are in Wisconsin, and so what the town only has 400 people? This is Dwyer's My Second Home Bar and Grill.


Now here's a place I could not pass by, Falls Meat Service, award winning sausages and quality fresh meats since 1974. It specializes in custom slaughtering and processing, retail meats and sausages, wholesale, and full processing and sausage making of wild game. Falls Meat Service is a family owned and operated business since 1974. I had to go inside.

Now we're cookin'. How about a few of each to go!

Chock-full of great stuff!


Beautiful home


A wonderful church scene in town. Unfortunately I did not stop to get its name.

On my way out of town, as I always do, I was enamored with the scenery. Coming from Wausau to this area, one drives over the flat lands of the Central Plains Geographic Region, so entering this kind of scenery is most refreshing. The farther west one goes, the more beautiful it becomes. A few shots follow.