6 huge historical Wisconsin happenings (that you never heard about)
Sure, everyone remembers Wisconsin when the Packers win another Super Bowl or when one of our own wins a Grammy or something, but our state has been making headlines since its inception. Here’s just a sampling of some nationally, globally, and heck, universally historical events that happened right here in America’s Dairyland.
1. The Great Peshtigo Fire
When: October 1871
Why It’s In the History Books: The Great Peshtigo Fire is known as the worst recorded forest fire in North American history and coincidently occurred the same night as The Great Chicago Fire. While the Chicago fire is considerably more well-known, the Peshtigo fire claimed at least five times as many victims (somewhere between 1,200 and 2,500 people).
2. First Malted Milk
Why It’s In the History Books: While brothers James and William Horlick were running their own infant formula company, they created what they originally called “Diastoid.” This is really important is because it led to the ice cream shop favorite, wait for it… malts. Glad they changed the name.
3. Juliet the Elephant
When: February 1864
Why It’s In the History Books: Paired with fellow elephant Romeo in the 1850’s, the two would perform an act where Romeo would crank a hand organ and Juliet danced. Unfortunately during the Circus’ winter camp on the banks of Lake Delaven, Juliet passed away leaving Romeo all by his lonesome.
4. The New Richmond Tornado
When: June 1899
Why It’s In the History Books: One of the most deadly twisters in the U.S., this tornado struck down on a day when the circus was in town. Damaging over 300 buildings and even carrying a 3000 pound safe over a block, this tornado definitely left its mark.
5. The Rock Elm Meteorite
When: 465 to 475 million years ago
Why It’s In the History Books: First discovered by a UW-River Falls professor, this meteorite left a crater about four miles in diameter. From the research conducted, it’s suspected that when it hit our dear state it released energy equivalent to 63,000 Hiroshima bombs. Dang.
6. The First Typewriter
Why It’s In the History Books: Wisconsin newspaper man Christopher Latham Sholes worked in collaboration with a friend and fellow printer to produce the first commercial typewriter. It did tend to make mistakes and break pretty easily, but hey it’s still the first!