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A Northwoods Moment In History

We turn back the clock with local historians to find out what life in the Northwoods used to be like. This is part of an initiative by WXPR to tell the history and culture of northern Wisconsin.

You can receive a book of A Northwoods Moment in History stories as a thank you gift for your donation to WXPR.

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  • What started out as a small race on Eagle River’s Dollar Lake in 1964, quickly turned into the world Championship of Snowmobile racing. Much has been written about the history of the famous derby, but several visits from notable Green Bay Packers helped give it even more traction in the early days.
  • During the first cross-country endurance race in Wisconsin, the Hodag International Cross-Country Marathon, racers came from all over, including Canada. However, there were few women among the entrants. MaryAnn Montgomery was one.
  • Downtown Rhinelander was decked for the holiday season in December of 1968 when the Christmas celebrating was put to a sudden stop. A historic fire swept through the city, destroying dozens of storefronts.
  • Rumors about Molly’s Rock in Sugar Camp are plentiful. But what’s the true story behind the legendary haunted boulder?
  • An explosion shattered the quiet air of Minocqua Lake early in the morning on August 13, 1977. The blast killed the man carrying the bomb, severely injured the perpetrator of the bombing and left a dark mark on Minocqua history.
  • Rhinelander resident Henry Hanson was a captain onboard a ship during World War I when it was torpedoed by German U Boats.
  • Although relatively slow moving, trains do not stop easily. No shortage of vehicles or persons came head-to-head with locomotives in their time, often with fatal effect. So too did trains occasionally collide with other trains. One such incident occurred at Rhinelander in the summer of 1951.
  • The Oneida County Courthouse in Rhinelander is purported to be one of the most photographed buildings in northern Wisconsin. Let’s learn a little bit about it with Director of the Pioneer Park Historical Complex Kerry Bloedorn.
  • Many talented and intriguing personalities have called northern Wisconsin home throughout history, from the naturalist Sam Campbell to actress Joan Valerie, and baseball player Cy Williams. But this musically magical couple stands apart from the rest.
  • In 1947, the Henkelmann family moved to Arbor Vitae. Henry and Mary built Henkelmann's Museum, opening around 1950.