Why was Wisconsin Dells built?- Tommy, Viroqua, Wis.
Well, the dells themselves were created 13,000 years ago when an ice dam gave way and sent a 100-foot wall of water whooshing through that area. It cut through the soft rock and left the harder rock — the formations we see today along the Wisconsin River. It happened within a week.
The town, formerly Kilbourn City, was a logging center. A photographer started making postcards and slide shows of the formations, bringing in lots of tourists, and the townsfolk renamed it Wisconsin Dells.
For more about geology, see High drama at Devil's Lake.
For more about Dells formations, see The quiet side of the Dells.
For more about the photographer, see H.H. Bennett's Dells.