A Northwoods Moment In History

Every Wednesday at 6:45 a.m., 8:45 a.m., and 5:45 p.m., we turn back the clock on WXPR with local historian Gary Entz to find out what life in the Northwoods used to be like. This is part of a new initiative by WXPR to tell the history and culture of northern Wisconsin.

You can keep track of A Northwoods Moment in History and all of WXPR's local features on the WXPR Local Features podcast, wherever you get your podcasts.

Do you have an idea for something that might make a good episode of A Northwoods Moment in History? Send us an email: mackenzie@wxpr.org.

Courtesy of Gary Entz

Back in the 1950's, career criminal John Halasz didn't really like spending time in the Oneida County jail... so he escaped.

Gary Entz has the story for this week's A Northwoods Moment in History.

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This week's A Northwoods Moment in History feature is in response to a recent Curious North question WXPR received.

LJ Sommers asked: There have been rumors for years about tunnels underneath the streets of downtown Rhinelander used during prohibition. Is this a fact or simply a fictional take?

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Wartime was a difficult time for everyone, including the labor force here in the Northwoods.

For this week's Northwoods Moment in History, Gary Entz tells us about the workers that came to fill the void in 1944.

G. R. Brown Post Card Co./Amazon

In anticipation of the upcoming Labor Day weekend, we’re remembering a Labor Day celebration that took place in Rhinelander in the early 1900’s today.

Gary Entz has the story for this week’s A Northwoods Moment in History.

Courtesy of Kerry Bloedorn/Pioneer Park Historical Complex

There is a lot of choice when it comes to refrigerators today... Back in the day, though, the popular brand to buy was Rhinelander. And it was less of a refrigerator and more of an icebox.

Gary Entz tells us the story for this week's A Northwoods Moment in History.

When shopping for a new refrigerator there are many popular brands that people may choose from today.  But one hundred years ago, one of the leading names in food refrigeration was Rhinelander, and the Rhinelander Refrigerator had a national reputation for quality.

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The Northwoods had quite the reputation as a “gangster haven” back in the Prohibition era of the 1920’s and early 1930’s.

Gary Entz tells us about one particular incident that took place in Eagle River back in 1931 for this week’s A Northwoods Moment in History.

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Professional football teams like the Green Bay Packers are training in anticipation of the 2019 football season right now.

This week for A Northwoods Moment in History, Gary Entz looks back on a Green Bay Packers training camp held in 1935 in Rhinelander.

Wikimedia Commons/Billboard

With the Oneida County Fair kicking off tomorrow, we thought we’d remember a special moment at the Oneida County Fair back in 1938.

Gary Entz continues our series A Northwoods Moment in History with the story, starting with the history of the National Barn Dance radio program.

In the 1930s The National Barn Dance was one of the most popular programs on broadcast radio, and it was a great favorite in the Northwoods.  Two stars in particular were beloved in the Northwoods, and that was the singing duo of Lulu Belle and Skyland Scottie.

During WXPR's Curious North road trip in June, Shane B. asked us this question at our stop in Crandon: There was an X-Files episode in the 1st season that was in Townsend, WI. Was it actually filmed here?

For this week's A Northwoods Moment in History, Gary Entz answers Shane's question and also tells us about a real UFO incident that occurred in the Northwoods back in 1961.

Federal Bureau of Investigation / Wikimedia Commons

You've heard of John Dillinger and the famous shootout at Bohemia Lodge in Manitowish Waters, but have you ever heard of Evelyn Frechette?

That's the topic of this week's A Northwoods Moment in History with Gary Entz.

Evelyn Frechette grew up in the Northwoods of Wisconsin and gained a measure of fame in the 1930s.  Her celebrity did not come from being a film actress or anything of that sort.  Rather, Evelyn Frechette became famous and drew crowds for national speaking tours because of her association with gangsters.

Gary Entz / WXPR Public Radio

This week's A Northwoods Moment in History comes from a Curious North question.

Bob Nussbaum from Rhinelander asks: Why, and when, did the famous smokestacks of Rhinelander Paper, get shortened, so that the word "Glassine," the description of the butcher paper that changed the world, lost its "G"?

To answer Bob's question, here's Gary Entz.

Wikimedia Commons

Donald Karr of Rhinelander was a true war hero, but his heroism during World War II didn’t prevent an awkward homecoming when he returned to Wisconsin in 1944.

Gary Entz has this story for this week's A Northwoods Moment in History.

8tracks.com/markymark25 / Wikimedia Commons

During the summer of 1958, Rock and Roll pioneers Buddy Holly and the Crickets toured the Upper Midwest as part of the Summer Dance Party tour. The tour passed through Wausau and ended in Rhinelander.

Gary Entz has the story for this week's A Northwoods Moment in History.

Wisconsin Historical Society, Image ID: 42850, wisconsinhistory.org

This week's A Northwoods Moment in History comes from a question to our Curious North series.

Patty Fitzpatrick from Rhinelander recently asked: Is it true that there was a POW camp in Rhinelander during World War II?"

To answer Patty's question, here's Gary Entz for this week's A Northwoods Moment in History.

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In 1923, a fire in Elcho resulted in a dramatic shift for the way the Langlade County town looked.

Gary Entz has the story for this week's A Northwoods Moment in History.

Most Northwoods communities have undergone numerous changes during their existence.  The original wooden buildings of the late nineteenth century gave way to modern brick and mortar buildings as the twentieth century progressed.  It happens everywhere, but in some cases the change is more dramatic than most, and none was more visually dramatic than the change that overtook the town of Elcho in the 1920s.

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