MAZOMANIE, Wis. — America’s Dairyland seems an odd setting for a nude beach. Its short summers and swarms of mosquitoes are hardly in keeping with the palm-tree paradise that “free” bathing brings to mind. ...
And yet for decades, nudists have basked on Mazo Beach, a secluded sandbank on the lower Wisconsin River about 30 miles northwest of Madison. With estimates as high as 70,000 visitors a year, the spot, which is owned by the state, has become one of the largest nude beaches in the country that is not on a coastline, weathering angry protesters, conservative politicians and wary neighbors along the way.
It shouldn`t be surprising. Wisconsin is the most German state in America, and nudism was one of many Life Reform movements that popped up in Germany in the late 19th Century.
Sci-fi writer Robert A. Heinlein, for example, was a classic German-American dualist: an engineer and military officer who was also into nudism and a lot of other such stuff that briefly made him a hippie icon in the late 1960s. His 1951 novel The Puppet Masters can be read both as a classic alien invasion thriller and as a huge plot contrivance to force the U.S. Government order all the women in America to walk around without any clothes on (Operation Sun Tan).