If you have ancestors from Wisconsin or an interest in Wisconsin history, we are excited about the addition of new papers from the cities of Kenosha, Lake Geneva and Viroqua, Wisconsin!
Kenosha is in southeastern Wisconsin, on the shore of Lake Michigan, and just north of the Illinois state line. We have issues from the Kenosha News, the Kenosha News Courier and the Sunday News that date back to 1895. Originally a Native American settlement, Kenosha’s access to transportation lines brought white settlers in the 1830s. Later immigrants from Italy, Denmark, Germany, Poland, and Ireland came to the area.
In the early 1900s, silent movies were a favorite form of entertainment. In 1914, the Burke Theatre opened on Market Street. When the film The Silver Horde opened in 1920, managers launched a treasure hunt to publicize the film. They hid 10 boxes of silver around Kenosha. The promotion created a stir as residents hunted the treasure. Four years later, the Burke was the scene of another kind when a skunk decided to visit the theater causing pandemonium with the audience.
About 30 miles away from Kenosha is Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and home of the Lake Geneva Herald and the Lake Geneva Regional News. Today Lake Geneva is a vacation destination, but when the Lake Geneva Herald began publishing in 1872, the population was just over 2,000 and the town had one school, a few churches and a smattering of small-town businesses. After the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, Lake Geneva attracted wealthy business moguls who moved to the area while Chicago rebuilt. Beautiful mansions like Stone Manor, Glanworth Gardens and the Wrigley estate line the shore and helped the area earn the nickname “Newport of the West”.
Residents living around the lake receive their mail by boat, a tradition that began in 1916 when roads were very primitive. The boat travels at a steady 5 mph, while a “mail jumper” jumps from the boat, races up the dock and swaps the incoming mail with the outgoing mail before the boat has traveled out of reach.
The Vernon County Censor is based in Viroqua and we have issues dating back to 1856. The paper was published weekly, however, on June 28, 1865, a deadly tornado swept through town destroying the printing office and leaving the town devastated. Two weeks later, the paper published an account of the damage. “Large houses were sucked into the air like a feather and tossed about like a wisp of hay in the air.” If you had ancestors from nearby communities like Harmony, Chaseburg, Newton or Westby, search the Vernon County Censor for updates from those towns.
Start searching our new Wisconsin papers today on Newspapers.com!