Lodi School Hillside Improvement Site
Corner Street, Lodi, Columbia County
Landscape architect: Franz Aust
Construction dates: 1933-1948
Lodi was founded in 1846 at the location of Spring Creek. To create waterpower for milling, Spring Creek was dammed at its narrowest point, a valley at the south end of town, creating a large millpond behind the dam. Both the dam and its millpond are now gone, but the main highways that lead into Lodi still run along the base of the hills on the east and west sides of its former site, which for many years was devoid of landscaping, was overgrown, and was used as an informal community dumping ground.
In 1933, Lodi began using federal work relief funds to improve both the creek bed itself and the hillside below Lodi's high school, overlooking the former millpond. University of Wisconsin professor of landscape architecture, Franz A. Aust, planned the work. Aust, who was well known for his use of naturalistic landscaping and for his advocacy of the use of native planting materials, designed a terraced hillside below the high school that made use of limestone and sandstone retaining walls and stairways. The project also placed extensive stone rip-rapping along the banks of Spring Creek.
This work was completed in 1935. Just after World War II, the Lodi Garden Club created the Veterans Memorial Park on the west side of the Creek; it was dedicated on Memorial Day in 1948. In 2004, the land on the east side of the creek was transformed into the Lodi Community Rain Garden.
Both the park and garden are open to the public.