Howard Woodin

Date in History: 1911-1973 Did you know that a Fort Atkinson man is in the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame? Howard “Whitey” Woodin grew up on South Fourth Street and played on the dominant Fort Atkinson High School Football teams from 1911 to 1914. Woodin’s 1911 Fort football team was not only unbeaten – no one ever even scored against them while Fort managed to rack up 187 points. Wooden later played at Marquette University for three years before joining the Packers in 1922. Playing for the legendary Curly Lambeau, Woodin helped Green Bay to some of its best seasons including national championships in 1929, 1930 and 1931. His outstanding two-way play at defensive end and offensive guard led to his 1973 induction into the Packer Hall of Fame. Unlike today’s well-paid professional athletes who spend their retirement at ease, Wooden remained in Green Bay and worked for many years at Falls Power and Paper Company. This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on...

John Wolfgram and Apollo 11 Mission

Date in History: 1969 As NASA renews its space exploration, it’s a good time to recall a mission from its past. In the summer of 1969, the Apollo 11 mission sent into space the first men to walk on the moon. Fort Atkinson was represented at the spaceship’s splashdown by 1967 Fort Atkinson High School graduate, John Wolfgram. John was part of the Navy diving team that was in charge of recovering the Apollo astronauts from the ocean. His job was more dangerous than the others by the fact that he was first in the water, sent ahead to scout for sharks which had been particularly numerous during training the week before. After three to five minutes alone in the water, he signaled the all clear to the other divers before they jumped the 20 feet from their helicopter transport. This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on...

William Weld’s Grippe Remedy

Date in History: Early 20th century In 1927 when the Mayor of Fort Atkinson – the Honorable Dr. William Weld – died in office, he was best known, not for his politics, but for a remedy. William Weld was born in New York, but grew up in Fort Atkinson after coming here with his mother and new stepfather. Weld got his medical degree from Louisville Medical College, and eventually settled in the infamous town of Deadwood, South Dakota. During an epidemic of the grippe – what today we’d call influenza or flu – Weld developed an effective medicine, winning a patent on his so-called “Marvelous Grippe Remedy.” After his stepfather died, Weld moved back to Fort Atkinson to be near his mother, and though he practiced some medicine here, he mostly promoted the sale of his grippe remedy. Certainly the people of Fort Atkinson and Jefferson swore by the stuff. Folks said it was as necessary to lay in a supply of Weld’s grippe pills in winter as it was to lay in a supply of coal. This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on...

Howie Weiss

Date in History: 1917 – 1997 Howard Weiss was born on October 12, 1917 in Fort Atkinson. He went on to be one of Fort Atkinson’s all time football greats. It all began in 1934 when Weiss – handling the running, kicking and sometimes even the passing duties – led the Fort Atkinson Cardinals to its first Southern Six-League championship outscoring its opponents 208-12 during the year. Weiss was an all-around athlete, lettering four years in football, three in basketball, and winning the state junior golf championship in 1934. In 1935 Weiss enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and joined the Wisconsin Badger football team as a running back. The Fort Atkinson native went on to earn Wisconsin’s Most Valuable Player award in 1937 and again in 1938 when he also took home the Big Ten Conference’s Most Valuable Player Award, the first time that a Badger had ever achieved this recognition. In the 1938 Heismann Trophy balloting Weiss came in sixth. Fort Atkinson was proud of their native son and on February 12, 1938 one thousand of them showed up at the municipal building to celebrate Howie Weiss Day. Addressing the overflow crowd the 20-year-old Weiss declared “You’ve made me the happiest boy in the world tonight, and you’ve made my mother the happiest mother in the world.” The love affair between athlete and hometown continued the next year when Fort fans piled into trains heading to Chicago to watch Weiss play with the College All-Stars against the NFL champion Washington Redskins. But Weiss was more than a football player. Elected president of his UW class for the...

Florence Ramsey Vosburg

Early in her married life, Florence Vosburg of Fort Atkinson began making suits for her young son. These handmade creations caught the eye of her friends, who asked her to make some for their children. Before Florence realized it, she was making extra garments to sell. The Smith sisters who ran R. C. Brewer’s, recognized her talents and began selling her garments on consignment. A small home based business was started and before long, she hired other women to work from their homes. These women did a specialized job on each garment after Florence did the cutting. Even the Vosburg boys got into the act, transporting the clothes from one worker to the next. Mothers brought their children to Florence to have the clothes custom fitted. Her small business grew until she branched out to include consignments in Milwaukee and Chicago for more than 40 years. This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on...

Crawford Thayer

Date in History: 1921 – 1986 Crawford Thayer’s interest in the Black Hawk War began in 1971 when he was asked to direct the first Black Hawk pageant at the newly constructed replica of Fort Cosconong. The historical drama was a huge undertaking and an even bigger success. Already interested in history and surprised by the pageant’s enthusiastic audience, Thayer decided to compile his own history of the 1832 conflict. A native New Englander, Thayer earned his MA in English Literature from Yale University. He came to Wisconsin in 1949 to take a position at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Two years later he joined the advertising department at James Manufacturing Co where he worked for 30 years before retiring in 1981 to devote his full attention to the Black Hawk...
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