History

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The Wisconsin State Capitol is the center of state government and the center of Madison, with streets and avenues converging from every direction at the Capitol Square. But how did that particular spot become one of the most important places in the state?
WisContext is focused on the long haul. Examining how Wisconsin's history shapes its contemporary issues and looking forward at how these trends may develop was a consistent element of our coverage in 2019.
Before the widespread availability of electricity allowed Americans to cool food with the flip of a switch, they relied on iceboxes.
Hardly more than a century ago, deer were not to be found across broad swaths of southern and eastern parts of Wisconsin, with their dwindling ranks limited to its northern stretches after decades of mass hunts for hide and meat markets in the latter half of the 1800s.
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Signs with names like BB, CV, N and SS flank Wisconsin's county roads. Why are they labeled with letters?
In 1989, a long simmering conflict over American Indian treaty rights helped prompt a landmark educational law in Wisconsin.
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Wisconsin has a rich history of bookmobiles serving communities, especially in rural places like Door County.
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Members of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa made a trek to Pacwawong Lake in northern Wisconsin to pass on the tradition of harvest wild rice, or manoomin, to tribal youth.
The connection between Wisconsin's rivers and the wetlands that feed them has become increasingly tenuous. Its consequences for human communities come into clearer focus when heavy rains transform streams and rivers into forces of wanton destruction.
The vast majority of what happens under the surface of lakes goes unrecorded, meaning potentially important ecological stories are often lost to history.