May 2009 Odd Wisconsin
We've been told for decades that Jean Nicolet (1598-1642), the first European known to reach Wisconsin, was searching for a route to Asia when he landed near Green Bay in 1634. Artists showed him wearing a Chinese robe as he strode ashore at Red Banks and local historians staged celebrations and erected historic markers where they assumed it happened. But...
Posted in Curiosities on May 25, 2009
Many cities and towns claim the distinction of holding the first Memorial Day. Setting aside a day to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers began at the end of the Civil War, when Southern widows placed flowers not only on their Confederate husbands' graves but also on nearby neglected graves of Union soldiers. In May 1868 General John Logan, national...
Posted in on May 21, 2009
Smart phones seem to be trivializing social life. The constant stream of Twitter tweets, Facebook status updates, and daily blogs calls to mind Henry David Thoreau's famous comment on the new technology of his own day: "We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important...
Posted in Curiosities on May 12, 2009
John Lawe (1780-1846) was one of the first English-speaking residents of Green Bay, arriving in 1797 to trade for furs. He grew to be one of the village's most respected and affluent residents, building this house (luxurious in its day) and holding various public offices. None of that kept him from bold or impetutous action. This newspaper story recounts how...
Posted in Bizarre Events on May 7, 2009