Chicago-pedia: Wisconsin & Indiana

An encyclopedia of the terms that define our city. In this edition, we cover some terms specific to our friends North and East.

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A Green Bay Packers fan wears a cheesehead with a flag.

AP Photos

Some call it “Chicago-ese,” or “Chicago-speak.” Whatever you call it, we’re capturing it here, in Chicago-pedia — highlighting our local terminology and linguistic quirks (sometimes with humor and obvious exaggeration).

CHEESEHEADS: Wisconsin residents, Green Bay Packers fans. Can be derisive but also a term of endearment if uttered while consuming cheese curds and/or eating at Culver’s.

LAKE GENEVA: Crowded Wisconsin vacation spot that residents of crowded North Side neighborhoods and North Shore suburbs flock to every weekend in the summer.

MILWAUKEE: Sleepy far north suburb of Chicago.

KOHLER: Fancy toilets, fancier spa and resort in southern Wisconsin.

NORTHWEST INDIANA: Area that South Siders drive through as quickly as they can while heading to Grand Beach and Saugatuck for the weekend.



Susan Smith/For the Sun-Times

BONG RECREATION AREA: Vast outdoor preserve in southeast Wisconsin named for late World War II fighter ace, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and Badger State native Richard Bong. Illinoisans driving Interstate 94 just over the border may not know the heroic backstory, but they’ve long chuckled over — and coveted — the highway signs advertising the 4,500-acre site. By the way, the recreation area offers camping, hiking and fishing, among other pursuits. But not marijuana smoking — in a bong or otherwise.

NORTHWEST INDIANA: Along with southwest Michigan, the region everybody is threatening to move to, wanting to get away from Illinois taxes and politicians.

PLEASANT PRAIRIE: A town of about 21,000 people in southeast Wisconsin, known for living off its proximity to Illinois. With abundant land and many state and local tax breaks, it has filled its business parks with companies from Illinois. If you’re driving through on I-94, there’s an outlet mall bidding for your business. Wisconsin’s greatest beneficiary from its rivalry with the Prairie State, outside of the Green Bay Packers.


Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets.

Susan Smith/For the Sun-Times

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