1933
1933

Wisconsin State Capitol Collapses

The front page of the Madison Capital-Times announced with large headlines that the Wisconsin state capitol building lay in ruins following a series of mysterious explosions. The explosions were attributed to large quantities of gas, generated through many weeks of verbose debate in the Senate and Assembly chambers. Accompanying the article was a picture showing the capitol building collapsing. The picture probably wouldn't fool many people nowadays, but by all accounts it fooled quite a few people at the time. Many readers were outraged. One reader wrote in declaring the hoax was not only tactless and void of humor, but also a hideous jest. In fact, the capitol building exploding because of a buildup of hot air was a fairly old joke, even in 1933. But the Capital-Times's photo has come to be considered the classic representation of the joke.