The Handy Wisconsin Answer Book

The Handy Wisconsin Answer Book

by Terri Schlichenmeyer, Mark W. Meier


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Beer, cheese, lakes, rivers, cabins, and cities. With a diverse geography, beautiful natural wonders, and vibrant cities, tourism naturally plays a major role in Wisconsin’s economy, and its nickname, “America's Dairyland,” speaks to the importance of agriculture. Of course, cheeseheads abound in Green Bay and throughout the state, as do the Effigy Mounds—burial mounds—in the form of animals or birds of the Woodland Indians.

The Handy Wisconsin Answer Book takes an in-depth look at the state’s variety, along with its fascinating history, people, myths, culture, and trivia. Covering its industries, politicians, arts, media, culture, and, of course, sports dynasties and legends, it brings the state’s past and present to life. Learn about the earliest people in the Great Lakes area, the Paleo-Indian People, French explorers, traders, the Paul Bunyan “myth,” today’s numerous ethnic festivals, including Brat(wurst) Days, Polka Days, Cheese Days, and the Wisconsin Highland Games. Uncover surprising fun facts like Brett Farve's first forward pass for the Packers was caught by … Brett Favre!

From log-rolling, the state capital in Madison and its politics, famous breweries, major manufacturers Kohler Company, Johnson Controls, John Deere, Caterpillar Inc. and Harley-Davidson motorcycles to the Milwaukee Art Museum, Willem Dafoe, Georgia O’Keeffe, the infamous Jeffrey Dahmer, Al Jarreau, and other notable people and places, The Handy Wisconsin Answer Book answers to nearly 1,400 questions the Badger State’s unique and interesting history, people, and places, including:
  • Why is Wisconsin called “Wisconsin”?
  • How much snow falls in Wisconsin?
  • What is the Wisconsin state dance?
  • Which Native American tribes called Wisconsin home?
  • Was there a Civil War POW camp in Wisconsin?
  • How did log rolling become a sport?
  • Why was the Oleomargarine Act supported by nearly every farmer in the Dairy State?
  • What was the Day the Music Died?
  • How many acres of State Forests does Wisconsin have?
  • Was Paul Bunyan a real person?
  • Where is the Pabst Mansion located?
  • What is the most popular attraction in the state?
  • How many beer festivals are there in Wisconsin?
  • Where is Roundy’s headquartered?
  • Which waterway is most important to Wisconsin?
  • Which political party held sway in Wisconsin when the state was formed?
  • What caused so much controversy in the redistricting of 2010?
  • What is unique about Wisconsin’s capitol building?
  • Where did the Green Bay Packers get their name?
  • How much did each winning player make for playing in Superbowl I?
  • How much milk does it take to make one pound of butter?
  • How many towns in Wisconsin claim to be the UFO Capital of the World?

    Illustrating the unique character of the state through a combination of facts, stats, and history, as well as the unusual and quirky, The Handy Wisconsin Answer Book answers intriguing questions about people, places, events, government, and places of interest. This informative book also includes a helpful bibliography and an extensive index, adding to its usefulness.

  • Product Details

    ISBN-13: 9781578596614
    Publisher: Visible Ink Press
    Publication date: 05/01/2019
    Series: The Handy Answer Book Series
    Pages: 416
    Sales rank: 565,861
    Product dimensions: 7.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.80(d)

    About the Author

    Mark W. Meier was born and raised in a Western Wisconsin community near La Crosse. Despite his travels, the “Coulee Region” will always be his home. Mark earned a BS degree in philosophy, holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and is a licensed private pilot. He published the science fiction series Ebony Sea under the pen name Marc Meiner, and he contributed to the fiction anthologies Shadows and Teeth and Lost and Found. He produces a news/talk show on local radio 1410-WIZM and lives with his wife, Linda, and their dog, Stitches.

    Read an Excerpt

    How did the term “HOG” start?

    In 1920, a team of farm boys used a hog as a mascot. After consistently winning races, they would mount the pig on their Harley and take a victory lap. In 1983 the company took advantage of the term by starting a Harley Owners Group (HOG). When they attempted to trademark “hog,” the courts ruled the term had come to mean “any large motorcycle,” not just a Harley-Davidson. However, in 2006 the company changed its ticker symbol on the New York Stock Exchange from HDI to HOG.

    A dissenting story is that in the 1960s the bikes were fat and slow, and so they picked up the disparaging name by people who didn’t like Harley-Davidson motorcycles. According to that story, the first Harley Owners Group co-opted “HOG” to deflect from the disdain of the day and shed a more favorable light on the motorcycles.

    How is the company viewed by the State of Wisconsin?

    Two times Harley-Davidson picked up special awards by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. In 1988 they were recognized as a “turnaround” company, and in 1994 they were declared a “worldwide leader” in manufacturing. Worldwide, Harley-Davidson sold more than 250,000 units in fiscal year 2016 with sales more than six billion dollars annually.

    How many people work for Harley-Davidson?

    According to Forbes Magazine, Harley Davidson ranks as the twenty-first best employer in the United States, giving jobs to more than six thousand employees. Salaries vary widely by position, but project managers earn more than $95,000 per year, and senior project engineers earn just over $94,000.

    What big breweries are located in Wisconsin?

    There are four breweries making more than 100,000 barrels (16 million liters) of product annually. The biggest of those four is MillerCoors in Milwaukee (more than seven million barrels, or 1.1 billion liters, in 2014), Minhas Craft Brewery in in Monroe, New Glarus Brewing in New Glarus, and the smallest, Stevens Point Brewery in Stevens Point, producing 115,000 barrels, or 18 billion liters.

    Was Milwaukee ever known as the Beer Capitol of the World?

    The city of Milwaukee did make that proclamation in 1860, when it exported more beer than any other community. The city has always been a beer town, even before it incorporated. There was a tavern for every forty residents in the 1800s.
    By 1880 German immigration had ballooned to the point in which 27% of the population came from that region of the world. They brought beer yeast and the willingness to brew. Names of those brewers include Joseph Schlitz (1831–1875), Frederick Pabst (1836–1904), and Valentin Blatz (1826–1894).

    The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed nearly half of the breweries in Chicago, and Milwaukee producers saw an opportunity. Schlitz shipped free beer to Chicago, thereby becoming known as “The beer that made Milwaukee famous.” Other brewers followed that lead. In the years after the fire, more than half of beer production in Milwaukee was sent out of the city.

    Did war have an impact on beer production in Milwaukee?

    In the years following the Great Chicago Fire, brewers took advantage of their increased production to widen distribution. Pabst tied a blue ribbon to every bottle to make their product more enticing. Their output climbed to a million barrels in 1895.

    Schlitz combated the Pabst blue ribbon strategy by sending Commodore George Dewey (1837–1917) 3,600 bottles (1,260 liters) of beer in 1898 to congratulate him on his capture of Manila during the Spanish American War. Dewey ordered a trainload of Schlitz, and in all, 700,000 barrels (111 million liters) of beer from Milwaukee made it to the Philippines.

    What caused the decline in Schlitz beer?

    In order to meet increasing demand, Schlitz tried a new brewing method in 1967 with a shorter fermenting process. Production time dropped enough to increase output by 25%, but word spread about a change in the recipe. Customers didn’t want beer not aged long enough and sales sagged. Less than a decade later, the brewery produced beer with a slight haze, and ten million bottles (3.5 million liters) had to be dumped.

    In 1981 a strike closed down the Milwaukee plant. Legal trouble over sketchy ad campaigns contributed to decreasing demand. Schlitz became known to residents as “the beer that made Milwaukee furious.” In 1982 Stroh Brewing purchased Schlitz.

    Table of Contents

    Preface and Acknowledgments


    Historical Timeline

    1. Wisconsin Basics
    2. Early Wisconsin: Glacier to Statehood
    3. The State of Wisconsin: 1820-1900
    4. Wisconsin 1900-Present
    5. Natural Wonders
    6. Things to See and Do
    7. Agriculture and Businesses
    8. Politics and Law
    9. Wisconsin Sports
    10. Wisconsin Sons & Daughters
    11. Quirky Wisconsin

    Appendix Wisconsin’s Governors



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