|Found: Lone Rock, Dells of he Wisconsin River, Kilbourn, Wis. Published by W.S. Blatchley Kilbourn, Wis.|
At first it was all about the rocks and the stunning sandstone land forms etched by the water in the driftless area of Wisconsin. The place was eventually named Kilbourn City after its founder, a land surveyor named Byron Kilbourn. Photographer H.H. Bennett was so inspired by this landscape on the Wisconsin River, that he began making photographic views to sell at the new railroad stations to entice people to visit. He invented an instantaneous shutter to capture his son jumping from the cliff to stand rock and sold Ho Chunk artifacts from his studio. So successful was his venture making postcards and 3-D stereoscope cards that Kilbourn City became a bustling destination. The town name changed to Wisconsin Dells in 1931 to more clearly identify it in the public mind with the landscape. Decades later, "the Dells" reinvented itself as "the water park capital of the world." Its theme parks often overwhelming the senses to such a degree that visitors can miss the landscape that started it all.