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March 2004 Odd Wisconsin

President Visits Wisconsin

Dateline: Madison, Oct. 16, 1899. President William McKinley visited the Badger state during his brief tenure in office more than a century ago. A unique perspective on his visit comes from the barber who shaved him, and a more typical one from the local press. For more on presidents who visited Wisconsin long ago, see this March 3, 1929, essay...
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Posted in Curiosities on March 29, 2004

Wisconsin's Rip Van Winkle

Dateline: New Glarus, Wis., March 1, 1923. A long-lost son given up for dead three decades earlier suddenly re-appears in this southern Wisconsin town. Fabian Strife (whose name suggests George Bernard Shaw and Sidney Webb locked in mortal combat) disappeared into a Green County cave when Queen Victoria was in her prime. He returned home to startled descendants, bootleg gin,...
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Posted in Odd Lives on March 25, 2004

Original State Constitution Also Missing!

Dateline: Madison, 1848. Not only are some of Gov. Thompson's archives gone forever but so, too, is the hand-written manuscript of our state contitution! That crucial document, the foundation of our legal system and government, resides like the missing Thompson papers in historical oblivion. This catastrophe was apparently first reported by the Milwaukee Sentinel and picked up some time later...
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Posted in Curiosities on March 17, 2004

Why Wisconsin Basketball Players Are So Tough

Dateline: Milwaukee, Feb. 11, 1955. We know it's supposed to be a winter sport, but we thought that James Nasmith intended it to be an indoor activity. Of course, when kids grow up playing it under these conditions they're bound to defeat less hardy rivals from states to the south. See other basketball pictures at Wisconsin Historical Images....
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Posted in Bizarre Events on March 15, 2004

"We Were Almost Drowned Out By The Squealing"

Dateline: Madison, March 13, 1848. Both houses of our legislature recently voted to begin amending our constitution, to define marriage. 156 years ago this week Wisconsin residents voted to adopt that constitution in the first place, and detailed recollections of how it was written are given here (including pigs in the basement). Two years earlier the populace had rejected a...
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Posted in Curiosities on March 12, 2004

You Should Have Seen the One That Got Away

Dateline: Up North, ca. 1959? This unidentified model prepares to club the largest muskie known to science on a sparkling summer day long ago. If you know who this is, where the fish came to rest, or why the photo was taken, please click the Feedback button below and let us know....
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Posted in Animals on March 10, 2004

Before the NRA

Dateline: Alma, Wis., 1889. In honor of women's history month, Odd Wisconsin will run a few curiosities from Wisconsin women's lives. These three Victorian ladies (sisters, perhaps?) would be considered armed and dangerous if it weren't for those hats. See who they were and what kind of guns they carried in Wisconsin Historical Images....
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Posted in Curiosities on March 5, 2004

Free Love and Spiritualism in Ripon

Dateline: Ripon, Wis., 1844. Ripon can claim fame as the birthplace of the Republican Party (see below), but only four years earlier it had been home to a utopian socialist commune. See photos and learn about idealist Francois Charles Marie Fourier, whose vision lay behind not just the experiment in Ripon but also Brook Farm, made famous in Hawthorne's Blithedale...
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Posted in Odd Lives on March 3, 2004

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