Collection of the McCord Museum

Although Harry Houdini died nearly a century ago, the famed illusionist and stunt performer is still a household name. Over time myths and legends have become such an integral part of Houdini's life story — even now it can be difficult to figure out fact from fiction.

marls / stock.adobe.com

Imagine you’re playing a trivia game at a bar. Your question: what’s the Wisconsin state animal? That seems like an easy question, especially if you grew up here. And if you answered “the badger,” you’re right. That is the official Wisconsin state animal. But here’s your follow up question: what seven other animals hold titles?

Milwaukee Record’s Tyler Maas didn’t know either, so he started digging through various state archives. He discovered an entire world of state symbols and icons he didn't know about.

Mitch Teich

When new Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes went to get their picture taken for the state’s official highway map, they didn’t go to a studio or to the State Capitol in Madison. Instead, they traveled to a spot in Milwaukee.

Along the edge of Lake Michigan in Lakeshore State Park, there’s an official selfie stand. You can rest your camera on it, and snap a photo with the Milwaukee skyline in the background.  While it’s not the only reason people visit the park, it holds a lot of appeal — and a lot of cameras — for tourists.

New Wisconsin Tourism Secretary Focuses On Fun

Feb 25, 2019
Avinash Bhat / Flickr

With a new administration in Madison, a new set of cabinet secretaries has taken office and is setting the groundwork for their priorities over the next biennial budget cycle. While most of those leaders will shape policy within Wisconsin, one is focused in particular on how the state is perceived in the rest of the country and the world.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Cheesehead has become an iconic piece of Wisconsin culture and as we await the start of Packer season this weekend, we can expect to see a lot more of them in the coming months.

But the Cheesehead itself is a relatively new item, created 30 years ago by a man named Ralph Bruno. He's now the owner of Foamation, the company that produces the Cheesehead and other related products, which just set up shop in Milwaukee's Walker's Point neighborhood. 

Perry-Castañeda Library / Wikimedia

If you've watched Saturday Night Live's "Fond du Lac Action News" newscast, you might have heard a semi-familiar accent. And while parts of the dialect were pretty spot-on, other parts were just off.

Marquette linguistics professor, Steve Hartman Keiser, says that could be due to a fundamental misunderstanding of Wisconsin’s location.

Boswell Books

Environmental issues have stirred up many emotions throughout the years. Global warming, rainforest preservation, and oil drilling, to name a few.

One issue in particular has effected Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota: sand fracking, a method of drilling for natural gas.

Those who are in favor of the method are in favor of the jobs it creates and the access to a natural resource. Those who are against the method do not support what it does to the natural landscape.

Craig Schreiner

Sometimes during the hustle and bustle of the city life, people need to escape. Some escape to the country roads of Wisconsin, looking for that serenity.

Awash with Regret, Characters Try to Surmount "Beautiful Ruins"

May 14, 2013
Harper Perennial

There is a review of Jess Walter’s latest book, that describes the author as “ a big-hearted man who excels at writing about other big-hearted, if broken, men.” Walter would plead guilty as charged.

Where are you from?  Ask that to the next person you meet on the street in Milwaukee, and they’ll probably look at you funny.  So, instead, take our word for it – the answer is probably someplace local.

Writer and Lake Effect essayist Avi Lank says where we are from says a great deal about where we are going:

Many school systems in the Milwaukee area had to scramble last week to find a new milk supplier and 100 workers are looking for jobs after the sudden closure of the Golden Guernsey dairy plant. The 83-year-old milk producer went on to announce that it is filing for bankruptcy protection.

A Letter from Milwaukee to Wisconsin

Aug 10, 2012
a.drian, flickr

Whether you are a native Wisconsinite or newcomer, it’s hard not to notice that the relationship between Milwaukee and the rest of the state can be a bit frosty. All relationships go through their ups and downs, but the tension between these two has been especially apparent in the last couple of years. So when talking things out seems to get nowhere, sometimes the only thing to do is sit down and write a letter, as Lake Effect essayist Alex Runner discovered. Runner is an award-winning essayist who lives in Milwaukee's Sherman Park neighborhood.