Sunday, December 8, 2013

Mysterious Menomonee River stalagmite formations in Hoyt Park

Friends of mine were out walking along the Menomonee River in Hoyt Park yesterday when they discovered a mysteriously tall ice formation. Knowing that I would be interested, they stopped by to alert me of the phenomenon. It did sound intriguing but I was unprepared by their description of it for just what a curiosity I'd find. Along the downstream edge where the water flows over a weir numerous formations resembling stalagmites have formed. The tallest, as the photo below shows, is about as tall as I am. Water could be seen bubbling up from the center of several of the smaller formations, which explains how they grew. I am quite baffled as to how one could have gotten so tall.

While I was out I was delighted to see that there were quite a few hardy souls braving the unseasonably frigid temperatures to enjoy the wild side of Hoyt Park. Hikers, joggers and even a few bikers were out on the trail on the south side of the river.

I may go out again today to see what the snow fall has done to the ice. It is certain to draw out a few skiers.

The weir in the photo, by the way is one of several still left in the Menomonee River. I hope that someday before too long it can go the way of the concrete channel that is currently being removed downstream near Miller Brewing. See my last post for more on that.


  1. All 5 of these barriers downsteam of Swan Blvd in Hoyt Park are coming out. They were identified as priority impediments for removal in our Menomonee River Fish Passage Inventory and we have been lobbying MMSD for their removal for awhile. They have funding, mostly from grants, to begin to remove them next year. We hope they will be out by the end of 2014!!

  2. Excellent news! Thanks, Cheryl.