Fischer, Washington Sidewalk
As a star
attraction of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Wisconsin
celebrates 150 years of statehood by bringing cheese,
bratwurst, polka dancing, tailgate parties, even beer (by
special National Park Service dispensation) to the Mall.
Happily, the state that leads the nation in the production of
cheese, toilet paper and ginseng has left its calling card all
over the capital city.
When the Packers and University of Wisconsin Badgers are in
action, you can watch them on some of the 61 televisions at Mister
Day's Sports Rock Cafe, a downtown watering hole that has
served as Cheesehead central for nearly a decade ... For a
Wisconsin-style night on the town, head out to Blob's Park
in Jessup, Md., a Wisconsin-style rec room sort of place with
cheap beer, decent bratwurst and live bands for polka dancing.
The Wisconsin State Society (202-624-5870) descends on
the joint twice a year for Meisner's polka band ...Members of
the University of Wisconsin Alumni Club of Washington, D.C.
(202-797-3736) keep busy with softball games, monthly happy
hours at Buffalo Billiards, picnics and, on Oct. 18,
Wisconsin State Day at the Washington National Cathedral.
No presidents or veeps have hailed from Wisconsin, but the
Badger State did produce Joe McCarthy, a Republican
senator who relentlessly badgered witnesses as part of his
early-'50s crusade to ferret out Commies in the federal
government and armed forces. McCarthy masterminded the
inquisition from an apartment at 335 C St. S.E. on Capitol
Hill, and his last D.C. residence was a duplex at 20 Third St.
S.E. ... "Fightin' Bob" La Follette battled
for the common folk as a Republican governor, then as a
representative and a senator. In 1924, he ran for president on
the Progressive Party ticket and won 17 percent of the vote,
carrying only Wisconsin. La Follette's D.C. home (2112 Wyoming
Ave. N.W.) is now the Embassy of Senegal ... Republican Scott
Klug, who represents the Madison area in the House of
Representatives, was an investigative reporter for
Washington's WJLA-TV (Channel 7) from 1981 to 1988.
Expatriate Wisconsinites who covet made-in-Milwaukee Usinger's
bratwurst for home consumption find it at the deli counter
– not the meat department – at Giant. However, many Badger
bratnoscenti prefer the Johnsonville Sausage brand sold
at Safeway. No local restaurant greatly pleases Wisconsin
palates; the nearest thing to acceptable Wisconsin-style food
is found in Richmond, at the Texas Wisconsin Border Cafe
(1501 W. Main St., 804-355-2907), a wittily decorated
art-student hangout owned by a couple from the eponymous
sons and daughter
Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist
was born in Milwaukee (on Oct. 1, 1924) and attended high
school in the suburbs (he went to college at Stanford) ... In
the late 1930s, Wisconsin-born Frank Lloyd Wright proposed
Crystal Heights, a visionary mixed-use project with 2,362
apartment units and 140 hotel rooms at the northeast corner of
Connecticut and Florida avenues. It was never built, but
Wright did design Pope-Leighey House (left), a
dwelling for moderate-income families that was moved from
Falls Church to its current site at Woodlawn Plantation.
Artist Georgia O'Keeffe, who once said, "Where I
was born and where and how I lived is unimportant," was
born in Sun Prairie, Wis., in 1887. See her torrid Yellow
Calla at the National Museum of American Art and
behold a garden of sensuous delights – including Jack-in-the-Pulpit
Nos. II-VI – at the National Gallery of Art ...
Actor Spencer Tracy was born in Milwaukee (in 1900) and
played an idealistic presidential candidate in Frank Capra's
1948 State of the Union.
Wisconsin felt dissed when the U.S. Postal Service printed
only 16 million copies of the stamp commemorating the state's
sesquicentennial – that's 86 million fewer than were printed
for Utah and 362 million fewer than were printed of Bugs
Bunny. The date of issue is June 29, 1998, but since few of
the Wisconsin stamps are likely to turn up in local post
offices, you'll have to buy them at philatelic sales counters
at the National Postal Museum or the Old Post Office