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Highlights Archives

Settling Northern Wisconsin in 1895


A northern Wisconsin farm family with copious produce, 1895
WHI 1979

At the end of the 19th century, the forests of northern Wisconsin were disappearing before the logger's ax. Experts believed that they would naturally be succeeded by prosperous farms, as had happened in Europe centuries earlier. So in 1895 the state Legislature ordered the University of Wisconsin's College of Agriculture to prepare a handbook to help new settlers establish homesteads on the cutover lands. University staff traveled all across the region that fall, taking photographs for the 200-page guide, "Northern Wisconsin: A Hand-Book for the Homeseeker." It contained 88 pages with crude half-tone photographs, many cropped or reduced to small sizes, printed on cheap paper. A new Wisconsin Historical Images gallery contains those photographs scanned from their original 6-by-8-inch glass-plate negatives, as well as some not used in the book (113 images in all).


:: Posted January 28, 2013

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