Andrew Tainter
Fannie Tainter McMillian

Oaklawn History

The Oaklawn Inn was built by Andrew Tainter in 1889 in a time of great growth and prosperity.  He built this Queen Ann Victorian home for his daughter Lottie Tainter and his son-in-law George Seeley, who was the superintendent of the Oaklawn Stock Farm for 14 years.    In its early years this splendid complex included a sixteen-sided barn with cupola, and three racetracks, two of which were covered to allow for the training of race horses in all types of weather. There were eight other buildings and three residences on the property.

The 518 acre farm was equipped with all the “modern” improvements including indoor plumbing, closets, hot water heat, electricity (to avoid the constant fear of the dangerous lantern), and a water tower to provide water to all the outlying farm buildings.

Oaklawn was owned by Andrew Tainter, one of the founders of Menomonie and a partner in the Knapp, Stout & Co. Lumber Company. His enthusiasm for competition followed him into his later years as his horses raced at county fairs and race tracks throughout the region. The farm was nationally known for its “high-bred trotting stock” and boarding services. The racing stock was sold in 1903, but the farm continued under the Tainter family until 1948, when it was purchased by the John P. Dale family who farmed until 1968. The Dale families continued to live at Oaklawn until 1990, when construction began for the Stout Technology Park.

The original layout of the Oaklawn Stock Farm. Showing the locations of the houses, barns and racetracks

Maggie Foote purchased the house in 1997 and started the Oaklawn Inn in 1998.  She made many updates to the house and ran the B&B until December 2021 for 23 years.

Stephanie Perry purchased the house from Maggie in December of 2021. Stephanie spent all of 2022 renovating the house.  She removed the drop ceiling in the great room, dining room and parlor and brought the ceiling back up to its original eleven foot height.  All the wall, ceilings and floors were patched, sanded and painted.  Fourteen doors were stripped to their original pine wood, stained and oiled.    The 134 year old house needed to be refreshed and upgrade.

Stephanie has tried to bring the history of Menomonie and the University of Wisconsin – Stout into the house through historical furniture, artwork and memorabilia.   She is continuing with Maggie’s legacy and opened the Oaklawn Inn to the public in February 2023

A new chapter has started for this majestic home. May she stand for another 100 years.