This post is contributed by Material Culture Summer Service Learner Ally Hrkac. Ally recently completed her B.S. in Secondary Education at UW-Madison and worked with Recollection Wisconsin in Summer 2013 to develop online exhibits and educational resources.
“A lake carries you into recesses of feeling otherwise impenetrable.” — William Wordsworth
Wisconsin is a land of lakes – more than 15,000 are scattered across the state. These lakes are home to beautiful wildlife and stunning scenery; many play significant roles in Wisconsin industries. But most Wisconsinites first think of the state’s lakes as spaces for play and relaxation.
The sharp contrast in Wisconsin’s summer and winter climates means that opportunities for lake-based recreation abound. In the warmer months of the summer, residents get to be in the lake – swimming, fishing, boating – and the water is a cool relief from heat. In Wisconsin’s cold winter, residents have opportunities to be on the lake, choosing to ice skate, ice fish, or merely walk across the frozen water.
As time passes, the appeal of our lakes does not falter. Summer camps may appear and disappear, the style of hockey or fishing may evolve, and seasons change. Yet the lakes themselves remain for people to enjoy and share. These images show the various recreational activities that people have enjoyed for many years on Wisconsin’s lakes.
What is your favorite lake recreation? Do you prefer the cool water of summertime or the frozen ice of winter?
Wisconsin’s lakes in winter
Wisconsin’s lakes in summer
The images in these slideshows come from the following digital collections. Follow the links to browse and search the full collections.
- Eau Claire Area Historical Photographs, Chippewa Valley Museum
- Greetings from Milwaukee: Selections from the Thomas and Jean Ross Bliffert Postcard Collection, UW-Milwaukee Libraries
- History of UW-Superior, University Archives, UW-Superior. Part of the University of Wisconsin Collection from University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
- Images of Lake Geneva, Lake Geneva Public Library. Part of the State of Wisconsin Collection from UWDC
- Krohnographs: Photos by Don Krohn, South Wood County Historical Corporation, Wisconsin Rapids
- Louis M. Thiers Glass Negative Collection, Kenosha County History: Images and Texts, 1830s-1940s, Kenosha History Center, Kenosha County Historical Society. Part of the State of Wisconsin Collection from UWDC
- Milwaukee Neighborhoods: Photos and Maps 1885-1992, UW-Milwaukee Libraries
- Three Lakes Historical Society
- UW-Madison Collection, UW-Madison Archives. Part of the University of Wisconsin Collection from UWDC
- Wisconsin Historical Images, Wisconsin Historical Society