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.

Wisconsin Historical Society

Burlesque is a form of entertainment that has become synonymous with exotic dancers. What does burlesque, fishing and the Northwoods have in common? Gary Entz tells us in this week’s Northwoods Moment in History.

The Sheriff and the Bank

Jan 29, 2020
Wisconsin Historical Society

In this week’s Northwoods Moment in History, Gary Entz tells the story of William Clawson, once a forest ranger, a county sheriff and finally, a bank robber.

Gypsies in the Northwoods

Jan 22, 2020

In this week’s Northwoods Moment in History, Gary Entz talks about who the Romani people are and tells of their history in the Northwoods.

Wisconsin Historical Society

How many stories about cows in Wisconsin history can you think of? In this weeks Northwoods Moment in History, Gary Entz reveals that the most memorable stories regarding cows, are usually dramatic ones.

Library of Congress

Native Americans have been making maple syrup and maple sugar in the Northwoods for a long time now.  The methods have changed a little over the millennia, but the process is largely recognizable. 

Nero the Lumber Camp Dog

Jan 1, 2020
Wisconsin Historical Society

Logging camp work defined the Northwoods during the nineteenth century.  It is common knowledge how difficult the work was for both animals and men during the winter months.  It is also known that the men were usually well fed for their work, but sometimes the animals helped in feeding the men in unusual ways.  

Wisconsin Historical Society

Christmas today is highly commercialized, and American consumers are encouraged to shop for as much as they can buy during the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It wasn’t always like this, and during the worst years of the Great Depression Christmas in Rhinelander was celebrated a little differently.

Wisconsin Historical Society

World War II scrap metal drives were an integral part of how people on the home front experienced the war.  Much of the metal came from old automobiles, but where some of those old automobiles came from turned out to be quite a surprise.

Wisconsin Historical Society

In the early twentieth century, it was a risky undertaking to dream of a greenhouse and flower business in a northern logging and lumbering town like Rhinelander. Peter Philipp not only dreamed about it, he successfully built one of Rhinelander’s oldest downtown businesses.

Wisconsin Historical Society

Another gun deer season has come and gone, and hunters are talking about the fall harvest. Harvest is a pastoral term that sounds odd when used in reference to hunting, so in this week’s Northwoods Moment in History, local historian Gary Entz explores usage of the term and where it comes from.


One of the nicknames given to soldiers in the First World War was “Sammy.”  During the holiday season of 1917, people in the Northwoods were encouraged to support the troops by becoming a “Sammy Backer.”  What was a Sammy Backer?

Wisconsin Historical Society

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders was one of the most famous touring shows in American history.  When Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show toured the Northwoods in 1900, one of his performers fell in love with the area and decided he wanted to call it home. 

Library of Congress

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders was one of the most famous touring shows in American history.  What few people today remember is that Buffalo Bill Cody brought his show to the Northwoods and thrilled the local area with feats of skill and daring.

Rhinelander's Playwright

Nov 6, 2019
United Press International

Many notable people have lived in the Northwoods at one time or another in their lives. Sometimes some very accomplished people that listeners may not have known about started out right here in the Northwoods. Dale Wasserman was one such person.

Wisconsin Historical Society

In the early morning gloom, it is easy to imagine what might the thing be that goes bump in the night.  Sometimes the thing that is really there turns out to be so unusual that it is hard to believe.  Such an event happened at Rhinelander’s Paper Mill in 1935.