A Northwoods Moment in History

Gary Entz

Today no one really thinks about air mail as anything particularly unique.  In the past, however, the railroads transported most interstate mail in the U.S.  To receive a letter with a special air mail envelope and stamp meant that it was either important enough for the sender to pay extra for the postage, or that it came from overseas.  

Wisconsin Historical Society

In the nineteenth century, government rarely got involved in issues of health care. In the absence of government aid, the Catholic Church often stepped in to fill the gap.  There were many people involved in bringing quality hospital care to the Northwoods, but for Rhinelander the life of one individual member of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother serves to tell the story.  

Wisconsin Historical Society

In the past, many Northwoods communities held annual winter carnivals featuring competitions in ski jumping, cross-country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, curling, snowshoe racing, and sled dog racing.  Rhinelander was no exception and embraced what is today called “silent sports.”  But in 1950, one young girl stole the show.  

Wisconsin Historical Society

Christmas is a time when children and grandchildren return home to visit with elderly parents and celebrate the season.  Traveling by airline or automobile over the holidays can be stressful, but modern highways and airline schedules make it relatively easy to accomplish.  Stress has always been a part of holiday travel, but imagine a time when the pace was slower, and the journey was part of the celebration.  

Wisconsin Historical Society

Few corporate brands are as recognizable as Coca-Cola.  The soda has been around for over 130 years, and for much of that time it was bottled right here in the Northwoods. 

Wisconsin Historical Society

Wisconsin’s wolf population has been in the news for the past few months. With efforts to remove wolves from the endangered species list and calls to reinstitute an organized wolf hunt, it seems timely to revisit what originally happened to Wisconsin’s native wolf population. 


Wisconsin Historical Society

Teenagers playing pranks on the community is an issue that is as old as civilization itself. Every generation has had to deal with it in one way or another. But a prank is little more than a practical joke or a mischievous act. At what point does an innocent prank cross the line to become juvenile delinquency? An incident from Oneida County’s early history shows how easily the line can be crossed. Historian Gary Entz has the story.


wisconsin historical society

Thanksgiving traditionally is a time when people celebrate the harvest and other blessings of the year gone by. It is a time when extended families gather with one another to give thanks for good health and, in some cases, to watch football. The Thanksgiving season of 1933, however, had an element of good cheer that had a lot of people in the Northwoods in a celebratory mood. Historian Gary Entz has the story.


wisconsin historical society

Many people in small towns take parking for granted. Except for the height of tourist season, finding a parking spot in most Northwoods towns is not a problem. But it was not so long ago that parking in small town business districts was regulated by parking meters. Historian Gary Entz has the story.

wisconsin historical society

Today is Veterans Day in the United States, but prior to 1954 it was known as Armistice Day to commemorate the end of World War One. To honor Northwoods veterans, historian Gary Entz has a story of two soldiers from Tomahawk who distinguished themselves in the Great War.

wisconsin historical society

A WXPR listener noted that several dogs had been mentioned in past episodes of a Northwoods Moment in History, but no cats. This cat lover was curious if there were any stories from the past about cats in the Northwoods. Historian Gary Entz has the story.

wisconsin historical society

Halloween night is a special time for children across the Northwoods. Many people have fond childhood memories of Halloween traditions, but a lot of those traditions are more recent than most of us realize. In the not so distant past, Halloween in the Northwoods meant mostly tricks and very few treats. Historian Gary Entz has the story.

Ed “Strangler” Lewis

Oct 21, 2020

Professional wrestling is a popular form of entertainment in the United States for many people, and this includes many fans in the Northwoods. Modern wrestling is a choreographed entertainment rather than a true sport, and the individual most responsible for that distinction had a Northwoods connection. Historian Gary Entz has the story.

Wisconsin Historical Society

Today many people take the Oneida County Airport for granted. In the past, however, generating interest in aviation and air travel was an important goal for local civic boosters. In 1930, Rhinelander participated in an air race that significantly advanced this objective. Historian Gary Entz has the story.

wisconsin historical society

Today people living in Wisconsin’s Northwoods and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula look to each other as neighbors who share common interests. No one questions the boundary between the two regions, but in the past the border between the two states was a serious concern. Historian Gary Entz has the story.

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