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February 2014 Odd Wisconsin

Aunt Mary Ann

Wisconsin's first doctor -- in the sense of someone paid to heal the sick -- was a woman of color known simply as Aunt Mary Ann to her Prairie du Chien patients. Her full name was Mary Ann Menard, though she had had two previous husbands before marrying Charles Menard, and raised more than a dozen children from the three...
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Posted in Odd Lives on February 28, 2014

Curling in Wisconsin

One of the stranger-looking Olympic sports on our televisions this week has been curling. Like most hardy winter pastimes, it has a proud Wisconsin heritage. Its roots lie in the 19th century, and after a long period during which curling nearly died out in America, the invention of ice-making in the 1930's revived the sport. Arrived with Scottish Immigrants A...
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Posted in Curiosities on February 20, 2014

Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's Day, so after madly dashing out to buy that gift you forgot to pick up earlier this week, you might want to click over to our gallery of historic valentines and see where this custom originated. Years ago, people didn't buy mass-produced cards from multinational corporations in chain stores. They made valentines themselves as a personal expression of...
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Posted in Curiosities on February 13, 2014

How Cold Is It?

We're seeing some of the coldest temperatures in years. Decades from now, our kids may brag about surviving "the brutal cold of January '14." To put it in perspective, here are some claims made by lumberjacks 100 years ago. One recalled a winter when a logger wanting to write home "just stepped outdoors and shouted the words he wished to...
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Posted in on February 7, 2014

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