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June 2011 Odd Wisconsin

Secret Service

After the Civil War broke out in the spring of 1861, patriotic fervor ran so strong in Wisconsin that many under-age boys tried to sneak into the army. 15-year-old William Chesbrough of Rock County was one of them. In February 1862, Chesbrough ran away from school and tried to enlist at Camp Randall but was rejected due to his...
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Posted in Odd Lives on June 22, 2011

Capitol Balloon

It seems to be human nature for groups to adopt mascots. Some of these last a long time and become honored symbols, like the badger that first appeared on our state seal in 1852. Others are short-lived but deeply cherished, like the heart-shaped balloon that demonstrators released inside the Capitol dome in the spring of 2011. Gov. Walker introduced his...
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Posted in Curiosities on June 16, 2011

The Man Who Vanished

Fabian Streiff came to the Swiss colony of New Glarus as a child about 1860 and never learned English. One summer day in the 1880s, he was hunting in nearby woods when he came upon a cave. He thought it was a wolf's den and cautiously entered, hoping to collect a pelt and rid the community of a pest. Two...
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Posted in Odd Lives on June 9, 2011

Filthy Lucre

In 1905 A.T. Glaze of Fond du Lac published a history of business in the city from "early times to the present." In it he issued a scathing attack on an economic problem that he claimed was a burden to "all who handle money." His problem? The smell of cash, which he argued was "suggestive of nastiness in the highest...
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Posted in Curiosities on June 2, 2011

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