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January 2011 Odd Wisconsin

Not This Again

The governor declared a snow emergency and shut state buildings to the public Wednesday due to the blizzard. It certainly looks bad out there, but of course, it could be worse. The winter of 1880-1881 was recalled for decades as the worst winter ever, for the ferocity with which it descended, the amount of snow it dropped, and the seeming...
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Posted in Curiosities on January 31, 2011

Swell Eats

In 1849, many Wisconsin men were lured West by the California Gold Rush. Among them was George Snyder of Milwaukee, who recalled his trials and tribulations to the Milwaukee Sentinel many years later. One of the memories that stuck with him was of the food his party ate along the trail. Although inexperienced in the kitchen, Snyder ended up...
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Posted in Curiosities on January 30, 2011

Mysterious Woman of the Woods

The toughest work in lumber camps was done by oxen, who hauled huge sleds of massive tree trunks out of the brush and over the snow to the nearest river. When spring came, their masters floated the winter's harvest downstream to the company mill. One lumberjack, however, was given the lonely task of driving the oxen through the forest and...
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Posted in Bizarre Events on January 18, 2011

Martin Luther King and Wisconsin

Although Dr. King is usually associated with Southern desegregation efforts, he was also supportive of Northern ones, including Milwaukee's violent struggle in 1967. City laws in Milwaukee had supported segregated neighborhoods for decades when Alderperson Vel Phillips introduced open housing legislation in March, 1962. For the next five years, the Common Council voted it down every time she re-introduced it,...
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Posted in Curiosities on January 15, 2011

Rolling Libraries

We usually think of libraries as staid and imposing edifices that grace the main streets of our towns, or elegant temples of knowledge that anchor our college campuses. But some libraries refused to stay put. This photo shows what is surely one of the earliest bookmobiles, a 1910 International Auto Wagon loaded with books. Its location is not known. The...
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Posted in Curiosities on January 13, 2011

Natural Calamities

Last weekend's deluge of dead birds in Beebe, Arkansas, called to mind the invasion of Oconto by Leopard frogs. In two days during the summer of 1952, the New Yorker reported, an estimated 175,000,000 frogs -- yes, million -- emerged from local marshes and "practically enveloped the town. The explosions of amphibians beneath the wheels of automobiles at night sounded...
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Posted in Animals on January 3, 2011

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