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January 2009 Odd Wisconsin

The Deep Freeze of 1838

You think the last few days have been cold? Read this short memoir by Ebenezer Childs. He recalls traveling from Prairie du Chien to Madison early in the year 1838, when the temperature was 32 degrees below zero and the fledgling capital's handful of residents huddled together in a rude shanty to keep warm. He then headed to Portage in...
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Posted in Curiosities on January 24, 2009

Elderly Horse Thief

By all accounts, Charles J. Agrelius (1831-1915) was quite a charmer. The son of a Swedish clergymen, Agrelius settled in southwestern Wisconsin about the time the Civil War broke out, and served with a cavalry unit in Kansas. After the war, he returned to Wisconsin and set up shop in Mount Vernon, Dane Co., as a harness maker --...
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Posted in Odd Lives on January 14, 2009

Newhall House Hotel Fire

This weekend marks the anniversary of one the state's great tragedies. At 4:00 a.m. on the morning of January 10, 1883, passersby saw flames shooting from one of Milwaukee's landmarks. Built by merchant Daniel Newhall in 1856 as one of the nation's most magnificent hotels, the Newhall House was still fashionable, though somewhat down at the heels, 25 years later....
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Posted in Curiosities on January 8, 2009

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