Travel, History & Culture in America's Dairyland





Fish Frys


School Daze

It’s inevitable. Gather two or more people who attended college in Wisconsin – longtime friends, long-lost acquaintances, perfect strangers - it makes no difference - and the conversation will ultimately lead to familiar places. It happens in board rooms, airports and car pools, around soccer fields and banquet tables, at neighborhood block parties and church picnics.

What are the most common of all denominators when we turn an eye to the past, the collective touchstones of Wisconsin higher education?

Bars. Taverns. Dives.

50th Anniversary
As he sped out of Hurley on southbound US 51, the Iron County sheriff must have wondered if he would find any survivors.

A trucker had notified the sheriff’s department that a group of men -- without hats, gloves or winter coats -- was seen standing outside a stranded bus ten or fifteen miles south of town. Continued....


Last Call
In an era when communication is reduced to pushing out messages on handheld personal devices, it’s good to know one thing remains entrenched defiantly in the past:

The Union Hotel pay phone booth.

Read on....

The Life and Loves of Doc Powell
Heather Allen knew a few things about Dr. Frank Powell, La Crosse’s famous mayor in the late 1800s.

After all, Allen works for John Satory, owner of Satori Arts gift shop in downtown La Crosse and the foremost expert on Powell. Satory’s store contains a small exhibit about the flamboyant “Doc” Powell. The exhibit stands a few feet away from the counter where Heather Allen helps customers purchase jewelry and gifts. Continued....

Heroes & Villains: Wisconsin Crime    
John McCaffrey's Body — The death of John McCaffrey is unearthed, and why it matters 150 years later.

Frozen Summer — On August 17, 1993, a college coed who was loved and admired by all who knew her was found murdered in a Stevens Point hotel room.

The Story of the Snow Queen — On a cold March day in 1993, a Wisconsin Rapids man stood alone on County Road W in Portage County. He wore nothing but his socks. The Snow Queen had struck again.

Now that Johnny Depp is on his way to Wisconsin to film "Public Enemies," Classic Wisconsin revisits the original badass named Johnny: Dillinger. No Hollywood treatment here, just the true story of gangsters, guns, and a
Boston bull terrier named Rex.

Valley of the Molls - Part I
Valley of the Molls - Part II

The Wayside
Dear Indy: Give 'em the Meat Hook A recent online poll showed Wisconsin football fans were evenly split between the Bears and the Colts. This is deeply disturbing.

Swallow This Classic Wisconsin’s exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the world brat-eating contest in Sheboygan.

The Kentucky Derby of Cooties — Hundreds of contestants gathered at the Oxbo Resort along the beautiful Flambeau River. Some brought Ziploc bags, others had matchboxes, each carried the hopes and dreams of owning the fastest tick in all of cootie sports. 

 Holding Grudges Lawrence and Ripon have kept it going for more than a century. Classic Wisconsin takes the oldest college football rivalry in the state.

The Lost Art of Spitting —  These folks are not spittin’ mad, they’re spittin’ happy.

Booyah Not —  Curly's Pub, Lambeau Field. Lambeau Field is a mall now, complete with a food court.

Dazed and Amused —  Make contact with UFO abductees in the Kettle Moraine State Forest.

Bibles, Bottles and the Swingin' Senator The Boscobel Hotel is alive and well, and so are the legends “conceived” in this vintage Wisconsin River gathering spot.

Ice Ice Baby — For more than a half-century the Washington Island ferry, the C.G. Richter, battled the Inland Sea in true underdog fashion.

Visit Door County — Lighthouses, Despair, Suicide.

Everybody In This Town Is Drunk — Super heroes, talking pigs, and the criminally sweaty. Milwaukee's Summerfest is a proletarian bash of epic proportions.

Hayward Family Values — If it involves logs, you'll find it at the Lumberjack World Championships in Hayward, Wisconsin.

No Boloney: Butch's Last Bash Butch's Bash, the UW Athletic Department's annual spring fundraiser, is calling it quits after more than 30 years.

The Trojan Cow — You know its summer when a giant cow roams your street – and the chips are being dried in Sauk City. Read story.  

This Date in Wisconsin History
June 11, 1913 — What the hell is going on out there?

August 24, 1970 — Getting Down to the Nitty Gritty.

October 14, 1912 — John Schrank left New York City and boarded a train for destinations unknown.

Up Close & Personal
Coulee Country Cowboy  He has six gold albums and one of the biggest hit songs ever.

What is Michael Martin Murphy doing in Vernon County?


Endless Winter  If there is a rock-n-roll heaven, Wisconsin just might be purgatory. Buddy Holly, Ottis Redding, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Wendy O’Williams and Elvis in America's Dairyland.

Headless Henry Mead
Boo. Scared yet? No? Check out the true story of Henry Mead, the Waupaca banker who, er, lost his head and didn’t get it back for a hundred years. By the way, who’s that standing behind you with a shotgun? Scared ya.

The Last Bunger — It’s the end of an era at Huber Brewing in Monroe. Who but Classic Wisconsin takes you on an in- depth look at bungholes? Who? Who?

Joe's Bones — Joe McCarthy lives. He's buried in Appleton.

Field Trip:  Meet Your Legislator Hey kids, can’t find your representative in the Capitol building? Did you check under the nearest bar? With the legislature in session -- look over there, another field sobriety test -- it’s time for a Classic Wisconsin tour of our state’s seat of power.

The (usually) Untold Story of Dan Devine's Dog They say if you want a friend, you better have a dog. Former Green Bay Packers head coach Dan Devine had a dog. Then it was shot...

Gift of the Magi Halfback Gather ‘round, kids. Santa has his toddy warmed up, and it’s time for Classic Wisconsin’s beloved holiday story.

Letters From Greta — Fox News' Greta Van Susteren hosts the highest-rated cable news program in its time slot. Not bad for an Appleton girl who fondly recalls  cruising College Avenue and meeting Paul Hornung at Conkey’s Bookstore.

Vanessa Unwrapped! — With brains, beauty and Saran Wrap, Vanessa Marie Semrow of Rhinelander became only the second Wisconsin woman to earn a national pageant title in 30 years.

Declaration of Independents Aneb Jah Rasta, Independent candidate for governor. Need we say more?

The Birds There's a big swamp in south-central Wisconsin called the Horicon Marsh. For those of us who don't know our ass from a Yellow Rumped Warbler, there's Rollie Zuelsdorf to help us.


Guest Authors

Dennis McCann
Free to you and your loved ones, presents an exclusive excerpt from Dennis McCann's latest book, "Badger Boneyards: The Eternal Rest of the Story." You're very welcome.

James Magnuson Wisconsin’s remote North Woods is the backdrop to a new book by award-winning novelist James Magnuson. The Hounds of Winter, published by the University of Texas Press, is a psychological thriller about a father who mistakenly becomes a prime suspect in his daughter’s murder. Read the excerpt.

Terese Allen writes about the only remaining Limburger cheese factory in the United States. Recipe included.

Jerry Poling shares an excerpt from his fine book, A Summer Up North and After They Were Packers

Dennis Boyer reveals the location of The House of Spirits.

Top Shanty 2005

Classic Wisconsin’s Top Ice Fishing Shanty contest heard heartwarming tales of fellowship, such as offering free beer to help move a heavy shanty. There were epic fish stories, like trying to get a 36-inch Northern through a tiny hole in the ice....

Shanty Fabulous

Runner Up
The Dream Shanty

Runner Up
Our Cabin on the Lake

Honor Roll
Calling All Fish

Faking It

Central Wisconsin Beckons
True Believers Once Again

In a case of history repeating itself, growing numbers of people are flocking to central Wisconsin based on reports of an apparition.

Vikings to Move
Purple Pride is history, at least in Minnesota.

U.P. To Join Wisc.?
A proposal tucked away in Governor Jim Doyle's state budget aims to annex Michigan's Upper Peninsula.


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