Articles and anecdotes from the past.

  • The Kaukauna News Villager, 1927-1938 News Snippets

    The Kaukauna News Villager, 1927-1938 News Snippets

    Kaukauna Times 1920, 1927, 1934, 1937, 1938 FAMILY OF PAPER MAKER DROWNED IN FOX RIVER—Kaukauna, Wis. Sept. 6, 1900Disaster overtook the family of Henry Quade, an employee of the Union Bag and Paper Company last Sunday afternoon. Mr. Quade and his family, consisting of his wife, three girls and four boys were attending a picnic below…

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  • Quadine Zilles Wins Photo Award, Young Lady Local Talent, 1940

    Quadine Zilles Wins Photo Award, Young Lady Local Talent, 1940

    Quadine Zilles, 1941 Quadine’s Kaukauna High School achievements include activity in theater, operetta and piano recital. At Kaukauna High School Quadine had a 3.99 grade average missing class Valedictorian by a fraction of a point. She graduated June 6, 1931. She had a photographic memory along with a high IQ. She could type at least…

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  • History of Kaukauna (Video)

    History of Kaukauna (Video)

    This was my final project for my Video Editing class. It is about the city of Kaukauna.

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  • Melting Pot

    Melting Pot

    The photo of the Slavic woman dates back to about 1900. At that era getting your picture taken was a big deal—not to mention expensive. She looked into the mirror thinking “I’ve got to do my hair!” First she curled her hair up. Then set it with bobby pins while still wet. Finally! The hair…

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  • Christmas in the 1920’s

    Christmas in the 1920’s

    Celebration of Christmas in the 1920’s was very much like the Christmas season of today. There were Christmas trees, wreaths, garlands, lights, candles, goodies, toys, stockings, ribbons, bows, nutcrackers, cookies, cakes, pies, nativity sets, train sets Christmas villages and of course, Santa Claus. In the 1920’s, there was the local Department Store, Sear’s catalog, the…

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  • The Iceman

    The Iceman

    Head back to 1880. It’s January — time to cut blocks of ice out from rivers, lakes and ponds. Ice harvesting involved waiting until approximately a foot of ice had built up on the water surface in the winter. The ice would then be cut, with either a handsaw or a powered saw blade, into…

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  • Ladies in Hats

    Ladies in Hats

    Hats, hats, and more hats! Well-dressed women always wore hats and gloves. It was the proper attire for any occasion. From going grocery shopping to going out on the town, hats were in fashion. Nobody seems to wear hats these days unless it is a baseball cap or a hat to block the sun. I…

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  • Early Milwaukee Parks

    Early Milwaukee Parks

    Cities need parks. The more densely packed the center city, the more necessary are some oases of green. Urban parks are called the city’s lungs, the gardens of the poor. They provide space for refreshment of the spirit and an egalitarian gathering place for human connection. Milwaukee County is known around the country for its…

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  • A Few Notes On Engravings

    A Few Notes On Engravings

    People love pictures. Most people love pictures more than print, and so the early guidebooks and promotional pieces that Milwaukee bookshops produced were lavishly illustrated. One thing you will notice, however, is that the books of the 19th century used engravings more than actual photographs. So did businesses when they sought to develop their trademark image…

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  • The Milkman — 1915

    The Milkman — 1915

    The generation is nearly gone that retains some memory of the milkman or his young “jumper”, lugging cartons of milk and cream from a paneled truck up and down the steps of his customers or perhaps placing the bottles inside the cubby that opened from both inside and outside the house to store the delivered…

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  • Restoring the Past: Small-town Theaters Rebound

    Restoring the Past: Small-town Theaters Rebound

    In 2014 residents of Webster City, Iowa, rallied to save their local movie house, The Webster on the 2nd Street strip was sandwiched between the Hallmark shop and Bettis Appliance and Television. Residents might watch Five Feet Apart this weekend for $4. After a manufacturing plant closed in Webster City in 2013, the citizenry gathered…

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  • Small Town Theater Memories — 1940’s

    Small Town Theater Memories — 1940’s

    In the early 1940s the local movie theaters were busy showing the many offerings from the Hollywood studios, some films which included many Western’s, known as cowboy movies. And for those movies us kids would line up at the box office clutching our dimes waiting for the box office to open. A lot of pushing…

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  • Remembering the Old One-Room Schoolhouse

    Remembering the Old One-Room Schoolhouse

    The mention of the one-room schoolhouse calls to mind a picture of Laura Ingalls Wilder engaging a handful of students in rural South Dakota when she was only fifteen years old. Fans of the Little House books and television series may recall that she retired from her one-room school life at age eighteen to marry…

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  • Homage to the Village Blacksmith

    Homage to the Village Blacksmith

    The village blacksmith—he is the big man in a sleeveless leather vest, sweating in a way that makes his forehead and biceps stare back at you, yet friendly as the milkman or local parson. He is the man you call when facing the impossible emergency down on the farm or shop. The poet Longfellow imprinted…

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  • Modern Life: A Glance Backward in Time

    Modern Life: A Glance Backward in Time

    In 1998 a staffer at Beloit College in south-central Wisconsin forwarded a list of relevant facts to orient colleagues to the culture of incoming students; that is, what new students, mostly born in 1980, would know and not know. On that original Mindset List were items like, your new students “never had a polio shot,…

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