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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.

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  • In the fall of 1895, a team from the University of Wisconsin school of agriculture, including Dean William A. Henry, Madison photographer Harvey J. Perkins, and others, traveled to every county north of a line drawn from Green Bay to Hudson. They compiled information and photographs from cutover lands, and already existing farms, in an attempt to showcase the potential of the area.All this work was put into a 200 page booklet titled “Northern Wisconsin: A Handbook for the Home Seeker”.
  • Fifty-one years ago, the United States left Vietnam on March 29th, 1973, after 8 years of fighting. The conflict left a lasting impact on our country, including the Northwoods, where it forever changed the lives of the service members involved and their families. This is one of those stories.
  • Kids corner Pizza in Rhinelander is located in one of the oldest frame buildings in downtown Rhinelander. Kerry Bloedorn – Northwoods Historian, shares the history of that building, The Martin Flat, on this installment of A Northwoods Moment in History on WXPR
  • In 1926, Three Lakes Wisconsin held a winter sports carnival on a big hill at what is now Camp Luther, and on the ice of Range Line Lake below. A number of winter sporting events were organized, including toboggan races, hockey games, and Wisconsin’s first ever snowmobile race.
  • Prohibition began in 1920, banning all sales of alcoholic beverages, as defined by the Volstead Act. The quiet Northwood’s of Wisconsin became a haven for big city black market liquor production and smuggling.
  • In the weeks leading up to Christmas 1944, Americans were tuned into newspaper headlines about a German offensive in the Ardenne forest of Belgium between Germany and France. One young soldier from Pelican Lake, would earn a bronze star in what became known as the Battle of the Bulge.
  • One of the many construction projects in Rhinelander that was completed this year was a water main repair, causing the closure of the Phillip Street Bridge, located behind the Rhinelander Paper Mill. This bridge has collapsed not once, but twice in its history.
  • At the end of the famous book, Tarzan of the apes swoops in to rescue his beloved Jane Porter in the Northern Forests of Wisconsin. This part in the closing chapters of the book never made it into the dozen film adaptations produced over the decades, which is why most Northwoods folk aren’t quite familiar with that part of the adventure.
  • With the return of school comes the return of Friday Night Football.One of the biggest rivalries in the Northwoods is between Rhinelander and Antigo.Local historian and director of the Pioneer Park Historical Complex Kerry Bloedorn shares the story of the Bell Game in this episode of A Northwoods Moment in History.
  • Today, Rhinelander seems like an unlikely place for a presidential hopeful to campaign, but at one time, it was a must stop on the road to the Whitehouse. So it was during a campaign tour in 1959 for a young Senator from Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy. Learn about his visit on A Northwoods Moment in History