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Waubeka will be one of the stars in ‘Little Wisconsin’ book PDF Print E-mail
Written by DAVE BOEHLER   
Wednesday, 17 January 2018 18:08

   The locals know of Waubeka’s small-town charm, but there’s plenty around the state who have never even heard of it.
    Melinda Roberts’ book “Little Wisconsin” hopes to change all that.
    “When I chose my communities, I wanted to make sure, one, they had some really interesting history,” Roberts said. “Two, that there is something people will come to visit, that they’ll be able to come and have a tangible place to see. It doesn’t have to be something really big. One of my communities has a hand-painted Smokey the Bear sign.
    “Anyway, Waubeka was definitely on my radar because there is so much there. It’s a great place to visit. It’s got the Americanism Center, it’s got the history of Flag Day, you can see that school house, and then the added bonus is the Chief Waubeka Historical Trail, which takes you all through town.”
    Roberts, 61, grew up in Orange County, Calif., and first came to Wisconsin in 2011 for a job. She lived in De Pere but did not know anyone.
    A few months later and a day before her 55th birthday, she was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer and given a “two-year window” by doctors.
    “My doctor said go do something fun,” Roberts said. “So I did. I went down to Baraboo to see the Man Mound and discovered some of the Wisconsin Historical Society official markers that are all over down there in Dane County.”
    Roberts did some research online and found 532 historical markers, but they were in chronological order. Despite not knowing many towns in Wisconsin, Roberts needed two weeks to organize them by county.
    “I had about 18 months left in my two-year window and decided I would go and visit all of them,” Roberts said. “Just to get out and do something.”
    In the summer of 2012, Roberts began her journey across the state and visited several of Waubeka’s 23 historical markers.
    Roberts created a website called and that was how book company Adventure Keen found her. They oversaw the book titled “Little Minnesota” and approached her last spring about doing the same type of thing for Wisconsin.
    The size of the communities Roberts writes about is around 600 people, and she knew Waubeka was a perfect fit because of what she saw her first time there.
    She returned to Waubeka in the fall, and her written content for the town has already been approved.
    Roberts writes about 950 to 1,000 words on each community to go with five pictures. She still has 52 more towns to photograph.
    “So I’ve got a lot to do between now and Oct. 1,” Roberts said. “I actually have a countdown calender on my desk now.”
    The manuscript is due Oct. 1 and the book will come out in the spring of 2019.
    “I think for the whole book, people are going to find there are fabulous, fabulous little communities that are off everybody’s radar,” Roberts said. “I’m real excited about the book because Wisconsinites are already very proud of Wisconsin. But this is going to add another layer to that because the history here is rich, the accomplishments of Wisconsinites are amazing and each one of these little communities has something really cool to be proud of.”
    And about that two-year window?
    “I’m still here because at the end of the day, I believe our days are numbered and the Bible says that,” Roberts said. “And we can’t extend our lives one second beyond that. Yes, I’m still here. I don’t know if I’ll be here tomorrow. But none of us do.”

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