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December 2012 Odd Wisconsin

A Midwinter Survey Party

The southern half of Wisconsin is getting another dose of snow this morning and forecasters are predicting frigid temperatures next week. Still, this is nothing compared to conditions that met the surveyors who laid out the state's capital in 1837. Survey Crew Arrives When the first territorial legislative session in Belmont ended in December 1836, promoter James Doty hired Moses...
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Posted in Madison on December 26, 2012

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Stressed out by holiday parties, cooking, shopping, travel plans, house cleaning, and the whole annual onslaught of holiday obligations? Relax for a minute, and consider how people used to cope with the holidays. Our earliest French settlers devoted Christmas to celebrations at home and piety at church, especially midnight mass. Achille Bertrand, who arrived in Superior in 1857, recalled that...
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Posted in Curiosities on December 16, 2012

Elves in the Attic

"It was formerly a belief of children in some German households in a midwestern city that in the weeks or month before Christmas (Weinachten), the garrets of homes were occupied by dwarfs called kobolders. These little men were described as being attired in close-fitting brown jackets and knitted brown woolen caps (zipfelkappen) terminating in a long point with a tassel....
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Posted in Curiosities on December 12, 2012

So Cold Their Noses Fell Off

During a bitter stretch in the winter of 1925, the editor of the Rice Lake Chronotype decided to ask local old-timers about the famous bone-withering cold of January 1877, when local thermometers had supposedly stood at 68 degrees below zero. He tracked down retired lumberjacks Paul Fournier, Henry Dietz and Hans Borgen, who gave him the following "re-lie-able" information. They...
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Posted in Curiosities on December 6, 2012

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