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December 2007 Odd Wisconsin

Christmas in a Logging Camp

During the 1880s Otis Terpening was a brawling lumberjack in the Wisconsin northwoods. He logged from the St. Croix River across Douglas County into Michigan's Upper Peninsula, wintering in the forest and riding logs downriver to mill in the spring. Forty years later Charles Brown was collecting lumberjack folklore and asked for his recollections. This unleashed a deluge of densely...
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Posted in Curiosities on December 24, 2007

The Great La Crosse Toboggan Run of 1885

This month's record snowfalls have sent lots of us outside skiiing, sledding, and skating. In the winter of 1885-1886, so much snow fell in La Crosse that a group of local guys formed a toboggan club and built a 25-foot wide run in a marsh by the river. It was three stories tall and illuminated by electric lights so it...
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Posted in on December 20, 2007

Got a Chest Cough? Try Skunk Grease

Winter has descended with a vengeance, and here at the Society headquarters in Madison, runny noses and sore throats are beginning to accompany aching shovel-muscles. Relief is in sight, though. Our Museum staff recently stumbled upon a bottle of skunk grease made in New Glarus about 1920 to help relieve chest congestion (read their account here). When doctors were scarce...
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Posted in Curiosities on December 11, 2007

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