Kelsey Corrigan was a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison getting a degree in Biology, History, and Global Health. After graduating in May 2015, she planned on attending medical school.

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OBJECT HISTORY: Yerkes Telescope

Making several important astronomical discoveries in the 20th century, the Yerkes Observatory has come to be known as one of the birthplaces of modern astrophysics. The telescope continues to contribute to the field of astrophysics and attracts many famous astronomers to Williams Bay.

An image of a nebula taken by the Yerkes Telescope

Astronomy in the 1900s

In the 1800s, astronomers valued telescope magnification to investigate planets and stars. In the 1900s, astronomers started to ask questions about the structure of our galaxy, the Milky Way, which lead to greater emphasis on light-gathering power.

Map of Lake Geneva, WI, featuring Williams Bay.

Williams Bay, WI

Captain Israel Williams founded Williams Bay, Wisconsin, in 1835. Williams and his two sons originally traveled to Wisconsin from their Massachusetts home to look for good farmland. Williams Bay was later named in honor of Captain Williams.

black and white image of the Yerkes telescope and the half dome housing it

Yerkes Telescope Construction and Use

The telescope at Yerkes Observatory was significant because it surpassed the 36-inch refracting telescope at the Lick Observatory in California, making the Yerkes telescope the largest refracting telescope in the world.

OBJECT HISTORY: Cassel Soda Bottle

This soda bottle was sold by the Cassel Soda Company in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, in the early 1900s.

Saratoga soda bottle (Image courtesy of the Illinois Glass Company Catalog).

History of Soda Bottles

In the 1800s, semi-automatic machines began making glass bottles. The first soda bottles were made in 1806 and resembled ale and spirits bottles. These bottles had short, square bottoms and a small neck.

Milwaukee Journal article regarding Prohibition (Image courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society).

Soda's Role in Prohibition

When the prohibition of alcohol began in 1920, the law brought huge social and economic effects to Wisconsin. Soda played an important role during prohibition in Wisconsin. Breweries sold soda to stay in business during prohibition, and some breweries used soda bottles to sell illegal alcohol.

Whitefish Bay Pabst Resort (Image courtesy of the Whitefish Bay Historical Society).

Milwaukee Resort Towns

When Chicago’s population boomed in the 1800s, the newcomers frequently traveled “up north” to Milwaukee for vacations. Several Milwaukee-based companies built resorts in the towns surrounding the city to increase profits from tourists. These “resort towns” attracted visitors from all over Wisconsin and Illinois and helped boost Milwaukee’s status and economy.

Milwaukee, 1872 (Image courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society).

Whitefish Bay Urbanization

In the late 1800s, meatpacking, wheat processing and brewing industrialization boomed in Milwaukee. This increase of manufacturing attracted workers from all over the country to move to Milwaukee. From 1870-1900, Milwaukee’s population quadrupled. Milwaukee’s housing infrastructure couldn’t support this drastic increase in population and caused housing issues for the new inhabitants.