University of Wisconsin Press

Wisconsin Land and Life

Arnold Alanen, Series Editor

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press

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Wisconsin Land and Life

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Condos in the Woods

The Growth of Seasonal and Retirement Homes in Northern Wisconsin

Rebecca L. Schewe, Donald R. Field, Deborah J. Frosch, Gregory Clendenning, and Dana Jensen

Scenic rural communities across the nation and around the world have been transformed as they have shifted away from extractive industries such as agriculture, mining, and forestry and toward recreation-based development relying on tourism, vacation homes, and retirees. These communities have built new economies and identities based on local natural resources and are highly dependent on the natural environment. With these changes have come new questions: Do retirees and seasonal residents fit into their new surroundings? Do longtime and new residents share the same values and visions for the future? Do diverse community members disagree about how to manage their forest and water resources?
    Condos in the Woods explores how these issues are reshaping community structure, employment, and inhabitants’ attitudes toward their environment in the Northwoods. Looking at trends from the 1970s to the present, this work moves from the national scale to the Pine Barrens region in northwestern Wisconsin and examines the approaches of residents to the management of their natural resources. At the heart of this story, the authors find that despite the diverse makeup of such communities, residents share many common goals and values and display more successful integration than previously expected.

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Creating Old World Wisconsin

The Struggle to Build an Outdoor History Museum of Ethnic Architecture

John D. Krugler

With its charming heirloom gardens, historic livestock breeds, and faithfully recreated farmsteads and villages that span nearly 600 acres, Old World Wisconsin is the largest outdoor museum of rural life in the United States. But this seemingly time-frozen landscape of rustic outbuildings and rolling wooded hills did not effortlessly spring into existence, as John D. Krugler maintains in Creating Old World Wisconsin. As dozens of historic buildings were transported in the 1970s from various locations throughout the state to the Kettle Moraine State Forest, researchers, curators, and volunteers launched a massive preservation initiative to salvage fast-disappearing immigrant and migrant architecture. Researchers, curators, and volunteers created a backdrop against which twenty-first century interpreters demonstrate nineteenth- and early twentieth-century agricultural techniques and artisanal craftsmanship. The site, created and maintained by the Wisconsin Historical Society, offers visitors a unique opportunity to learn about the state's rich and ethnically diverse past through depictions of the everyday lives of its Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, German, Polish, African American, and Yankee inhabitants. Creating Old World Wisconsin chronicles the fascinating and complex origins of this outdoor museum, highlighting the struggles that faced its creators as they worked to achieve their vision. Even as Milwaukee architect and preservationist Richard W. E. Perrin, the Society's staff, and enthusiastic volunteers opened the museum in time for the national bicentennial in 1976, the site was plagued by limited funds, bureaucratic tangles, and problems associated with gaining public support. By documenting the engaging story of the challenges, roadblocks, false starts, and achievements of the site's founders, Krugler brings to life the history of the dedicated corps who collected and preserved Wisconsin's diverse social history and heritage.

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Door County's Emerald Treasure

A History of Peninsula State Park

William H. Tishler

With its magnificent forests, bluffs, and shoreline and its breathtaking views of Green Bay and Lake Michigan, Door County’s Peninsula State Park is one of the Midwest’s most popular attractions. Established in 1909, it was Wisconsin’s second state park and a key to pioneering efforts to build a state park system that would be the envy of the nation.

Door County’s Emerald Treasure explores the rich history of the park land, from its importance to Native Americans and early European settlers through the twentieth century. Bill Tishler engagingly relates the role of conservationists and progressives in establishing the state park, its growing popularity for tourism and recreation, and efforts to protect the park’s resources from a variety of threats. Tishler also tells a larger story of Americans’ intimate relationship with the land around them and the challenge to create accessible public spaces that preserve the natural environment. 

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Environmental Politics and the Creation of a Dream

Establishing the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Harold C. Jordahl

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is a breathtakingly beautiful archipelago of twenty-two islands in Lake Superior, just off the tip of northern Wisconsin. For years, the national park has been a favorite destination for tourists and locals alike, but the remarkable story behind its creation is little known. In Environmental Politics and the Creation of a Dream, Harold Jordahl, one of the primary advocates for designating the islands as a national park, discloses the full story behind the effort to preserve their natural beauty for posterity. He describes in detail the political and bureaucratic complexities of the national lakeshore campaign, augmented by his own personal recollections and those of such prominent figures as Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson and President John F. Kennedy. Writing in collaboration with Annie Booth, Jordahl recounts how activists, legislators, media, local residents, and other players shaped the islands’ future establishment as a national park.

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Living a Land Ethic

A History of Cooperative Conservation on the Leopold Memorial Reserve

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A Mind of Her Own

Helen Connor Laird and Family, 1888–1982

Helen L. Laird

A Mind of Her Own:  Helen Connor Laird and Family 1888–1982 captures the public achievement and private pain of a remarkable Wisconsin woman and her family, whose interests and influence extended well beyond the borders of the state. Spanning almost a century, the history speaks to the way we were and are: a stridently materialistic nation with a deep and persistent spiritual component.

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North Woods River

The St. Croix River in Upper Midwest History

Eileen M. McMahon and Theodore J. Karamanski

The St. Croix River, the free-flowing boundary between Wisconsin and Minnesota, is a federally protected National Scenic Riverway. The area’s first recorded human inhabitants were the Dakota Indians, whose lands were transformed by fur trade empires and the loggers who called it the “river of pine.” A patchwork of farms, cultivated by immigrants from many countries, followed the cutover forests. Today, the St. Croix River Valley is a tourist haven in the land of sky-blue waters and a peaceful escape for residents of the bustling Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan region.
    North Woods River is a thoughtful biography of the river over the course of more than three hundred years. Eileen McMahon and Theodore Karamanski track the river’s social and environmental transformation as newcomers changed the river basin and, in turn, were changed by it. The history of the St. Croix revealed here offers larger lessons about the future management of beautiful and fragile wild waters.

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Pioneers of Ecological Restoration

The People and Legacy of the University of Wisconsin Arboretum

Franklin E. Court

Internationally renowned for its pioneering role in the ecological restoration of tallgrass prairies, savannas, forests, and wetlands, the University of Wisconsin Arboretum contains the world’s oldest and most diverse restored ecological communities. A site for land restoration research, public environmental education, and enjoyment by nature lovers, the arboretum remains a vibrant treasure in the heart of Madison’s urban environment.
    Pioneers of Ecological Restoration chronicles the history of the arboretum and the people who created, shaped, and sustained it up to the present. Although the arboretum was established by the University of Wisconsin in 1932, author Franklin E. Court begins his history in 1910 with John Nolen, the famous landscape architect who was invited to create plans for the city of Madison, the university campus, and Wisconsin state parks. Drawing extensive details from archives and interviews, Court follows decades of collaborative work related to the arboretum’s lands, including the early efforts of Madison philanthropists and businessmen Michael Olbrich, Paul E. Stark, and Joseph W. “Bud” Jackson.
    With labor from the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s Depression, University of Wisconsin scientists began establishing both a traditional horticultural collection of trees and plants and a completely new, visionary approach to recreate native ecosystems. Hundreds of dedicated scientists and staff have carried forward the arboretum’s mission in the decades since, among them G. William Longenecker, Aldo Leopold, John T. Curtis, Rosemary Fleming, Virginia Kline, and William R. Jordan III.
    This archival record of the arboretum’s history provides rare insights into how the mission of healing and restoring the land gradually shaped the arboretum’s future and its global reputation; how philosophical conflicts, campus politics, changing priorities, and the encroaching city have affected the arboretum over the decades; and how early aspirations (some still unrealized) have continued to motivate the work of this extraordinary institution.

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Spirits of Earth

The Effigy Mound Landscape of Madison and the Four Lakes

Robert A. Birmingham

Between A.D. 700 and 1100 Native Americans built more effigy mounds in Wisconsin than anywhere else in North America, with an estimated 1,300 mounds—including the world’s largest known bird effigy—at the center of effigy-building culture in and around Madison, Wisconsin. These huge earthworks, sculpted in the shape of birds, mammals, and other figures, have aroused curiosity for generations and together comprise a vast effigy mound ceremonial landscape. Farming and industrialization destroyed most of these mounds, leaving the mysteries of who built them and why they were made. The remaining mounds are protected today and many can be visited.   explores the cultural, historical, and ceremonial meanings of the mounds in an informative, abundantly illustrated book and guide.

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A Thousand Pieces of Paradise

Landscape and Property in the Kickapoo Valley

Lynne Heasley

A Thousand Pieces of Paradise is an ecological history of property and a cultural history of rural ecosystems set in one of the Midwest’s most historically significant regions, the Kickapoo River Valley. Whether examining the national war on soil erosion, Amish migration, a Corps of Engineers dam project, or Native American land claims, Lynne Heasley traces the history of modern American property debates. Her book holds powerful lessons for rural communities seeking to reconcile competing values about land and their place in it.

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