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Odd Wisconsin Archive

Smell It Like It Was

This weekend the Saukville Area Historical Society will sponsor their annual "Crossroads Rendezvous" which re-creates life in fur trade camps on the Wisconsin frontier. Today thousands of re-enactors devote hundreds of thousands of hours each year to re-creating historical events. Besides having fun, they teach children and other visitors the details of daily life from our past that can never be conveyed as well in books and movies.

This type of historical activity appears to date in Wisconsin from the 1920s, when devotees re-enacted the burial of Father Marquette's bones at the Mission of St. Ignace (we've given Fr. Marquette his own blog this summer: you can read his journal in regular installments from May to September, at our Historic Diaries site, and follow his epoch-making voyage down the Mississippi in 1673). Other early reenactments celebrated religious, political, and military events.

This summer our Wade House historic site will host Civil War reenactors for a "School of the Soldier" day on June 11th, Old World Wisconsin will re-create 1860s base ball on June 25th, and Villa Louis will host a reenactment of the War of 1812's Battle of Prairie du Chien on July 16-17. This fall entire weekends will be devoted to Civil War reenactments at Old World Wisconsin (Sept. 3-4) and Wade House (Sept. 24-25)

Now, you can read original documents and view historic images of all these historical events at Turning Points in Wisconsin History. But there is no substitute for spending a couple hours amidst a crowd of passionate enthusiasts who know all the details about how life was lived at the time those documents were created. So mark your calendar, get up from your computer, and go out into the campfire and musket smoke, hear the sounds of galloping horses and cannon shot, and use another part of your brain to connect to your past.
:: Posted in Curiosities on May 20, 2005

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