Heritage Travel

  • Cornish in Mineral Point

    The Cornish have been good to Mineral Point. In the 1830s, skilled tin miners from Cornwall, England, came to southwest Wisconsin, replacing the rough frontiersmen whose "badger'' digs gave the state a nickname but the town an unsavory atmosphere. "They'd start fights just for entertainment,'' said Lisa Kreul, a tour guide at the historic site Pendarvis. "Not until the Cornish came in 1837 did the town start to settle down.''

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  • Finding Embarrass

    sisu to settle Embarrass. The soil is poor, allowing farmers to do little more than grow potatoes and raise a few cows.

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  • Germans in the Upper Midwest

    When they crossed the ocean, they brought hot dogs, potato salad and beer gardens. Thanks to them, we have kindergartens, Christmas trees and fairy tales. Their traditions now are woven into the fabric of Upper Midwest life. To paraphrase the words of John F. Kennedy, we are all Germans.

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  • Celebrating roots

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  • Norwegians among us

    More than perhaps any other European immigrants, Norwegian-Americans have carried on old-country traditions, even those that folks back in Norway largely have dropped (see: lutefisk-eating). They're on full display in May, when Norwegians celebrate the anniversary of the signing of a democratic constitution on May 17, or Syttende Mai.

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  • Heritage travel: Switzerland

    In the Upper Midwest, the Swiss are insignificant — in numbers. Not many left the Old World. But the ones who did have had more success transplanting their traditions than nearly any other immigrant group. The sign over the town fire department reads "Feuerwehrhaus," and Railroad Street is Bahnhofstrasse.

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  • Polish for a day

    On a beautiful summer day in Milwaukee, history's underdogs were having a ball. They were listening to pianists play Chopin. They were dancing an exuberant style of polka. They were tucking into pierogi and paczki. Call it payback time for Poles.

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  • Valleys of Vernon County

    In 1862, a poor Norwegian couple and their four small children, including their infant son Thorvald, joined a wave of immigrants to Wisconsin, eventually settling in the coulees of Vernon County. They ran headlong into a slaughter that remains one of the most shameful chapters in U.S. history. Today, 11 plaques mark the route, which ended near the town of Victory.

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  • Destination: Stockholm

    Once, people went through hell to get to Stockholm, Wis. There are shops, galleries and inns; it's the place to go for a room with a view or vroom with a brew.

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  • Swedes in the Upper Midwest

    When the summer solstice arrives, nobody celebrates more than the Swedes.

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