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5 Fun Facts About December 25 In Wisconsin History

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1. Wisconsin became a state on December 29, 1848, just a few days after Christmas. The Wisconsin Territory had voted in favor of statehood earlier that year, but it took several months for Congress to pass the necessary legislation and for President James K. Polk to sign it into law.

2. On Christmas Day in 1832, the Black Hawk War came to an end when the Sauk leader Black Hawk surrendered to the US Army at Fort Armstrong in Illinois. The conflict had begun earlier that year when Black Hawk and his followers, who had been forced to leave their ancestral lands in Illinois, crossed into Wisconsin and clashed with militia and regular Army troops.

3. In 1906, the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison was officially dedicated on December 19, but the building had been under construction for many years before that and was not fully completed until a few years later. The Capitol remains one of the most distinctive and grandiose examples of the Beaux-Arts style of architecture in the United States.

4. Wisconsin's most famous sports team, the Green Bay Packers, played their first Christmas Day game in 1929 against the Chicago Cardinals. The Packers won the game 20-14, thanks to a late touchdown by running back Johnny "Blood" McNally. The team has played several other games on or around Christmas over the years, but none have been as memorable as that first one.

5. December 25, 1837, is known as the "Day of the Great Sleigh Race" in Milwaukee. According to legend, a group of young men wagered on who could travel the farthest in a day by horse-drawn sleigh. The starting point was Kilbourn Town (now part of downtown Milwaukee) and the finish line was the Belleview House, a tavern and inn near Waukesha. The winner, a man named Sam Marshall, covered a distance of about 125 miles and reportedly won $1,000 in cash and a barrel of whiskey.
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