Wisconsin History - the history of Wisconsin
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Vacation 2 USA   >   Wisconsin   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   Wisconsin History


Wisconsin History

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A Short History of Wisconsin

By Erika Janik

Brand: Wisconsin Historical Society Press
Paperback (264 pages)

A Short History of Wisconsin
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Rediscover Wisconsin history from the very beginning. A Short History of Wisconsin recounts the landscapes, people, and traditions that have made the state the multifaceted place it is today. With an approach both comprehensive and accessible, historian Erika Janik covers several centuries of Wisconsin's remarkable past, showing how the state was shaped by the same world wars, waves of new inhabitants, and upheavals in society and politics that shaped the nation.

Swift, authoritative, and compulsively readable, A Short History of Wisconsin commences with the glaciers that hewed the region's breathtaking terrain, the Native American cultures who first called it home, and French explorers and traders who mapped what was once called "Mescousing." Janik moves through the Civil War and two world wars, covers advances in the rights of women, workers, African Americans, and Indians, and recent shifts involving the environmental movement and the conservative revolution of the late 20th century. Wisconsin has hosted industries from fur-trapping to mining to dairying, and its political landscape sprouted figures both renowned and reviled, from Fighting Bob La Follette to Joseph McCarthy. Janik finds the story of a state not only in the broad strokes of immigration and politics, but also in the daily lives shaped by work, leisure, sports, and culture. A Short History of Wisconsin offers a fresh understanding of how Wisconsin came into being and how Wisconsinites past and present share a deep connection to the land itself.

The Handy Wisconsin Answer Book (The Handy Answer Book Series)

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

Visible Ink Press
Released: 2019-05-01
Paperback (416 pages)

The Handy Wisconsin Answer Book (The Handy Answer Book Series)
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Beer, cheese, lakes, rivers, cabins, and cities. With a diverse geography, beautiful natural wonders, and vibrant cities, tourism naturally plays a major role in Wisconsin’s economy, and its nickname, “America's Dairyland,” speaks to the importance of agriculture. Of course, cheeseheads abound in Green Bay and throughout the state, as do the Effigy Mounds―burial mounds―in the form of animals or birds of the Woodland Indians. The Handy Wisconsin Answer Book takes an in-depth look at the state’s variety, along with its fascinating history, people, myths, culture, and trivia. Covering its industries, politicians, arts, media, culture, and, of course, sports dynasties and legends, it brings the state’s past and present to life. Learn about the earliest people in the Great Lakes area, the Paleo-Indian People, French explorers, traders, the Paul Bunyan “myth,” today’s numerous ethnic festivals, including Brat(wurst) Days, Polka Days, Cheese Days, and the Wisconsin Highland Games. Uncover surprising fun facts like Brett Farve's first forward pass for the Packers was caught by … Brett Favre! From log-rolling, the state capital in Madison and its politics, famous breweries, major manufacturers Kohler Company, Johnson Controls, John Deere, Caterpillar Inc. and Harley-Davidson motorcycles to the Milwaukee Art Museum, Willem Dafoe, Georgia O’Keeffe, the infamous Jeffrey Dahmer, Al Jarreau, and other notable people and places, The Handy Wisconsin Answer Book answers to nearly 1,400 questions the Badger State’s unique and interesting history, people, and places, including:

  • Why is Wisconsin called “Wisconsin”?
  • How much snow falls in Wisconsin?
  • What is the Wisconsin state dance?
  • Which Native American tribes called Wisconsin home?
  • Was there a Civil War POW camp in Wisconsin?
  • How did log rolling become a sport?
  • Why was the Oleomargarine Act supported by nearly every farmer in the Dairy State?
  • What was the Day the Music Died?
  • How many acres of State Forests does Wisconsin have?
  • Was Paul Bunyan a real person?
  • Where is the Pabst Mansion located?
  • What is the most popular attraction in the state?
  • How many beer festivals are there in Wisconsin?
  • Where is Roundy’s headquartered?
  • Which waterway is most important to Wisconsin?
  • Which political party held sway in Wisconsin when the state was formed?
  • What caused so much controversy in the redistricting of 2010?
  • What is unique about Wisconsin’s capitol building?
  • Where did the Green Bay Packers get their name?
  • How much did each winning player make for playing in Superbowl I?
  • How much milk does it take to make one pound of butter?
  • How many towns in Wisconsin claim to be the UFO Capital of the World?

    Illustrating the unique character of the state through a combination of facts, stats, and history, as well as the unusual and quirky, The Handy Wisconsin Answer Book answers intriguing questions about people, places, events, government, and places of interest. This informative book also includes a helpful bibliography and an extensive index, adding to its usefulness.

  • Wisconsin State Parks: Extraordinary Stories of Geology and Natural History

    By Scott Spoolman

    Wisconsin Historical Society Press
    Released: 2018-04-27
    Paperback (228 pages)

    Wisconsin State Parks: Extraordinary Stories of Geology and Natural History
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    Hit the trail for a dramatic look at Wisconsin’s geologic past.

    The impressive bluffs, valleys, waterfalls, and lakes of Wisconsin’s state parks provide more than beautiful scenery and recreational opportunities. They are windows into the distant past, offering clues to the dramatic events that have shaped the land over billions of years. 

    Author and former DNR journalist Scott Spoolman takes readers with him to twenty-eight parks, forests, and natural areas where evidence of the state’s striking geologic and natural history are on display. In an accessible storytelling style, Spoolman sheds light on the volcanoes that poured deep layers of lava rock over a vast area in the northwest, the glacial masses that flattened and molded the landscape of northern and eastern Wisconsin, mountain ranges that rose up and wore away over hundreds of millions of years, and many other bedrock-shaping phenomena. These stories connect geologic processes to the current landscape, as well as to the evolution of flora and fauna and development of human settlement and activities, for a deeper understanding of our state’s natural history.

    The book includes a selection of detailed trail guides for each park, which hikers can take with them on the trail to view evidence of Wisconsin’s geologic and natural history for themselves.

    Odd Wisconsin: Amusing, Perplexing, and Unlikely Stories from Wisconsin's Past

    By Erika Janik

    Wisconsin Historical Society Press
    Paperback (208 pages)

    Odd Wisconsin: Amusing, Perplexing, and Unlikely Stories from Wisconsin s Past
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    While Bob La Follette's exploits as leader of progressive politics are legendary, his early morning exertions to save valuable government documents and executive department paintings during the disastrous 1904 capitol fire are largely unknown - until now. Odd Wisconsin captures the Wisconsin people, places, and events that didn't make it into conventional state histories, lowering a bucket into the depths of Wisconsin history and bringing to light curious fragments of forgotten lives.

    This unique book unearths the stories that got lost to history even though they may have made local headlines at the time. No mythical hodags or eight-legged horses here! Odd Wisconsin features strange but true stories from Wisconsin's past, every one of which was documented (albeit by the standards of the day). These brief glimpses into Wisconsin's past will surprise, perplex, astonish, and otherwise connect readers with the state's fascinating history. From "the voyageur with a hole in his side" to "pigs beneath the legislature," Odd Wisconsin gathers 300 years of curiosities, all under the radar of traditional stories.

    Wisconsin Agriculture: A History

    By Jerry Apps

    Wisconsin Historical Society Press
    Hardcover (336 pages)

    Wisconsin Agriculture: A History
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    "I'm embarrassed to say I thought I knew anything substantial about Wisconsin agriculture or its history before I read this book. 'Wisconsin Agriculture' should be required reading in history classes from high school to the collegiate level. It makes me thankful that Jerry Apps has such a sense of commitment to Wisconsin's agricultural heritage--and to getting the story right." --Pam Jahnke, Farm Director, Wisconsin Farm Report Radio

    Wisconsin has been a farming state from its very beginnings. And though it's long been known as "the Dairy State," it produces much more than cows, milk, and cheese. In fact, Wisconsin is one of the most diverse agricultural states in the nation.

    The story of farming in Wisconsin is rich and diverse as well, and the threads of that story are related and intertwined. In this long-awaited volume, celebrated rural historian Jerry Apps examines everything from the fundamental influences of landscape and weather to complex matters of ethnic and pioneer settlement patterns, changing technology, agricultural research and education, and government regulations and policies. Along with expected topics, such as the cranberry industry and artisan cheesemaking, "Wisconsin Agriculture" delves into beef cattle and dairy goats, fur farming and Christmas trees, maple syrup and honey, and other specialty crops, including ginseng, hemp, cherries, sugar beets, mint, sphagnum moss, flax, and hops. Apps also explores new and rediscovered farming endeavors, from aquaculture to urban farming to beekeeping, and discusses recent political developments, such as the 2014 Farm Bill and its ramifications. And he looks to the future of farming, contemplating questions of ethical growing practices, food safety, sustainability, and the potential effects of climate change.

    Featuring first-person accounts from the settlement era to today, along with more than 200 captivating photographs, "Wisconsin Agriculture" breathes life into the facts and figures of 150 years of farming history and provides compelling insights into the state's agricultural past, present, and future.

    Hidden History of the Wisconsin Dells Area

    By Ross M. Curry

    The History Press
    Released: 2010-12-03
    Paperback (136 pages)

    Hidden History of the Wisconsin Dells Area
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    The history of the Wisconsin Dells area is as unique as its glacier-sculpted landscape. It has been a gathering place for tribal councils, a vacation spot for enthralled tourists and a stopping point for the raftsmen who might have had a little too much of the Devil's Eyewater" brewed by pioneer Robert Allen. Local expert Ross M. Curry has been chronicling the region, from Baraboo to Lyndon, for almost sixty years. Join him for those chapters of the area's story that he himself has witnessed, and then follow him as he hikes back to a time before the Kilbourn Dam, when towns were lit by gaslight, justice might be enforced by duels or "necktie parties" and hardships had to be outlasted by tightknit families with unshakable faith and their own butter churns."

    Wisconsin Supper Clubs: An Old-Fashioned Experience

    By Ron Faiola

    Brand: Agate Midway
    Hardcover (224 pages)

    Wisconsin Supper Clubs: An Old-Fashioned Experience
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    Wisconsin Supper Clubs is a resource for and about supper clubs throughout Wisconsin that includes beautiful photographs of the unique supper club interiors, proprietors, and customers, as well as fascinating archival materials. Also recorded in this book are the regional specialties served at these clubs, ranging from popovers and fried pickles in the northern part of the state to Shrimp de Jonghe in the south. One Northwoods supper club even features fry bread, a traditional Native American dish uncommon to most any restaurant.

    The "supper club experience" is a tradition embodied by many long-standing restaurants scattered throughout the small towns of Wisconsin. It is based around a bygone idea that going out to dinner is an experience that lasts an entire evening. The clubs emphasizing food made from scratch, slow-paced dining, and family-run businesses. Combine this with stately dark-panel decor, complimentary relish trays, and the best brandy Old Fashioned sweet you'll ever have, and you have barely scratched the surface of the Wisconsin supper club's appeal.

    Author Ron Faiola is the critically acclaimed director and producer of the documentary by the same name. Supper clubs are hugely popular with Wisconsin locals and regularly frequented by all Midwestern foodies "in the know." With Wisconsin Supper Clubs as a guide, these establishments are primed to be choice summer road trip destinations for anyone looking for low-cost vacations this summer. After the successful debut of Faiola's documentary, this book is sure to be a hit throughout the region and beyond.

    History Of Wisconsin: Volume I: From Exploration To Statehood

    By Alice E. Smith

    Brand: Wisconsin Historical Society Press
    Hardcover (753 pages)

    History Of Wisconsin: Volume I: From Exploration To Statehood
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    Published in 1973, this first volume in the History of Wisconsin series remains the definitive work on Wisconsin's beginnings, from the arrival of the French explorer Jean Nicolet in 1634, to the attainment of statehood in 1848. This volume explores how Wisconsin's Native American inhabitants, early trappers, traders, explorers, and many immigrant groups paved the way for the territory to become a more permanent society. Including nearly two dozen maps as well as illustrations of territorial Wisconsin and portraits of early residents, this volume provides an in-depth history of the beginnings of the state.

    Wisconsin's Past and Present: A Historical Atlas

    By Wisconsin Cartographers' Guild

    University of Wisconsin Press
    Hardcover (144 pages)

    Wisconsin s Past and Present: A Historical Atlas
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    • historical atlas of Wisconsin past and present
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        Despite Wisconsin's rich history, no historical atlas has been produced in the state since 1878. Wisconsin's Past and Present, created by the Wisconsin Cartographers' Guild, has filled this void with a fascinating and colorful portrait of the state's complex development. This useful and entertaining guide, produced to mark 150 years of statehood, provides a lasting resource for map lovers and history buffs of all ages, and anyone interested in Wisconsin's heritage. The Atlas features more than 100 pages of historic and geographic data, including full-color maps, descriptive text, photos, and illustrations.
        The Atlas highlights the peoples and cultures, economy and land, and socio-political landscape of Wisconsin—from Native American mounds to weather hazards to labor history. Situated at the intersections of natural and cultural regions, Wisconsin has always been an area "on thecutting edge." It formed a boundary between the glaciated and unglaciated regions of North America, which evolved into the "tension line" between the Northwoods and the Central Plains. It later became the meeting ground among Native American nations, and a new home to diverse groups of immigrant settlers, who introduced cutting-edge political and economic ideas to the rest of the country. Wisconsin still serves as a borderland between the agricultural Midwest, the industrial Great Lakes, and the Northern forests. The Atlas explores the history of indigenous cultures, immigrant groups, natural resources, agriculture, industries, boundaries, political and social movements, and government institutions in lively detail.

    Service With the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers: Four Years with the Iron Brigade

    By Rufus R. Dawes

    Epigene Press
    Released: 2019-01-27
    Kindle Edition (259 pages)

    Service With the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers: Four Years with the Iron Brigade
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    Maj. Gen. McClellan: “What troops are those fighting in the Pike?”
    Maj. Gen. Hooker: “General Gibbon’s brigade of Western men.”
    Maj. Gen. McClellan: “They must be made of iron.”

    And so, during the Battle of South Mountain, a prelude to the Battle of Antietam, this brigade earned its famous title as the “Iron Brigade”.

    Once McClellan had heard of their actions during the Second Battle of Bull Run, where they were facing off against a superior force under Stonewall Jackson, he is said to have stated that they were the “best troops in the world.”

    Rufus R. Dawes was a captain with the 6th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, that along with 2nd and 7th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiments, the 19th Indiana, Battery B of the 4th U.S. Light Artillery, and later in the war the 24th Michigan, formed the Iron Brigade.

    Although only in his early twenties at the beginning of the war he rapidly became an important leader in the famous brigade and by the end of the war was brevetted as a brigadier general for meritorious service.

    One of his most famous actions was on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg when he led a counterattack on the confederate forces under Brigadier General Joseph R. Davis and forced the surrender of more than two hundred enemy soldiers.

    Service With the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers records in brilliant detail all of the actions that he and his regiment were involved in, including Second Bull Run, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, Cold Harbor and Petersburg. Yet this book is not simply an account of the military activities that took place as he also recorded his feelings and moods, and included details about daily camp life and individual soldiers.

    Rufus Dawes derived all of the books material from his diaries and letters. He realized the value of a statement made at the moment as to his experiences, and he appreciated fully the treacherous nature of memory. He believed contemporaneous expression in letters and diaries provided material of historical value. He had the material and the ability to write a superb history of the grueling service of this famous regiment, but he felt that the story of his personal experiences and impressions written at the time would be of greater value, and so this book is not only account of the regiment, it is also a very personal account of one man’s view of the Civil War.

    This book deserves to be read and enjoyed by all who wish to hear more about this brutal but fascinating conflict and to get to the heart of what the soldiers saw and thought.

    Rufus R. Dawes was a military officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War. After the war he became a businessman, Congressman and author. His book Service With the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers was first published in 1890. He passed away in 1899.

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