Collage of historical images.

Wisconsin History Essays

Learn something new about the past and gain a deeper understanding of your world. Hundreds of essays tell the stories of the people, places and events that are Wisconsin history.

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Search by keyword below to find information on Wisconsin's history.

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Wisconsin pioneer Joseph Crelie, might have been exhibited to spectators in 1864 as being 139 years old. But how old was he really?

Historical Essay

The Founding of Major Cities

Read how land speculation and the development of transportation spurred settlement in 19th-century Wisconsin, leading to the rise of larger cities.

Historical Essay

Madison's First Thanksgiving

Read the story of the first Thanksgiving celebrated in Madison.

A Wisconsin Civil War Story

Historical Essay

Beaver Top Hat

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Top hat made from beaver felt and worn by Green Bay resident Morgan L. Martin, c. 1825. (Museum object #1968.644)

Learn about the canal era and the use of steamboats on Wisconsin waterways and lakes in the 19-th century.

Read about the development of social and cultural institutions such as public schools, churches, colleges and universities and Indian mission schools.

Learn about the development of professional sports teams in Wisconsin in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Historical Essay

20th-Century Immigration

Learn how economic and social conditions in Wisconsin and elsewhere brought new groups of immigrants to Wisconsin in the 20th century.

Historical Essay

Petersylvania, Wisconsin

Read the amazing story of a man who watched his potential 10,000-square-mile northern Wisconsin empire disappear into thin air.
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