A reporter from the Capital Times in Madison, Wisconsin called me to ask for some Fun Facts for a children's activity book they are publishing in conjunction with the state fair, http://www.wistatefair.com/home/2008_wi_state_fair/contests/ag.html. I found some:
Golden Laced Wyandotte chickens originated in Wisconsin in 1880, from the Silver Laced variety that came from New York State. The variety was recognized by the American Poultry Association for exhibition in 1888. Wyandotte is a familiar name in the Midwest, the name of a New York State Native American tribe now centered in Oklahoma. The National Poultry Museum is located in Wyandotte County, Kansas.
In 1910, L.A. Whitmore of Beaver Dam advertised his prizewinning Sunset Strain of Buff Wyandottes, like this one of Barry Koffler's, posted on http://www.feathersite.com/, to prospective buyers. “Winona Kid” was his first prize cockerel, winner in Minneapolis and Omaha. Barry doesn't name this impressive bird.
The Buff color came from Buff Cochin chickens that arrived from China in 1845, big fluffy chickens that created a sensation in a nation soon to be gripped by Hen Fever. Hen Fever was the frenzied interest and competition among wealthy country gentlemen and others sparked by the first American poultry show in Boston in 1849. At its height, prize chickens sold routinely for $150 a pair, with prices as high as $700 a pair reported before the bubble burst in 1855. The buff color was bred into nearly all other breeds by the end of the 19th century.