The history behind Milwaukee’s first-ever nudist camp
The 1930s were a stressful time in Milwaukee. Was all that constrictive clothing to blame?
Milwaukeeans needed distraction during the Great Depression. Urbanism, it seemed, was failing them. The great brick and mortar works that had once powered the city were quieting and people were growing desperate and questioning things they had never before questioned.
So, in the spring of 1934, when Dr. Alois Knapp arrived in Milwaukee promising to build a state-wide movement back to nature – and out of clothing – people paid attention.
Knapp was an Austrian. He had trained as a priest, but found the law more intriguing. He and his brother left their homeland between the World Wars and settled on a huge plot of Indiana farmland. Finding Americans to be a people in desperate need of a relaxing and affordable means of escape from the speed of modern life, he transformed 180 acres of the land into a nature resort. At Knapp’s resort, dubbed “Zorro Nature Camp,” clothing was forbidden, bringing to the US the long-established European practice of nudism.
Knapp found a following in both Indiana and across the Midwest. In Milwaukee, a local man named Max Hilbig became such a devotee of Knapp that he pledged 100 acres of land in Sauk County to establish Wisconsin’s first-ever nudist camp. Knapp came to Milwaukee in April 1934 to dedicate the camp and drum up support for his cause. Continued…Read full original article…
Source: Milwaukee Magazine
Original publication NOVEMBER 23, 2018
Posted on NatCorn 3rd December 2018