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On This Day: May 1

1786 - Brewer Jacob Best Born

On this date Jacob Best Sr. was born. Best founded the Best and Co. Brewery in Milwaukee. In 1889, the brewery was renamed the Pabst Brewing Co. [Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin Biography,  1960]

1827 - University of Wisconsin President John Bascom Born

On this date John Bascom was born in Genoa, New York. A noted educator, university president, and author, Bascom received his B.A. (1848) and M.A. (1852) from Williams College in Massachusetts. In 1855, he entered the Andover Theological Seminary in Massachusetts. He was appointed president of the University of Wisconsin in 1874. A leader in college education, he devoted his career to improving university standards by encouraging improved high school instruction. Bascom also advocated co-educational instruction, a rarity in the 19th century. During his tenure as president, the first Agricultural Experimental Station and the School of Pharmacy were created, and new buildings such as the Washburn Observatory, Old Science Hall, the Library, and Assembly Hall were built. Bascom was a strong supporter of women's rights, was a leader in the Prohibition party, and advocated the right of workers to join trade unions and strike for decent wages. He resigned from his university presidency in 1887 and returned to Williams College to lecture in sociology and political science. John Bascom died on October 2, 1911. [Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin Biography, pg. 29]

1862 - (Civil War) Engagements at New Orleans and Port Gibson

On this day in 1862, New Orleans, Louisiana, surrendered to Union forces; the 4th Wisconsin Infantry participated. The following year, in 1863, the Battle of Port Gibson opened a two-month long Union campaign against Vicksburg, Mississippi. The 11th, 23rd, and 29th Wisconsin Infantry regiments and the 1st and 6th Wisconsin Artillery batteries fought at Port Gibson.

1902 - Construction Begins on Janesville Library

On this date, work commenced on the Janesville Public Library at 64 South Main Street. A $30,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie provided most of the money for the new building, which was one of sixty-four Carnegie libraries built in Wisconsin shortly after the turn-of-the-century. The city bought the building site for $17,000, and F.S. Eldred donated $10,000 for the children's library room. John P. Cullen & Bro. was awarded the construction contract for this project. [Source: Janesville Gazette]

1941 - Military Training at UW-Madison

On this date, Governor Julius Heil signed a bill calling for compulsory military training for all able-bodied male students during their first two years of study at UW-Madison. Throughout WWII, the College of Engineering and other departments trained 100 Navy officers in diesel engineering, 200 mechanics and 600 meteorologists for the Army Air Forces, 800 Navy aviation cadets, engineers and Marine glider pilots, and 600 civilian pilots. [Source: College of Engineering, UW-Madison]

1954 - Milton House Opened as Museum

On this date the 110-year-old hexagonal Milton House, "an architectural wonder when it was built in the Wisconsin wilderness," opened as a museum. The Milton Historical Society restored the old inn and filled it with antiques. Part of the restoration included reconstruction of the building's circular staircase. The Milton Historical Society hosted more than 5,400 visitors in the restored Milton House's first season as a museum, but the official opening was not held until the following year. [Source: Janesville Gazette]