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May 2005 Odd Wisconsin

The Other Deep Throat

"With a stein or two of beer and a couple of sandwiches - - they were free - - to munch on, the university boys used to do much of their studying in the historic old place." So says the author of this article on the late lamented Hausmann's Brewery, at the corner of State and Gorham in downtown Madison....
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Posted in Curiosities on May 31, 2005

To Help with Good Rocky's Revival

In late September 1898, two traveling salesmen shared a room in a Boscobel hotel. Being practicing Christians, the two strangers spent their evening reading the Bible aloud. When they crossed paths again a few months later in Beaver Dam, the pair decided to form an organization that would provide Christian support to salesmen spending long days on the road and...
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Posted in Curiosities on May 29, 2005

Before Bratwurst

Yesterday we featured the history of beer in Odd Wisconsin and tomorrow Madison's 23rd annual Bratfest opens its four-day run. Here's where sausage begins in Wisconsin. It wasn't Germans at all but Yankees who introduced the first sausages to Wisconsin. In 1836 "Aunt Sally" Crane and her husband Milo Jones started a farm where Fort Atkinson is now located. Since...
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Posted in Curiosities on May 26, 2005

Beer, Bier, and ... Schnitzeling on the Schnitzelbank?

More than a simple thirst-quenching, tongue-loosening, mind-altering drink, Milwaukee beer had unexpected virtues according to this colorful 1890s Miller advertising pamphlet: The weak, the ill, the pale and wan Will find their strength returning, And Miller's pure BUDWEISER beer Will satisfy their yearning Made with the famous Salzer hops, Proclaim it from the chimney tops, It makes strong men of...
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Posted in Curiosities on May 24, 2005

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...
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Posted in Curiosities on May 20, 2005

President Visits Wisconsin

President Bush is scheduled to visit Milwaukee this week, following in the footsteps of other chief executives. Then-senator John F. Kennedy campaigned here in 1960, Franklin Roosevelt stopped in to celebrate the state's tercentennary in 1934, Calvin Coolidge fished here in 1928, and Theodore Roosevelt visited the state several times (and was even shot here). Of course, three American chief...
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Posted in Curiosities on May 18, 2005

Bad Badger Musicians

Today (May 16th) is the birthday of two legitimate Wisconsin musical prodigies, Big Band leader Woody Herman and pianist Liberace (read about them at This Day in Wisconsin History). But for every true artist there must be dozens who have their brief 15 minutes of fame and are properly never heard from again. To meet some of them, check out...
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Posted in Odd Lives on May 15, 2005

Talk About Bad Luck!

Today is Friday the 13th, traditionally considered an unpropitious day for new enterprises. One of the most unlucky events in Wisconsin history was the capsizing of Louis Jolietís canoe in the summer of 1674. Joliet and Father Jacques Marquette had traveled the previous year from Green Bay, across Wisconsin to the Mississippi, and then down the great river far enough...
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Posted in Bizarre Events on May 13, 2005

Terrapin Blues

Milwaukee vaudeville entertainer and instrument maker Anton Hudy believed the crowning achievement of his career was fashioning this mandolin with a sounding board made from a snapping turtleís shell. In the first decade of the 20th century Hudy and his wife entertained large audiences in Wisconsinís principal city, he on various stringed instruments and she playing the fine-toothed hair...
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Posted in Animals on May 12, 2005

Laud Wisconsin

In 1934 the state celebrated its Tercentenary, or 300th anniversary, to commemorate the landing of Jean Nicolet near Green Bay in 1634. They did this despite the fact that the families of thousands of Wisconsin residents had lived here for more than 10,000 years, that the documentation of Nicoletís landing is notoriously skimpy, and that there was some evidence a...
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Posted in Curiosities on May 6, 2005

Trod Wisconsin

Hiking this weekend? You follow in the footsteps of some famous Wisconsin residents. Read their personal accounts of hoofing it in Wisconsin in the sources linked below. Print them out, take them along, read them by the campfire, and know youíre in good company as you nurse blisters at the end of a day on the trail. In the fall...
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Posted in Curiosities on May 5, 2005

Sawed Wisconsin

Did Jefferson Davis, who would go on to be the president of the Confederacy during the Civil War, start the forest products industry in Wisconsin? Thatís what the author of this mid-19th century article claimed. The person who followed quickly in his footsteps, James Lockwood, left a detailed memoir (that you can read online) of how he began commercial logging...
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Posted in Curiosities on May 4, 2005

Gnawed Wisconsin

The first cheesehead (the hat, not the primal human) was crafted from a sofa cushion by Packer fan Ralph Bruno in 1987. You can see Bruno and the original cheesehead, as well as other powerful symbols of Wisconsin culture, in our online exhibit, Icon Wisconsin. And you can read about the origin of the dairy industry -- yes Virginia, there...
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Posted in Curiosities on May 3, 2005

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