David Donald Engel was born at Riverview hospital, Wisconsin Rapids, in 1945, son of Donald, an employee of Frank Garber Co., later Consolidated Papers, Inc., and Arline, known as Sally.
Dave attended Two Mile elementary, Wisconsin Rapids, and graduated from Lincoln high school in 1963, moving on to Wisconsin State University-Stevens Point (now UWSP) with majors in American Civilization and English and a minor in History. He received an American Studies MA in 1968 from the University of Wyoming, Laramie.
After teaching English at Western Illinois University, Macomb, for two years, Dave returned to WSU-SP in 1970 as an Instructor of English, followed by a year at the University of Arizona, Tucson. Again at Point in 1972, he rented a farmhouse north of Rudolph village for several years. In 1976, he bought the property in the town of Rudolph just north of Rapids, where he continues to live with his wife, Kathy, a retired librarian.
In the 1980s, when the newspaper and the paper mill were both locally owned and at the height of their influence, Dave worked as a correspondent, columnist and photographer for the Daily Tribune. His River City Memoirs series resulted in numerous book-length collections. In 1983, mayor James Kubisiak named him Wisconsin Rapids City Historian.
Dave has been involved with SWCHC since 1980, serving as board president, and twice as Director. His interest is primarily in writing and publishing, currently as editor of the SWCHC publication, Artifacts. He is also head archivist at the SWCHC Museum.
Dave’s writing topics are not limited to this area. His most widely- read book is an authoritative text on Bob Dylan’s boyhood in Hibbing, Minn. He also has long-term interest in the boom and bust of mining in Upper Michigan, notably with Calumet: Copper Country Metropolis. His Shanagolden: An Industrial Romance, is a classic in northwoods Wisconsin history.
His recent “boots on the ground” history expeditions have included several Illinois sites and, most recently, a trip to Festina, Iowa, hometown of the Rudolph Grotto mastermind, Rev. Philip J. Wagner.
Besides ventures into history, Dave is known as creator of Mid-State Poetry Towers, publisher of Hepcat’s Revenge, founder of Wakely Inn Preservation, Minister of Information for Hebephrenia and author of a 48-year series of innovative Christmas greetings.
He invites young and old to call him “Uncle” because, according to at least one nephew, he is “avuncular.”
Uncle Dave’s Books
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Home Mission (1987)
Penultimate Memoirs (2015)
Email Dave with inquiries about his books: firstname.lastname@example.org
List of publications:
The Perils of Country Living (1975) Poetry
River City Memoirs (1983)
River City Memoirs II (1984)
River City Memoirs III (1985)
Age of Paper (1986) Consolidated Papers, Inc., Wisconsin Rapids
Home Mission (1987) Wisconsin Rapids Congregational Church
The Fat Memoirs (1988) River City Memoirs IV
Shanagolden: An Industrial Romance (1990) Ashland County history
River City Memoirs V (1991)
North Woods Journal of Charles C. Hamilton (1992)
Hepcat’s Revenge (1994-2004) Literary newsletter
Artifacts (1997-) Historical series: South Wood County Historical Corp. newsletter
Just Like Bob Zimmerman’s Blues: Dylan in Minnesota (1997)
The Home Front: River City Memoirs VI (1999)
Calumet: Copper Country Metropolis (2002)
Cranmoor: The Cranberry Eldorado (2004)
Jack the Hugger (2006) – about Calumet, Michigan
Ghost of Myself: River City Memoirs VII (2009)
Building for the Future: Mid-State Technical College, 1907-2010 (2010) – with Holly Knoll
Penultimate Memoirs (2015)
Dave also contributed to these three books by Michael Goc of New Past Press.
On the Rock: History of Madeline Island (1997)
The League of Wisconsin Municipalities: A Centennial History (1998)
In this Century: A History of Winnebago County in the 20th Century (1998)