Skip to main content

Urban Rivalries

City rivalries are everywhere. When two cities share a common border they often have hyphenated names like Champaign-Urbana in Illinois or Neenah-Menasha in Wisconsin. I guess it all starts in the beginning when they decide which name goes first; apparently alphabetically is not always the answer. Some times a compromise can be struck as in the ”Twin Cities” of Minnesota or the “Quad Cities” a little farther south. In Wisconsin however things aren’t always so easy because we badgers can be very stubborn at times. Both Neenah and Menasha are small towns and together they were the hometowns of the Wisconsin National Guard’s Company “ I ” of the First Infantry Regiment. In 1916 President Wilson ordered the National Guard to restore law and order on the U.S.- Mexican Border. When the troops returned in 1917 a wave of patriotic gratitude swept the nation and most towns presented medals to the men of their hometown units. “Neenah-Menasha” was the common public usage and Neenah was quite happy with that. Menasha on the other hand was so unhappy with their proposed second place billing that they went to the added expense of having a separate medal struck for their citizen soldiers which read “Menasha-Neenah.” Illustrated below are both medals, you are not seeing double and one of these is not a mirror reflection of the other.