DEER CAMP - WOOD COUNTY, WISCONSIN (ca. 1890)

We’ve mentioned that Wisconsin is beating everyone, right? Well, Wisconsin librarians are even MORE amazing. The eminently awesome Recollection Wisconsin sends this American Guide Week dispatch for Field Assignment #2 - Flora and Fauna:

Whitetail deer are abundant in Wisconsin, with current populations estimated at 1.5 million. Deer hunting is an annual late-autumn ritual for many Wisconsinites. Groups of hunters might retreat to “deer camps” for a week or more to test their skills and reconnect with the natural world. For others, deer hunting is a family affair; an entire extended family might spend hunting season’s opening weekend together, with plenty of time for eating, drinking, and socializing as well as the actual hunt.

Although the vast majority of Wisconsin’s 600,000+ licensed deer hunters are men, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is actively encouraging women to take part in this longstanding Wisconsin tradition. This year, the state’s nine-day gun hunting season will run from November 23-December 1. 

image source: McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids

Recollection Wisconsin has many, many great posts to explore on its own website. We happen to love this recent article about the history of Wisconsin department stores

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Recollection Wisconsin is a collaborative effort to bring together digital versions of Wisconsin history materials from participating libraries, archives, museums and historical societies across the state. Follow them on Tumblr at wiscohisto.tumblr.com and be sure to visit their website, recollectionwisconsin.org.

POLISH-AMERICANS - PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

The Polish Falcons of America check in with a dispatch for Field Assignment #7 - Ethnography. Definitely check out their Tumblr, as they have some fantastic archival images - there are some amazing folk costumes and feats of physical strength. (Plus, we love this welcoming committee!)

Winter is upon us once again and, for many of us, that means that it’s time to pull our hats and gloves out of storage and whip up a big batch of hot cocoa. For Polish-Americans in Pittsburgh, Pa., the arrival of winter also used to mean that it was time for the annual Polish Mart, a celebration of Polish heritage that was held for many years at the Polish Falcons’ auditorium in Pittsburgh’s South Side neighborhood. 

The first annual Polish Mart was held in 1940 and the tradition continued for more than five decades. It was started as a fundraiser for the Polish Falcons, a national fraternal benefit society that still has its headquarters in Pittsburgh. The booths at the event offered a variety of Polish arts and crafts, as well as delicious Polish foods and candies. Many Falconettes would spend the entire year preparing the goods that they would sell at the Polish Mart. Nancy Capozoli, whose mother was chairman of the Polish Mart for more than 25 years, fondly remembers making fancy jars of candy for her mother’s candy booth.

Pittsburgh has a large Polish-American community—nearly 10% of Pittsburghers have some Polish heritage. It’s easy to find evidence of this heritage in Pittsburgh, too, whether you’re looking at place names (like Polish Hill and Kosciuszko Street), stopping by one of the many Polish restaurants and delis for some pierogi and bigos, or visiting the Polish Nationality Room in Pittsburgh’s famous Cathedral of Learning. Even though the Polish Mart is no longer held at the Polish Falcons headquarters in Pittsburgh, staying connected with their heritage is still important to this city’s Polish-Americans. The Polish Falcons of America organization runs a blog, The PFA Online Museum, to share historical photographs like this one with the public and to help people connect with their heritage.  

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Find the Polish Falcons Museum on Tumblr at polishfalcons.tumblr.com, on their main website, polishfalcons.org, or on their Facebook page, facebook.com/pfanational.

AMERICAN GUIDE WEEK - THE U.S. of A.

It’s Monday, November 18th, folks, and the sun has risen on the second annual American Guide Week. 

We’ve dug deep in the archives and unearthed the 1935 field manual sent out to our WPA predecessors. We’ve laid out ten assignments:

  1. Topography and Climate
  2. Flora and Fauna
  3. History
  4. Folk Festivals, Pageants, Celebrations and Customs
  5. National Parks, Monuments and Landmarks
  6. Architecture 
  7. Ethnography
  8. Waterways
  9. Transportation
  10. Products and Manufacturing/Industry

Now, trusted Guides, we send you out to report back with both hard facts and tall tales. The assignments should be used as inspiration for your dispatches, not as interrogations to be answered by rote. Write, photograph, film, record, draw, paint, sing. We look forward to seeing what you send our way.

Tag your new (or old) posts #americanguideweek, contact us through the Submit page or drop a line to theamericanguide@gmail.com. 

In the ardent words of the original manual, “At every point in the preparation of the Guide, voluntary assistance will be of the greatest importance.” This is a collaboration, folks: a living, Tumblifying documentary about the USA. Glad to have you on board.

Be a Guide. Show us your state and we’ll show you ours.

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Illustration by Guide to the West, James Orndorf - www.roughshelter.com

ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA 

Florida’s fourth-largest city and the second in importance as a winter resort, occupies a semi-isolated area of 58 square miles on the southern tip of the Pinellas peninsula, a 25-mile projection between Tampa Bay and Boca Ciega Bay. US 19, entering from the North, is its only free trunk highway.

St. Petersburg’s front yard is a series of landscaped parks and driveways paralleling Tampa Bay, a filled-in stretch of two miles embracing the city’s harbor, yacht basin, municipal pier, and major recreational attractions.

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Jordan Smith is the guide to ephemeral America for The American Guide. He currently works for the University of Notre Dame during the day and scans at night. He lives in South Bend, Indiana and you can find him on Flickr, his blog, or one of several Tumblr sites.

DIVISION AND WOOD - CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

Yet once you’ve come to be part of this particular patch, you’ll never love another. Like loving a woman with a broken nose, you may well find lovelier lovelies. But never a lovely so real.
—Nelson Algren, Chicago: City On the Make

Nelson Algren found this bar to be a home, and to me that seems appropriate and comforting. Right off of the old “Polish Highway,” which is now hailed simply as Milwaukee Ave, Gold Star Bar holds true to the folklore that is still discussed and idealized in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. It is a welcome reminder that a bar is not defined by the amount of high definition televisions on the wall, or how many ingredients are in your drink. The midcentury neon sign hanging above the door promotes furnished rooms and dates back to a time when Gold Star had a hotel above. An ornate key rack still hangs inside as a reminder of this place’s history. In a neighborhood that has become upscale and overpriced, this is a true gem in a city that holds on tightly to the spirit of what it means to be a Chicagoan. You most certainly can find lovelier bars in Wicker Park, but nothing as real.
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Shelby Pollard is an independent visual artist, writer, and musician.  He was born in a rural southern Illinois town, but now calls Chicago home.  He is a lover of all things truly American, a beard enthusiast, and a whiskey advocate.  You can find his work at chicagodailyart.tumblr.com, hear his music at minorcharactersmusic.com, or follow him on Twitter. 
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DIVISION AND WOOD - CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

Yet once you’ve come to be part of this particular patch, you’ll never love another. Like loving a woman with a broken nose, you may well find lovelier lovelies. But never a lovely so real.

—Nelson Algren, Chicago: City On the Make

Nelson Algren found this bar to be a home, and to me that seems appropriate and comforting. Right off of the old “Polish Highway,” which is now hailed simply as Milwaukee Ave, Gold Star Bar holds true to the folklore that is still discussed and idealized in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. It is a welcome reminder that a bar is not defined by the amount of high definition televisions on the wall, or how many ingredients are in your drink. The midcentury neon sign hanging above the door promotes furnished rooms and dates back to a time when Gold Star had a hotel above. An ornate key rack still hangs inside as a reminder of this place’s history. In a neighborhood that has become upscale and overpriced, this is a true gem in a city that holds on tightly to the spirit of what it means to be a Chicagoan. You most certainly can find lovelier bars in Wicker Park, but nothing as real.

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Shelby Pollard is an independent visual artist, writer, and musician.  He was born in a rural southern Illinois town, but now calls Chicago home.  He is a lover of all things truly American, a beard enthusiast, and a whiskey advocate.  You can find his work at chicagodailyart.tumblr.com, hear his music at minorcharactersmusic.com, or follow him on Twitter

SILVER SPRINGS, FLORIDA 

Timucuan Indians settled around Silver Springs in the early 1500s. They were soon invaded by the Spaniards and eventually succeeded by Seminole Indians. In turn, the Seminoles, led by Chief Osceola, then retreated to southern swamps when pressed by the US Government in 1835. By the 1850s, barges carried cotton, lumber and nonperishables up the river to the growing community of Ocala. 

Paddlewheel steamboats made their way up the Silver River to the main spring and in the 1880s railroad cars began bringing even 
more tourists. Silver Springs and the Silver River have been tourist attractions ever since. In addition, the spring’s crystalline water has provided the perfect underwater backdrop for many Hollywood films and television programs including six Tarzan films, Sea Hunt, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, and many others.

Silver Springs, will become a state park in October, following $4 million in renovation that includes the removal of exotic animals and amusement rides. Its famous glass-bottom boat tours, which started there in 1878, and the popular concert series will remain, but several exhibits and structures will be dismantled to convert the attraction into a more natural park. The park will remain open during the transition.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

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Jordan Smith is the guide to ephemeral America for The American Guide. He currently works for the University of Notre Dame during the day and scans at night. He lives in South Bend, Indiana and you can find him on Flickr, his blog, or one of several Tumblr sites.

FRANKENMUTH, MICHIGAN

A German settlement known throughout the State for its chicken dinners, served harvester style, and its Frankenmuth beer. It was settled in 1845 by a group of Franconians from Bavaria and, later, by refugees from the unsuccessful German revolution of 1848.

The neat village, spread out for some distance, has retained its German flavor; most of the inhabitants are descendants of the original settlers and speak the German language.

—Michigan: A Guide to the Wolverine State (WPA,1941)

Postcard Key:

1. Maypole 2-4. Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn 5. The Fischer Opera Haus 6. Schnitzelbank Shop 7. Bavarian Festival 8. Bodenbender’s Apfel Haus 9. Bronner’s 10. The Edelweiss Trio

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Jordan Smith is the guide to ephemeral America for The American Guide. He currently works for the University of Notre Dame during the day and scans at night. He lives in South Bend, Indiana and you can find him on Flickr, his blog, or one of several Tumblr sites.

QUAKE LAKE, MONTANA

Nature is so amazing. Late one night in August of 1959, a huge earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale sent a massive 80 million ton landslide rushing 100 miles an hour down Sheep Mountain in southwest Montana. It buried homes and cabins, destroyed roads and buildings, and killed 28 people who were camping on the shores of Hebgen Lake and the Madison River. (And you thought bears were all you had to worry about when camping, right?) The landslide completely choked off the flow of the Madison River, which began to backfill in the valley upstream, and within a month the six-mile long Quake Lake was created. Today you can drive around the lake, over the visible landslide and stop in the visitor’s center to learn more.

(Archival images: USGS)

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KC O’Connor is a Guide to Wyoming for The American Guide. He’s a writer and photographer based in Lander, Wyoming. Follow him on Tumblr at kcowyo.tumblr.com and on Twitter.

Flintstones Bedrock City - Custer, South Dakota

Bedrock City, located on 30 acres, just outside of Custer, South Dakota, opened in 1966 by two local cement plant owners with an idea to build a replica of the popular Flintstones town of Bedrock.

The town features all the popular characters, their houses, Main Street, a City Hall, a Fire House, a working Cimena, a radio station, grocery store, police department and a Flintstones version of Mt. Rushmore (located nearby) called Mt. Rockmore.

Originally, the town and characters were made of cement but the majority of them have been replaced by fiberglass replicas of the original.

There is also a campground located behind the park that features an arcade, laundry, swimming pool, playground and putt-putt golf course.

Guide Note: Check out Roadside America and the Bedrock City website for more information.

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Jordan Smith is the guide to ephemeral America for The American Guide. He currently works for the University of Notre Dame during the day and scans at night. He lives in South Bend, Indiana and you can find him on Flickr, his blog, or one of several Tumblr sites.

THRIFT - OUTSIDE RALEIGH, N.C.
Up-cycled furniture, antique clothing and linens, and tons of small treasures pack “SuzAnna’s Antiques,” a converted lawnmower repair shop located about 15 minutes north of downtown Raleigh. Outside, old doors and lawn furniture beg for a new home and a fresh coat of paint. SuzAnna’s is the go-to for all the local thrifters, who may or may not share the location of this treasured spot in an effort to save the good stuff for themselves.
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BRITTANY KEARNS is a Guide to North Carolina. An honorary Southerner, she was born in New Jersey, but now calls rural Chatham County home. She’s got a degree in anthropology, a love for documentary photography and takes film over digital any day. Follow her on Tumblr at thebeekearns.tumblr.com and check out her portfolio at BrittanyKearns.com.  
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THRIFT - OUTSIDE RALEIGH, N.C.
Up-cycled furniture, antique clothing and linens, and tons of small treasures pack “SuzAnna’s Antiques,” a converted lawnmower repair shop located about 15 minutes north of downtown Raleigh. Outside, old doors and lawn furniture beg for a new home and a fresh coat of paint. SuzAnna’s is the go-to for all the local thrifters, who may or may not share the location of this treasured spot in an effort to save the good stuff for themselves.
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BRITTANY KEARNS is a Guide to North Carolina. An honorary Southerner, she was born in New Jersey, but now calls rural Chatham County home. She’s got a degree in anthropology, a love for documentary photography and takes film over digital any day. Follow her on Tumblr at thebeekearns.tumblr.com and check out her portfolio at BrittanyKearns.com.  
Zoom Info
THRIFT - OUTSIDE RALEIGH, N.C.
Up-cycled furniture, antique clothing and linens, and tons of small treasures pack “SuzAnna’s Antiques,” a converted lawnmower repair shop located about 15 minutes north of downtown Raleigh. Outside, old doors and lawn furniture beg for a new home and a fresh coat of paint. SuzAnna’s is the go-to for all the local thrifters, who may or may not share the location of this treasured spot in an effort to save the good stuff for themselves.
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BRITTANY KEARNS is a Guide to North Carolina. An honorary Southerner, she was born in New Jersey, but now calls rural Chatham County home. She’s got a degree in anthropology, a love for documentary photography and takes film over digital any day. Follow her on Tumblr at thebeekearns.tumblr.com and check out her portfolio at BrittanyKearns.com.  
Zoom Info
THRIFT - OUTSIDE RALEIGH, N.C.
Up-cycled furniture, antique clothing and linens, and tons of small treasures pack “SuzAnna’s Antiques,” a converted lawnmower repair shop located about 15 minutes north of downtown Raleigh. Outside, old doors and lawn furniture beg for a new home and a fresh coat of paint. SuzAnna’s is the go-to for all the local thrifters, who may or may not share the location of this treasured spot in an effort to save the good stuff for themselves.
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BRITTANY KEARNS is a Guide to North Carolina. An honorary Southerner, she was born in New Jersey, but now calls rural Chatham County home. She’s got a degree in anthropology, a love for documentary photography and takes film over digital any day. Follow her on Tumblr at thebeekearns.tumblr.com and check out her portfolio at BrittanyKearns.com.  
Zoom Info
THRIFT - OUTSIDE RALEIGH, N.C.
Up-cycled furniture, antique clothing and linens, and tons of small treasures pack “SuzAnna’s Antiques,” a converted lawnmower repair shop located about 15 minutes north of downtown Raleigh. Outside, old doors and lawn furniture beg for a new home and a fresh coat of paint. SuzAnna’s is the go-to for all the local thrifters, who may or may not share the location of this treasured spot in an effort to save the good stuff for themselves.
* * *

BRITTANY KEARNS is a Guide to North Carolina. An honorary Southerner, she was born in New Jersey, but now calls rural Chatham County home. She’s got a degree in anthropology, a love for documentary photography and takes film over digital any day. Follow her on Tumblr at thebeekearns.tumblr.com and check out her portfolio at BrittanyKearns.com.  
Zoom Info
THRIFT - OUTSIDE RALEIGH, N.C.
Up-cycled furniture, antique clothing and linens, and tons of small treasures pack “SuzAnna’s Antiques,” a converted lawnmower repair shop located about 15 minutes north of downtown Raleigh. Outside, old doors and lawn furniture beg for a new home and a fresh coat of paint. SuzAnna’s is the go-to for all the local thrifters, who may or may not share the location of this treasured spot in an effort to save the good stuff for themselves.
* * *

BRITTANY KEARNS is a Guide to North Carolina. An honorary Southerner, she was born in New Jersey, but now calls rural Chatham County home. She’s got a degree in anthropology, a love for documentary photography and takes film over digital any day. Follow her on Tumblr at thebeekearns.tumblr.com and check out her portfolio at BrittanyKearns.com.  
Zoom Info

THRIFT - OUTSIDE RALEIGH, N.C.

Up-cycled furniture, antique clothing and linens, and tons of small treasures pack “SuzAnna’s Antiques,” a converted lawnmower repair shop located about 15 minutes north of downtown Raleigh. Outside, old doors and lawn furniture beg for a new home and a fresh coat of paint. SuzAnna’s is the go-to for all the local thrifters, who may or may not share the location of this treasured spot in an effort to save the good stuff for themselves.

* * *

BRITTANY KEARNS is a Guide to North Carolina. An honorary Southerner, she was born in New Jersey, but now calls rural Chatham County home. She’s got a degree in anthropology, a love for documentary photography and takes film over digital any day. Follow her on Tumblr at thebeekearns.tumblr.com and check out her portfolio at BrittanyKearns.com.