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Pigs Beneath the Legislature

Today's Odd Wisconsin is a classic

The first legislature in 1838 met in a not-quite-finished Capitol building:

According to one lawmaker, "the basement story was all open, and [a] large drove of hogs had taken possession. The weather was cold, the halls were cold, our ink would freeze - so that when we could stand it no longer we passed a joint resolution to adjourn for twenty days, and I was appointed by the two houses to procure carpeting for both halls."

Although the Capitol was soon made habitable, the pigs remained for at least another decade and sometimes proved quite useful. Charles Harper, who knew Wisconsin's first governor and Supreme Court justice, claimed that once when a motion to adjourn was voted down, its sponsor "seized a long pole used in raising the windows and poked it down between the wide cracks in the rough board floor. [There] ensued a chorus of grunts and squeals and the sound of trampling feet made by the pigs, which had taken up their residence beneath the floor. Such clouds of dust began to rise between the cracks in the floor that lawmakers all started to squeeze and cough. This time the motion to adjourn was carried."