Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Dane County Helps Village of Rockdale Honor 175th Anniversary with CamRock Restoration Celebration

August 13, 2011
Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 843-8858
County Executive

CamRock County Park Mill Site Ribbon Cutting Held Saturday

Years of work by local volunteers, the Village of Rockdale, the Village of Cambridge, Dane County, and other local partners culminated this weekend with the celebration of Rockdale’s 175th Anniversary and the official ribbon cutting of the CamRock Trail and Mill Site Restoration, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced.


The County Executive and other county officials joined the Village of Rockdale on Saturday, in observing the village’s 175th anniversary with a flag pole dedication ceremony at the Village Center followed by a Dane County CamRock Trail and Mill Site Restoration ribbon cutting ceremony at the historic Rockdale Mill site.


“Thanks to the tremendous effort of everyone involved, we not only have more options for Dane County’s residents and visitors to enjoy the great outdoors, but we have preserved the history of such an important site  to local residents,” said Parisi.  “I can’t think of a more fitting way to celebrate the Village of Rockdale’s 175th anniversary.”   

In 2005 the County worked with the Village to remove existing buildings on the former mill site property while salvaging historic components that will be reused for construction of a future shelter and interpretive exhibit area.  With assistance from a DNR Stewardship Grant and a $50,000 donation from the Cambridge Foundation, Dane County was able to construct a nearly 2 mile long multi use trail that extends through CamRock County Park between the Villages of Rockdale and Cambridge.  The path is also used by Village children to access schools in Cambridge. 


In 2010, the Madison Community Foundation approved use of a $25,000 grant for final restoration and landscaping work at the former Rockdale mill site that has recently been completed.  The park has also become an extremely popular mountain biking destination, thanks in large part to the tireless volunteer trail building efforts of the Capitol Off Road Pathfinders.


“Dane County Parks is very grateful for all of the wonderful assistance we have received from the Village, Cambridge Foundation, Madison Community Foundation, Wisconsin DNR and local volunteers to help us create this unique park and trail system,” said Park Commission Chair Bill Lunney.    


The Village of Rockdale was founded in 1836 by William Murray Dennis and was originally named Clinton after DeWitt Clinton, the Governor of New York.  At one time Rockdale was strongly being considered for the location of the State capitol, and in 1914 became the smallest incorporated Village in the State. 


In 1847 a mill and dam were constructed that operated on water power generated by Koshkonong Creek until 1956.  The mill continued to serve the community until 1998, and was then purchased from the Smithback family as an addition to CamRock County Park in 2003.   Dane County has since been working together with the Village and a variety of partners to restore the mill site for public use.    

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