The Buckhorn was featured in Madison Magazine. Click here to view our feature.
Koshkonong is a name of Indian origin, and there are many interpretations of the name. Historical records have it spelled “Kishkanon”, “Kushkawenong”, and “Coscoenage”. Its meaning varies from “what he kept for himself”, “the place where we shave”, “place of the gulls”, “place of gathering rice”, “a sheltered place behind a windbreak”, and the most logical explanation “the lake we live on”.
The Buckhorn is located on Charley’s Bluff. Charley’s Bluff was named after Alexander Charles Vieux, an early French settler and fur trader.
Indians have been in this area many years. Paleo Indians inhabited the Koshkonong area as long ago as 12,000 years ago. Mound builders might have lived on the shores of Lake Koshkonong as early as 2500 B.C. They were joined by the Winnebago, Potawotomi, Sauk, Fox, and Menominee. The first white settlement on Lake Koshkonong appears to have been some fur traders at a place now known as Thiebeau’s Point, in the late 1700′s. Thiebeau Point, named after the fur trader Joseph Thiebeau, is the point of land you see to your right as you look out our windows at the lake.
Historical records reveal that in the fall, “wild rice literally covered the entire surface of Lake Koshkonong. It looked like a vast meadow. From far and near, the Indians depended largely on the rice they gathered for their winter food; and the ducks (no one can tell or half describe the varieties) came in millions and millions to feedupon the great fields and feed on the unlimited quantity till they were fat and most delicious food. It was only a question of ammunition one would use. When a gun was fired there followed every time a sight to behold. The noise of the gun would stir them up and they would rise out of this field of rice in such qauntities that the roar was like distant thunder. The atmosphere overhead would be filled until the sun at times would be almost darkened”.
The Indianford Dam. which backs up the Rock River into Lake Koshkonong was raised to 6-7 feet in 1846. This rise in the level of the lake drowned much of the wild rice.