February 2011 Odd Wisconsin
Our state's current dispute over public sector labor unions is only the most recent controversy in a series stretching back more than 150 years. The Milwaukee Ship Carpenters and Caulkers Association called one of Wisconsin's first successful strikes in 1848. Most early labor conflicts were over issues such as low wages, the withholding of pay, and hiring unskilled labor to...
Posted in Curiosities on February 23, 2011
Readers have begun to ask us to provide historical context for this week's demonstrations at the Capitol. It is not Odd Wisconsin's place to advocate or persuade, of course, but merely to educate and entertain. So here are a few odd moments from historic Wisconsin protests over the last century and a half. 1848: "We hope that the sky will...
Posted in Curiosities on February 17, 2011
In 1921, 95-year-old Margaret Serns of Fort Atkinson recalled the strange way she met her first husband. The year was 1842, and she was just a girl of 16 living in Michigan. One morning as she was preparing to wash the dishes, the dishwater began to boil on the stove. "Margaret, Margaret, you are boiling your sweetheart away!" her mother...
Posted in on February 13, 2011
In the late 19th century, Eau Claire was a booming lumber town. But two-by-fours were not the only product it was famous for. Each spring, after trees had been cut in the surrounding forests, hundreds of lumberjacks would swarm into town. Until the rivers opened up and their winter's harvest started floating toward the mill, they would enjoy a brief...
Posted in Curiosities on February 9, 2011