Current Issue: Summer/Fall 2017

David Voelker

With this issue, Voyageur enters its thirty-fourth year of publication. Whether you are a new reader or a longtime subscriber, I thank you for your interest in and support of the magazine. The history of our region is not only fascinating and important for understanding the present, but it is also part of what binds us together into a community. A strong sense of the unique history of this place will help strengthen our region.

In fact, the contents of this issue take us to various areas in our region, from Fort Howard on the west bank of the Fox River to the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin’s reservation to Door County and Oconto. The main articles also address northeast Wisconsin’s history from the colonial era up to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Kevin Cullen’s piece on public archaeology at the Fort Howard site takes us back to the early European and American presence in our region while also connecting to the present day through the archaeological project itself. Melinda Roberts’s article on Hjalmar Höland’s efforts (in the early twentieth century) to create historical markers in Door County also crosses chronological boundaries. Roberts seeks to understand primarily how Höland saw the historical figures whose lives he helped commemorate. Jennie Olinda Gabrielson’s memoir of growing up on the Oconto bay shore, edited by her nephew Peter Gabrielson, gives us insight into the lives of the mostly Norwegian and Swedish settlers of that area in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. We do not often publish family history, but we believe that this memoir offers an interesting and valuable sketch of life in the Oconto bay shore area during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Keeping the spotlight on Oconto, a photo history by David Retzlaff documents the history of the Stanley Toy Company, which was active in Oconto between 1946 and 1949 and managed to reach a national market with its cast metal line of toys, before the destruction of the factory by fire.

The final piece comes to us through the generosity of the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. Ojibwe author Patty Loew is well known for her works on the First Nations of Wisconsin. We have excerpted here from her chapter on the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin in Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal (revised, second edition). The history of the Oneida tribe is integral to the history of the Green Bay area. The selected passage provides a long view of the Oneida migration to Wisconsin, covering the establishment of their reservation, their loss of roughly ninety-five percent of the reservation lands in the wake of the Dawes Severalty (or Allotment Act), and the economic development of the tribe over the past few decades. As a result of this development, the Oneida have recovered some of the land that the tribe lost during the allotment era.

To close, I’d like to thank the Voyageur team, including Senior Art Director Toni Damkoehler, Manager Kent Crain, and the very capable staff of student editorial assistants and graphic designers. The editorial committee members help maintain the quality of the magazine by conducting manuscript reviews, and they also often help pitch in with book reviews and other short pieces. Cletus Delvaux deserves special thanks for this issue, as do Myles Dannhausen and Stephen Grutzmacher for providing special peer review assistance. Additionally, I am grateful to Kristin Gilpatrick at the Wisconsin Historical Society Press for providing the book excerpts that we featured in both this issue and the previous issue. Finally, thanks to all of the authors who volunteered their time to do research and to write these fine articles. I hope you enjoy this issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me with feedback or with article ideas based on your own research.

Greetings Voyageur Readers!

I hope this edition of Voyageur finds your summer off to a good start! As I mentioned in the previous issue, I would like to talk with you about Voyageur and the digital world.

Voyageur is a print magazine, and will remain so for years and years to come. However, we can’t ignore the changes that the internet and our connected lives have brought to how we share information, nor can we ignore the opportunities that it offers.

Our goal is to have a new Voyageur website up and running by the end of 2018, but a myriad of details need to be worked out before we get to that point. It is going to be much more than a cosmetic upgrade.

We will be creating a website that will offer additional materials beyond those found in the pages of Voyageur. Some of this material might be related to a specific article in the current (or a past) issue of Voyageur, while other content will be new material that stands on its own. The new website will also feature a calendar of events being offered by history-based organizations throughout Voyageur’s twenty-six-county coverage area and links to our advertisers’ websites. Eventually, we hope to make copies of past Voyageur articles available through our website, making us a more accessible resource for historians and history enthusiasts.

There are hurdles to clear both before and after the new website is launched. One of our biggest challenges will be acquiring the additional content that will appear on the new website, which presents as much of an opportunity as it does a challenge. We want to make the new website something that will allow more chances for Voyageur readers to submit material, as well as involving local historical organizations to produce content.

The very nature of a printed magazine limits what can be published. Thankfully, many of those limits are not present in the digital world. For example, if a subscriber has a large compilation of photos covering the history of railroading in the region, we might be able to run a photo essay in the magazine featuring perhaps a dozen images, whereas the new website would allow us to present entire collections with ease.

Developing a website in tandem with the publication also allows us to be more flexible concerning content length. We typically prefer the articles we run in the magazine to be four to six pages in length, but sometimes a topic can be effectively covered in less space. The new website will be a perfect venue for pieces that are shorter than what we would normally publish in the magazine.

Furthermore, the content on the website can be posted shortly after it is received. For example, imagine that a Voyageur reader has additional material relevant to an article in the most recent issue of the magazine. There is no need to wait six months until the next issue of Voyageur is published, because it can be put on the website for all subscribers to see right away. That is not to say, of course, that there will not be a vetting process for material that will appear on the website. But the opportunities for people to have their work and research presented will increase enormously with the new website.

We will also be utilizing Voyageur’s Facebook page (if you haven’t already liked us on Facebook, please do!) to a larger extent, in conjunction with the new website, and we hope to create a Social Media/Marketing intern position once the new site is up and running—another way for Voyageur to offer opportunities for UW–Green Bay students to gain real-world work experience.

We are moving into waters that are, for Voyageur, uncharted. But, as in the spirit of the explorers for whom we are named, the journey will be worth it, as we create a better product and experience for you, our subscribers and readers.

If you have any input or questions regarding the new website, please email me at or call me at the office at (920) 465-2446.

Thank you,


About Voyageur

Voyageur is a nonprofit magazine about the history of a 26-county area of greater Northeast Wisconsin. It's published twice a year, each June and December. Publication frequency is Summer/Fall and Winter/Spring. Each 64-page edition highlights historic people, places and events from the region's past. Voyageur has a readership of 10,000. It's distributed to homes, schools, libraries, businesses and other locations throughout Wisconsin, in nearly all fifty states and overseas. Voyageur has published two issues a year since its beginning in 1984. The magazine is published by the Brown County Historical Society in cooperation with the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and St. Norbert College in De Pere.