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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Historical Essay

Bonne Fete, Sieur La Salle!*

Robert de La Salle was on the first expedition to the upper Great Lakes and went on to claim the Mississippi River watershed in the name of France.

Historical Essay

Death to Capital Punishment

Read about the final person to be executed in Wisconsin before the state prohibited the death penalty.

Learn how Alexis St. Martin lived after a shotgun blasted a hole in his side and became a cornerstone of medical literature.

Civil War Battle Summary

Discover the role that Wisconsin troops, including Menominee warriors and our only unit of Black soldiers, played in a dramatic Civil War battle.

Historical Essay

The Story of Memorial Day

Discover the history of Memorial Day celebrations in Wisconsin.

Discover Eau Claire's naughty past as a hub of prostitution for the lumbermen looking to support the world's oldest profession.

In 1959 Rev. A.A.A. Schmirler traced the path Fr. Rene Menard took in 1661 down northern Wisconsins rivers to discover where Menard likely died.

Historical Essay

Newhall House Hotel Fire

Read about the tragic fire that burned down Milwaukee landmark, The Newhall House Hotel, leaving 76 dead.

Historical Essay

Wisconsin's Indiana Jones?

Was Beloit's Roy Chapman Andrews the real life model for Indiana Jones?

Discover how The Wisconsin Dells came to prominence as a Midwestern tourism institution.
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