The project Trempealeau County 1976 - Images at the Bicentennial was originally sponsored and funded by the Trempealeau County Historical Society with the intention to "make photographs of significant things and sites of historical interest from the past that still remain with us and to record by photographic pictures life as it exists today in Trempealeau County and to arrange for the display and preservation of these photographs so that they will best benefit the inhabitants of Trempealeau County Wisconsin . . . "
Images in this collection depict a cross section of rural life in western Wisconsin in 1976. There are many portraits of people in their home and work environment: farming, gardening, manufacturing, church, leisure and more. Many historic buildings are captured as are community festivals, parades and landscapes.
Photographer Wade Britzius, a resident of rural Ettrick, was hired by the Trempealeau County Historical Society through a federal employment grant to produce a collection which came to include over 900 mounted black and white photos. The images were displayed in bank lobbies throughout the County and presented three years running at the Trempealeau County Fair. Britzius had extensively studied documentary photography and was a participant in the Iron Range Community Documentation Project in Minnesota. Major influences were the work of photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, Eugene Smith and especially Paul Strand.
The digital reproductions included here have been made possible through the combined efforts of the Arcadia Historical Society, Old Main Historical & Community Arts Center, the Trempealeau County Historical Society and Wade Britzius, with partial funding from Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc.
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