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June 2010 Odd Wisconsin

Playing Footsie in La Crosse

The hit TV show "Bones" exploits our fascination with gruesome images quite successfully, but it didn't invent that creative device. For example, on December 1st, 1873, the press in La Crosse reported a strange discovery. While playing in an alley the previous day, two boys had stumbled upon a human foot. They reported it to the police, who took it...
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Posted in Bizarre Events on June 30, 2010

Humble Henry Dodge

In 1841, Henry Dodge was at the peak of his fame. After coming to the Lead Region in 1827, his command of the local militia had turned the tide during the 1832 Black Hawk War. When Wisconsin became a territory in 1836, he was appointed its first governor and held the post for two terms. So when Dodge passed through...
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Posted in on June 22, 2010

When Beer Was (Almost) Illegal

Strange as it sounds, in November of 1853 a majority of Wisconsin voters chose to outlaw beer. That year a statewide referendum on liquor sales went 27,519 to 24,109 for prohibition. In Milwaukee, where beer was a vital part of German culture, the vote went the other way. Almost ten times as many people voted against prohibition as voted for...
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Posted in Bizarre Events on June 17, 2010

Where the Farm Went

Old Al McIntosh at one time owned one of the best farms in the town of West Point, in Columbia County, and became a wealthy man. In his later years, though, he took to drinking and lost all his property. He became so poor that at the time of his death a nephew had to pay his burial expenses. Not...
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Posted in Curiosities on June 10, 2010

Pioneer Hospitality

These days, we tend to guard our privacy and security quite closely. But in the early days of Wisconsin, settlers had looser boundaries about such things. Helpful neighbors were an important part of establishing not only a home, but also a community. And this wasn't limited to lending a cup of sugar. Hospitality was key to forming close bonds, and...
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Posted in Curiosities on June 3, 2010

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