September 2011 Odd Wisconsin
Covered bridges evoke nostalgia for an idealized past, not just in Wisconsin but throughout the nation. They epitomize our longing for a romantic, Norman Rockwell vision of happier, healthier times. But as with all illusions, the truth is more complex. A covered bridge spanning a rural stream, for example, was the perfect place for criminals to ply their trade....
Posted in Curiosities on September 29, 2011
In the 19th century, an old man who lived alone on a small farm outside Clarno, near the Illinois border in Green County, sparked a lot of rumors. His neighbors all believed that he had hidden a cache of money somewhere on his property. Folklorist Charles Brown recorded that when this farmer died, his relatives and friends searched every...
Posted in on September 22, 2011
On June 23, 1825, Henry and Elizabeth Baird set off from Green Bay toward Mackinac. They were passengers in a small fleet of bateaux owned by fur-trader Joseph Rolette, who was taking beaver pelts to market. The Bairds were on Rolette's own boat with nine voyageurs; another craft was commanded by John Kinzie, who would later help found the...
Posted in Bizarre Events on September 15, 2011
In the 19th century, Wisconsin was home to many of America's circuses. For example, between 1847 and 1894, 26 different circus companies wintered in the town of Delavan. One of these was the Mabie Brothers Circus, whose star was an elephant named Romeo. Though he was popular with the public, Romeo was known as a troublemaker to the staff. One...
Posted in on September 8, 2011