Downtown 1958

Downtown 1958

Friday, August 29, 2014

Labor Day Nightlife

Back in a time when 18 year olds had beer bars to go to, here's a sampling of the Fox Valley's nightlife in late summer 1971. 

I'll be back on Tuesday, but until then, have a very happy and safe Labor Day weekend!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Price of Love

Here's a crazy footnote to women's rights in the early 20th century.  Under the Expatriation Act of March 2, 1907, all women acquired their husband's nationality upon any marriage occurring after that date. This meant that U.S.-born citizen women (like my grandmother who'd been born in Butternut, Wisconsin in 1897) would now lose their citizenship by marriage to any alien...which is exactly what happened when she married my immigrant grandfather in 1916.  My American born Grandmother suddenly became an Italian in the eyes of the law!  This law was eventually changed in 1922 and henceforth, any American woman who married an alien after this date retained her US citizenship.  (My research seems to indicate that women being given the right to vote in 1920 had a lot to do with that; why disenfranchise a new group of voters?)  But it was too late for Grandma and she had to file the necessary papers to become an American citizen. 

This was all unknown to me as I grew up and I only learned this fact within the last few years as I researched my family tree and unearthed documents like the one below.  I have no earthly idea why she waited another 24 years to become a citizen, unless the rumblings of war in Europe helped change her mind.  But as it was that my Italian-born grandfather was also not naturalized until even later, in April of 1944, I am totally at a loss to explain any of this.

September 25, 1940 Oshkosh Northwestern

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Three Amigos

A member of the Menasha High class of 1913. the fellow in the center, Harold Landgraf, enjoyed a healthy career in local banking.  He went on to become head teller and cashier at the First National Bank of Menasha and by 1940, was listed on that year's census as assistant examiner for the FDIC.  His father was Valentine Landgraf, notable for the Landgraf Hotel we've spoken about on this blog.

The following link shows him as manager of the local baseball team in the mid 1920s:

photo courtesy, Menasha Public Library

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

House Fire

I found this clipping recently in my Mom's things and I'm guessing it dates to about November of 1949, based on the ages of my siblings. The fire happened long before I was born in 1956, but it was always a piece of family lore that would be resurrected time and again, so much so that I could recite chapter and verse on this story without having been involved. 

If my memory serves me correctly, the fire was always told to have happened in the dead of winter, which to me would have been January or February.  Guess things get embellished after time.  Even though it would be a lifetime before I ever encountered this news clipping to help set the record straight, I always believed that.  Funny how it was never brought out to illustrate things when the story came up.  Needless to say I'm grateful for my Dad's nite-owl activities or somebody else might be doing this blog. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Schrage Brothers


Appleton Post-Crescent, August 23, 1937 

This human interest story from 1937 caught my eye.  All four brothers were born even before Menasha incorporated as a city in 1874.  Oh, the history these four experienced from Menasha's earliest days as a village!   I can only imagine the stories they could have told us. 

Of course, they were not the only ones- many other people had lives over such a busy time period, people who had experienced the same technological advances from horse and buggy days to the most modern transportation available, to include flight. Quite often, you find similar stories, about a World War I veteran still living for instance, or a Civil War widow still collecting a pension.  But thinking about these four from the Menasha historical perspective, it boggles my mind to consider all they had seen in our town. 

Whether the Schlage brothers met again in 10 years is unknown, but if they did, they would have had even more history under their belts as it would have been post-World War II. From blacksmith shops to the atomic bomb.  What a ride. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Pharmacist Bottle

People often ask me where I find my ideas for this blog.  Sometimes it's as simple as looking at eBay and seeing what's up for sale.  Here's an example of a city artifact; it illustrates when pharmacies had their own custom made bottles with identifying information embossed right on the glass.  This bottle date from the 1890's. 

We've met John Rosch before.  He was a one time mayor of the city, member of the Board of Education, and druggist who brought the first soda fountain to the city.  His boxy Italianate house still stands on Milwaukee Street.  Please see the link below:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Homemade Sausage

Two unidentified men with a truck stand in front of Eskofski Meats and Groceries. The store was located at 428 Sixth Street. In the 1920's it was sold and became Sylwanowicz Meats and then in the 1940's it was sold again and became Wanserski's.

photo courtesy, Menasha Public Library