About the Author

Mary Ann taught high school English and speech for 33 years, 27 at Prairie du Chien.  Previously, she taught in Germantown, Wisconsin and 4 years with the Department of Defense Overseas in the Philippines, Germany and England. She has been active in civic affairs spending 4 years on the city council, about fifteen years on the Police and Fire Commission and almost two decades on the library board. She is excited about the plans for a for renovation of the library. She Digital Downloads for her two volumes about the library; Wachute Memorial Library on Wacouta Avenue and The Great Artesian Well.


Mary Ann wrote monthly columns for the historic Courier-Press. Starting in 2002, she wrote 55 Tales of Fort Crawford while volunteering for the museum.  She began the current column, Baroques in 2008  and has written 40.   Between 1890 and 1915, Prairie du Chien was Pearl City for the extensive pearl fishing that occurred.  Every clammer had a pocketful of baroques, those irregular shaped, richly colored pearls.  Buyers would pick through their collections looking for one they could resell.  The clammer got a few dollars rather than a few thousand that a choice pearl would bring.

The Mississippi River has some magnificent pearls on its string of cities— the Twin Cities, St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans.  Among its pocketful of smaller beauties is Prairie du Chien —the very best of the baroques.
When it comes to history, however, Prairie du Chien has the finest string of valuable pearls; many communities, even larger ones, envy its abundance.  Because the oldest place on the Upper Mississippi has so many great stories, the lesser stories are relegated to its historic pocket. The Baroques column rediscovers them while Send a Story of Prairie du Chien concentrates on the big stories.

She launched the stories in June 2009 with a birthday bash at the Winneshiek. She gave copies of # 5 Volume I The Winneshiek: a Special Summer Place to family and friends.  Shortly after, Wendy Benish Kotte, a former student, opened her gift shop, Windy Cove Treasures. and became the exclusive agent for Send a Story. In August 2009, Mary Ann introduced the stories to the public at the library with Volume I # 6 The Wachute Library on Wacouta Avenue. The  six titles went on sale at Windy Cove Treasures.

She was in luck again recently when two former students, Ryan Skaife and Harold Waterman from the class of 91 opened Studio 91. She collaborated with Harold, the partner who designs web sites, and  www.prairieduchienstories.com was born.

She donates each title to the Wachute Memorial Library in Prairie du Chien and one to the McGregor Public Library so the stories are easily available to local readers.  Happily, no book reports will be required. Mary Ann plans to leave her copyrighted stories and photographs to the city of Prairie du Chien.  She says the stories belong to the people of Prairie du Chien; she is just telling them and having fun.

About the Goose logo:

In some Native American traditions, the goose is the keeper of folktales, myths and legends. Goose connects us to the past and our forgotten history. They say the Great Spirit uses the storyteller to get a message delivered where it needs to be.  Goose helps all communicators especially storytellers. Finally, the goose is the symbol of cooperation and belonging.