January 22, 2017
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Charles Jeffery, left, sold his family's automobile company to Charles Nash, right, on July 13, 1916. ( Image courtesy Kenosha History Center )

100 years ago: The creation of Nash Motor Co.


One hundred years ago this year, two guys named Charlie met at the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago to hammer out a deal. The outcome was part of automotive history — and Kenosha history, too.

Charles Jeffery had been at the helm of Jeffery Motors since the death of his father, Thomas, six years prior.

Jeffery had experienced the pain of the loss of his father and three of his young children. He had seen the deaths of two of his peers, Cooper factory executives Willis and Charles Cooper, in the Iroquois Theater fire.

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Kenosha curmudgeon erected blasphemous monuments


Kenoshan Lewis Knapp never could have used Twitter. The 140-character limit would have driven the poor man crazy.

But unlike many Twitter users, Knapp never hid behind a wall of anonymity.

Kenosha History Center Director Don Shepard retires


After nearly 31 years working at the Kenosha County Historical Society Museum and the Kenosha History Center, Executive Director Don Shepard is history.

Shepard, 72, is retiring Dec. 2 but his telling of Kenosha stories through the exhibits at the museum will live on in people’s memories.

Archival Revival: Ruth Harman and Amelia Earhart


There are times in our lives when we cross paths with greatness. Sometimes we know it and other times we don’t.

Kenosha pilot Ruth Harman was certainly well aware of it when she became friends with famous aviator Amelia Earhart. Earhart was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic in 1928 and the first woman to cross the Pacific in 1935.

Archival Revival: A look at the old north side of town


Editor’s Note: This story has been edited from its original version

The talk about the lack of a Starbucks on the north side of Kenosha in a recent Curious Kenosha feature in the Kenosha News got me thinking about what it once meant to live on the old north side of Kenosha.

Archival Revival: First women elected in Kenosha County


No matters who wins this presidential election, the dreams ignited by Hillary Clinton’s candidacy will be far-reaching.

Clinton certainly isn’t the first woman to run for president, but she is the first to be nominated by a major political party.

Archival Revival: George “Rube” Waddell


Twenty-seven days. That’s how long baseball wonder George “Rube” Waddell lived in Kenosha in 1901.

Before he left town, he had locals cheering him in the stands. His fans had no idea that someday Waddell would be in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and be part of the Chicago Cubs’ history.

Archival Revival: Tyson Sporting Goods


If you grew up in Kenosha before the 1980s, chances are the name Tyson brings good memories to light.

Tyson’s Sporting Goods Store at 6201 14th Ave. was the place to go if you needed your tennis racket restrung, a new baseball glove or your bicycle fixed. Your dad went there to buy ammo for his deer rifle and nab a new minnow bucket in the spring. And mom bought her new bowling shoes from a display there.

Archival Revival: The sinking of the SS Senator


October 1929 is best remembered in our nation for Black Tuesday, Oct. 29, the day the stock market crashed beginning the Great Depression.

But on Lake Michigan, the last 10 days of October 1929 are also remembered for a trifecta of fateful ship sinkings that still haunts us today:

Archival Revival: Royal visit to Kenosha in 1927


Under a bright October sky, the 2:21 train rolled into the North Shore station.

Every eye on the crowded platform fell on the special parlor car at the end of the train. Amid the fanfare of trumpets from the Nash Band, a very tall, pleasant-looking man in a buff-colored suit stepped onto the platform.

Political campaigns dirty then and now


Many people believe the recent chicanery in the election cycle is unprecedented.

One only has to look in the exhibit case at the Kenosha History Center and learn the truth: the 1860 presidential election was on par with today’s events.

Archival Revival: Safe Harbor Humane Society


Local history research is usually a crap shoot: You never know if you will find supporting evidence to fill in the gaps on the documentation you have.

In the case of Safe Harbor/Kenosha County Humane Society, the single documentation was the incorporation papers, dated Jan. 8, 1916.

Archival Revival: White Sox played Kenosha sandlot team


Last fall I wrote about the Chicago Cubs visiting Kenosha for a game against a local team after the Cubbies won the 1908 World Series.

It turns out that the game wasn’t an anomaly.

Archival Revival: One-of-a-kind Nash here a few more weeks


If you haven’t seen the 1929 Nash Victoria Opera Coupe at the Kenosha History Center, you better get a move on, as the antique auto leaves the floor of the Rambler Gallery at the end this month.

That’s when the “Back to the ’20s” exhibit will be dismantled and Steve Steranka, of Ontario, Canada, takes his car home.

Archival Revival: Polar Bear Perrin


With Lake Michigan surface temperatures around 79 degrees, August always brings me pleasant memories of splashing on the beach of Simmons Island when I was a kid.

It was never as warm as Paddock or Silver lakes, but it was within bike riding distance of my house.

Archival Revival: Fair fiascoes from the past


Last week’s Kenosha County Fair was a great success, pulling in thousands of visitors to see the animals, 4-H projects and tractor pulls.

Now that the crowds have left the Wilmot fairgrounds in care of the cleanup crew, it’s probably safe to write about a pair of fair fiascoes from the ancient past.

Archival Revival: Crossing the county with valuable cargo


In the dark of the night, two men on horseback rode through the woods of Paris township headed east. Silently, stealthily they moved, watching for any signs of others along the way.

The pair carried heavy bags tied up securely, making their trek on this summer’s night in 1854 particularly edgy, for in those bags was gold — more gold that either of them had ever seen.

Archival Revival: Kenosha connections in WWII medical regiment


If you hollered “Who’s from Wisconsin?” in the medical encampment in Buna, New Guinea in 1942 most of the replies from the medics and the injured on cots would have been in the affirmative.

That’s because the 135th Medical Regiment was a Wisconsin National Guard unit and most of the men they treated were from the 32nd Division, composed mostly men from Wisconsin and Michigan.

Archival Revival: Household hints from history


If I ever think that housekeeping chores couldn’t get worse than trying to clean out a microwave after a popcorn inferno, all I have to do is refer to page 25 of the Home Economist.

There it says that a little milk poured in the water in which I wash my silver will help to keep it bright, and a raw potato dipped in baking soda will remove tarnish.

Archival Revival: Fireball of 1910 remains a mystery


Was it an astral body or a weather anomaly that a Kenosha neighborhood witnessed on a summer’s morning more than 100 years ago?

The incident was recorded on the front page of the Kenosha Evening News of Aug. 25, 1910.

Archival Revival: ‘War’ on Simmons Island

Simmons Island along Kenosha’s lakeshore has been the scene of re-enactments of the Civil War and the Revolutionary War, but the real “war” that was fought on the soil is rarely mentioned.

Resique’s War became a footnote in Kenosha’s history.

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