Archives for posts with tag: History

What's In A Name
I recently visited the largest city in Jo Daviess County in Illinois, Galena. This small community is a popular tourist destination and is widely known in the region for its history, golf resorts and art scene. Speaking of history, did you know that Galena was home to Ulysses S. Grant, our countries 18th president? Pretty exciting stuff, huh?

While all the history and art in pretty interesting… I find myself wondering where does such a name for a city come from. So, I decided to put my spectacles and thinking cap on, of course, and got to reading. Let me share with you just what is behind the name Galena.

The term “galena” refers to the natural form of lead sulfide and is one of the most important lead ore minerals. These mineral deposits are found worldwide. In the United States galena is mostly found in the southeastern portion of Missouri and in my area of the country, the Driftless Areas of Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. The term “driftless area” refers to the area in which there was an absence of recent  glacier activity. Of course by recent I am referring to the last 100,00 years. In this area the importance of mining galena and other minerals inspired a city in the region to take name galena for its own. There you have it, that’s how Galena got its name!

This city is one of my favorite local day trips. There are several museums, restaurants, art galleries and other venues to see. You’ll have to plan a few days to really get the full experience. Here is a brief list of some of my favorite items that Galena has to offer:

Galena Cellars Winery & Vineyard
One of my friends recently took the plunge and got hitched at this winery. The location is beautiful! Its just outside of Galena and offers gorgeous views of our driftless topography and excellent sangria to boot.

Root Beer

Exhibit A

Root Beer Revelry
This root beer boutique is located in Galena’s downtown area and features a large variety of beverages including root beer, sarsaparilla, cream soda and other tasty concoctions. My boyfriend and I took his brothers to visit this shop, see Exhibit A to the right. When you stop by might I suggest the XXX Root Beer it is lovely and has an entertaining name all at the same time.

This shop offers a wide variety of strange and wacky gifts ranging from art and jewelry to toys and games. One could spend quite some time scavenging the odd gloriness of this store, and this one has!

The Facts:
Other Party: Tess T
Card Number: 0170
Average Color: 666169
Date Sent: September 15, 2013
Date Received: September 18, 2013
Sender Location: Galena, Il
Receiver Location: Reedsburg, WI
Distance Traveled: 80 Miles
Average Speed: 27 Miles Per Day


This is the first direct swap postcard I have received. It comes from Lise of Kansas. She runs a postcard blog as well, Postcardswapific. You should go have a gander at her blog after you read this.

Kansas became the 34th state on January 29, 1861 and is the 15th largest state in the US. Prior to its admission into the Union the state was known as the Kansas Territory. This Territory was organized on May 30, 1854 and extended from the Missouri border west to the summit of the Rocky Mountains, much of present day Colorado was part of the Kansas Territory. Before the Kansas Territory there was the Louisiana Purchase, this is when the United States acquired French land in 1803. The acquisition included an unorganized territory which happened to encompass area known as Kansas.

Not to be out done, Kansas is an American rock band that formed in 1973 in Topeka, Kansas. Their hits include: “Carry on Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind”.

The Facts:
Other Party: Lisa D
Card Number: 0162
Average Color: 938F5C
Date Sent: August 14, 2013
Date Received: August 17, 2013
Sender Location: Scott City, KS
Receiver Location: Platteville, WI
Distance Traveled: 346 Miles
Average Speed: 115.3 Miles Per Day

Old Water Tower
To honor this card I have prepared a brief history of the Chicago Water Tower.


The Chicago Water tower was constructed out of limestone in 1869 by architect William Boyington and is the second oldest water tower in the United States. The tower grew in popularity after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, as it was the only public building that survived within the burn zone. The tower was named an American Water Landmark in 1969 and has come to symbolize old Chicago and the city’s recovery since the fire.

The Facts:
Other Party: Cody W
Card Number: 0138
Average Color: 766461
Date Sent: July 27, 2013
Date Received: July 29, 2013
Sender Location: Chicago,IL
Receiver Location: Platteville, WI
Distance Traveled: 157 Miles
Average Speed: 79 Miles Per Day

Greetings From The Dairy State
To honor this dairy themed postcard (with horrid font) I have prepared a brief overview of Wisconsin’s agricultural history.


Wisconsin’s first successful cash-crop (a crop produced for its commercial value rather than for use by the grower) was wheat. In fact, from 1840 to 1880, the state was considered “America’s breadbasket” because it produced more than one-sixth of the nation’s wheat. Despite the state’s initial success with wheat, farmers began switching to other crops due to increased competition from other states and nitrogen depletion within the soil. In the late 19th century, Wisconsin switched to mostly feed-crop (plants that are grown for use by the farmer) as these crops were better suited for the soil and climate of the Midwest.

The Rise of Dairy

The first cheese producers emerged in 1837. Around this time dairy operations quickly spread throughout Wisconsin and by 1899, more than 90 percent of the state’s farms raised dairy cows. The dairy industry exploded in Wisconsin for several reasons. Many of the first dairy farmers were New Yorkers — at this time, New York was the leading dairy producer and these workers brought their experience and knowledge to the Dairy State. The University of Wisconsin further fueled the dairy industry by promoting advanced techniques to Wisconsin’s growing dairy industry. The state’s German and Scandinavian immigrants specialized in European-style cheese making. For these reasons, Wisconsin was the country’s No. 1 butter- and cheese- producing state by 1915.

Today’s Dairy Culture

Most Wisconsinites identify as Cheeseheads, which of course refers the large amount of cheese the state produces. The term “cheesehead” began as a derogatory term used by Illinois sports fans to refer to Wisconsin sports fans. The term was quickly embraced by Wisconsin residents and is now a point of pride.

The Facts:
Other Party: Kimberly B
Card Number: 0127
Average Color: 55586C
Date Sent: June 6, 2013
Date Received: June 7, 2013
Sender Location: Platteville, WI
Receiver Location: Sun Prairie, WI
Distance Traveled: 71 Miles
Average Speed: 71 Miles Per Day

Stamp Crazy
Here is another blast from the past, but I am catching up! This postcard is from when Karmen went to Korea. You can read more about it on her lovely blog, Karmenvasion. I don’t know too much about passports, I have one but have yet to use it.

Sean Presents: The Origins of the Passport

I have to be honest, the origins of the passport seems a little vague at the beginning, from what I can tell the first passport type of document was introduced in medieval Europe. These documents were issued to travelers, they listed towns and cities the holder was allowed to visit. It seems strange that the early passports were not required at sea ports, as they were considered open trading points, but they were required for visits to inland destinations.

Other Facts!

During the first World War, European governments introduced border passport requirements to keep spies out!

The early passport included a description of the passport holder. Photographs began to be attached to passports in the early decades of the twentieth century, when photography became widespread.

Most countries declare by law that passports are government property, and may be limited or revoked at any time, usually on specified grounds.

The Facts:
Other Party: Karmen M
Card Number: 0093
Average Color: 3F353B
Date Sent: May 20, 2012
Date Received: May 24, 2012
Sender Location: San Francisco, CA*
Receiver Location: Platteville, WI
Distance Traveled: 1710 Miles
Average Speed: 428 Miles Per Day

*This card was printed and mailed from San Francisco.

Wisconsin Territory 1836
This postcard made its’ way into my collection from my grandmother. This one is definitely worth sharing, that is why I have decided to start posting some cards that have never been in circulation.

Because this is a unique postcard I have decided to do some research into the origins of postcards. Warning, this post contains some educational deliciousness.

A Brief History of Postcards

American postcards were developed by the Morgan Envelope Factory in Massachusetts in 1873. However, the United Sates Post Office (USPS) was the only group allowed to print postcards until 1898. After that the USPS prohibited private companies from using the term “postcard”, the cards printed by other organizations were known as “souvenir cards”, these cards were required to be labeled “Private Mailing Cards”. This restriction was abolished in 1901 and the term “postcard” could be used by any one.

Originally postcards were one-sided, customers were only allowed to have their correspondents on the front of the card while the address and stamp were on the back. In 1907 the postcard took on a more traditional divided-back format when the Post Office allowed citizen to write on the address side of the card.

First Day of Issue

The card above features the line “first day of issue”, this is used to designate the first day the item is authorized for use. The first day of issue postmark generally features a pictorial or text cancellation which indicates the city and date where the item was first issued, in this case it’s Mineral Point, Wisconsin on July 3, 1986.

Contemporary Postcards

The modern postcard, in all of it’s glory, appeared in the late 1930s but did not gain massive popularity until the 1950s.

There you have it, a brief history of postcards!

Thanks Grandma!

The Facts:
Card Number: 0091
Average Color: EBE2D9