Featured Stories

by Bill Schuette

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Our Telephone Heritage

Today we have cellular and smart phones, private lines and touch tone telephones.  We can communicate almost instantaneously with anyone in the world by simply pushing a few buttons. But before Alexander Graham Bell's 1876 invention, the fastest means of communication was the telegraph, and the telegrapher still had to locate and hand-deliver the message to its recipient.  Read More…

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Old Baraboo RaceTrack

Back in the late 1860s, before the eve of the baseball era had arrived, one of the significant forms of entertainment in Sauk County was horse racing. Other amusements at the time were skating and dancing, but they catered primarily to the young. Horse racing was a sport which attracted all ages and classes. Read More…

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Television Comes to Baraboo

Filo T. Farnsworth, in 1927, was the inventor of the first fully functional all-electronic image pickup device (video camera tube), as well as the first fully functional and complete all-electronic television receiving system. Read More…

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Copper Discovered at Reedsburg

During the mid-1800s, pioneers from the East were moving west in search of new lands to populate and raise their children. Some were also looking for a new adventure, and still others were seeking the wealth of the western lands. Read More…

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Sugar Camp

It is not known when Midwestern Native Americans first discovered the sweet taste of sap from the maple tree, but it is likely the discovery predates recorded history. Read More…

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Get a Horse Mr. Ford!

Henry Ford revolutionized the transportation industry in the early part of the 20th century with the introduction of affordable automobiles for the masses. However, the transition between the oat burners and the gas burners was not a smooth one. Read More…


Glidden Auto Tour of 1909 Visits Baraboo

The Glidden Auto Tour of 1909 was sponsored by the American Automobile Association and was billed as an Automotive Reliability Tour. It consisted of a cadre of intrepid daring young men of the Edwardian Era, who struck out on an automobile trip which would test the mettle of their endurance, as well as the durability and performance of their vehicles. Read More…

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A Feather Tree For Christmas

Feathered Christmas trees were first created in Germany in the late 1800s. These trees are considered to be one of the first artificial Christmas trees.

Feathered Christmas trees were first created in Germany in the late 1800s. These trees are considered to be one of the first artificial Christmas trees. Read More…


Christmas Days the Long Ago

(by Maria S. Remington, Baraboo News Republic 1909)

At our first Christmas festivities, it was our custom to take all our gifts, not only for members of our own family, but for our friends as well, to the church, where a committee of ladies took them in charge to be arranged and hung on a Christmas tree.  This trimming of the tree was a very jolly part of the celebration.  Read More….

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Christmas Long Ago

Christmas trees had been in vogue in the United States since the early 1800s, having been introduced by German immigrants. Electric lights were still in the future in the early 1900s, so to brighten the branches of the evergreen trees, families placed lighted candles on the boughs. The flickering light of dozens of flames cast a warming glow throughout the festively decorated parlor. Because of the danger of an open flame, the candles were only lit when the family was present. Read More…

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A Country School Christmas

As the warm, sunny days of autumn gave way to the cold, snowy days of winter, country school students adapted to the change and looked forward to outdoor games, which only a snowfall could facilitate. A favorite was Fox and Geese. Read More…


The First Christmas Card

The practice of sending holiday greeting cards goes back to 1843, when an Englishman named Sir Henry Cole, was overwhelmed by having too many friends. In England at the time, it was traditional to send written Christmas and New Year’s greetings to one’s friends. Read More…

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Let There Be Light

Early pioneers who arrived to settle Reedsburg in the 1840s, brought their illumination with them. They used tallow candles to light their homes after dark, however, most early residents went to bed when the sun set, so artificial light was not an issue. Kerosene lanterns were a great improvement as they provided more light and could extend the days’ activities well into the evening. These lanterns were also attached to buggies and buckboards to guide travelers safely home after dark. Read More…

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Why are Barns Red?

Driving through Sauk County you will see many of the old barns painted red. Why is that? Why not green or blue? There are numerous traditional reasons, or myths, for use of the red ocher color. Read More…

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Armchair Adventurers of the Past

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Stereoscope, also known as a stereopticon or stereo viewer, was a popular way to travel beyond one’s home without leaving the comfort of the parlor.    A “traveler” would simply slip a stereo card into the viewer and the entire world would be at their beckoned call. Read More…


Man Mound

Long before white settlers came to the Midwest, indeed, long before Columbus discovered America, Effigy Mound Builders were creating their ceremonial and burial mounds in southern Wisconsin and nearby states.  At one time over 900 mounds existed in Sauk County alone. Read More…

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One Haunted Eve

As the leaves of summer begin their annual transformation to the golden hues of autumn, the cool winds of October signal the seasonal changes of a time of harvest and preparation for the long winter nights to come. Stories of goblins and ghosts abound as Halloween approaches on its annual trek through the cornfields and graveyards in Sauk County. Such was also the case in the little village of Loganville during the early part of the last century. Read More

More from author and photographer Bill Schuette available from the Sauk County Historical Society

The Marching 12th - George Inman - Drummer
from 10.00

This is the story of the 12th Wisconsin Infantry in the Civil War, and a 15-year old boy who could not resist the call to fight for his country. George Inman from the LaValle-Ironton, WI,  area, survived the war and later recounted his adventures in a newspaper article, written when he was well into his 80s. His memory was clear, and he was excited to tell his story to an eager journalist. Other incidents encountered by the 12th Wisconsin, were gleaned from area newspapers written during the war. 36 pages, 8 1/2 x 11, many photos.

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Frank A. Pettis - Reedsburg's Civil War Drummer Boy
from 5.00

This is the story of an eleven year old Reedsburg boy, who, in 1862, enlisted in the Union Army as a drummer. Along with his father, Amos, and his teacher, A.P. Ellenwood, they volunteered to help fight the rebels during the American Civil War. Many thought the war would be over in a few months...it wasn't. 

Soft cover, 40 pages, 8 1/2 x 5 1/2.

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