Madison, Wisconsin: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

City of Madison
—  City  —


Nickname(s): "Mad Town" or "Mad City"
Location of Madison in Dane County, Wisconsin
Coordinates: 43°4′N 89°24′W / 43.067°N 89.4°W / 43.067; -89.4
Municipality City
Incorporated 1848
 - Mayor Dave Cieslewicz
 - City 219.4 km2 (84.7 sq mi)
 - Land 174.3 km2 (67.3 sq mi)
 - Water 41.4 km2 (16.0 sq mi)
Population (2008 est.)
 - City 231,916
 Density 1,169.8/km2 (3,029.8/sq mi)
 Urban 329,5331
 Metro 543,022
 - Demonym Madisonian
Time zone Central (UTC−6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−5)
Area code(s) 608
1 Urban = 2000 Census

Madison is the capital of the U.S. state of Wisconsin and the county seat of Dane County. It is also home to the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

As of the 2000 census, Madison had a population of 208,054.[1] Its 2008 estimated population was 231,916[2], making it the second largest city in Wisconsin, after Milwaukee, and the 81st largest in the United States. The city forms the core of the United States Census Bureau's Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Dane County and neighboring Iowa and Columbia counties. The Madison MSA had a 2008 estimated population of 561,505, and is one of the fastest-growing in Wisconsin.



View of Madison. From the Water Cure, South Side of Lake Monona, 1855.

Madison was created in 1836 when former federal judge James Duane Doty purchased over a thousand acres (4 km²) of swamp and forest land on the isthmus between Lakes Mendota and Monona within the Four Lakes region, with the intention of building a city on the site. The Wisconsin Territory had been created earlier that year and the territorial legislature had convened in Belmont, Wisconsin. One of the legislature's tasks was to choose a permanent location for the territory's capital. Doty lobbied aggressively for the legislature to select Madison as the new capital, offering buffalo robes to the freezing legislators and promising choice Madison lots at discount prices to undecided voters . He had James Slaughter plat two cities in the area, Madison and "The City of Four Lakes," near present-day Middleton. Doty named the city Madison for James Madison, the 4th President of the U.S. who had died on June 28, 1836 and he named the streets for the other signers of the U.S. Constitution.[3] Despite the fact that Madison was still only a city on paper, the territorial legislature voted on November 28 in favor of Madison as its capital, largely because of its location halfway between the new and growing cities around Milwaukee in the east and the long established strategic post of Prairie du Chien in the west, and because of its location between the highly populated lead mining regions in the southwest and Wisconsin's oldest city, Green Bay in the northeast. Being named for the much-admired founding father James Madison, who had just died, and having streets named for each of the 39 signers of the Constitution, may have also helped attract votes.[4]

The cornerstone for the Wisconsin capitol was laid in 1837, and the legislature first met there in 1838. Madison was incorporated as a village in 1846, with a population of 626. When Wisconsin became a state in 1848, Madison remained the capital, and the following year it became host to the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad (a predecessor of what would become known as the Milwaukee Road) connected to Madison in 1854. Madison became a city in 1856, with a population of 6,863, leaving the unincorporated remainder as a separate Town of Madison.[5] The original capitol was replaced in 1863. The second capitol burned in 1904, and the current capitol was built between 1906 and 1917.[6]

During the American Civil War, Madison served as a center of the Union Army in Wisconsin. The intersection of Milwaukee, East Washington, Winnebago, and North Streets is known as Union Corners, as a tavern located there was the last stop for Union soldiers before heading to fight the Confederates. Camp Randall, on the west side of Madison, was built and used as a training camp, a military hospital, and a prison camp for captured Confederate soldiers. After the war ended, the Camp Randall site was absorbed into the University of Wisconsin—Camp Randall Stadium was built over the site in 1917. In 2004 the last vestige of active military training on the site was removed when the stadium renovation replaced a firing range used for ROTC training.

The City of Madison continued annexations from the town almost from the date of the city's incorporation, leaving the latter (by the end of the 20th century) a collection of discontinuous areas subject to annexation. In the wake of continued controversy and an effort in the state legislature to simply abolish the town, an agreement was reached in 2003 to provide for the incorporation of the remaining portions of the Town into the City of Madison and the City of Fitchburg by October 30, 2022.[7]

Geography and climate

View of Lake Monona from Monona Terrace

Madison is located in the center of Dane County in south-central Wisconsin, 77 miles (124 km) west of Milwaukee and 122 miles (196 km) northwest of Chicago. The city completely surrounds the smaller Town of Madison and the City of Monona, as well as the villages of Maple Bluff and Shorewood Hills. Madison shares borders with its largest suburb, Sun Prairie, and three other communities, Middleton, McFarland, and Fitchburg. The city's boundaries also approach the villages of Verona, Cottage Grove, DeForest, and Waunakee.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Madison has a total area of 84.7 square miles (219.3 km²), of which, 68.7 square miles (177.9 km²) of it is land and 16.0 square miles (41.5 km²) of it (18.91%) is water.

The city is sometimes described as The City of Four Lakes, comprising the four successive lakes of the Yahara River: Lake Mendota ("Fourth Lake"), Lake Monona ("Third Lake"), Lake Waubesa ("Second Lake") and Lake Kegonsa ("First Lake")[8], although Waubesa and Kegonsa are not actually in Madison, but rather just south of it. A fifth smaller lake, Lake Wingra, is within the city as well, but not on the Yahara River chain. The Yahara flows into the Rock River, which in turn, flows into the Mississippi River. Downtown Madison is located on an isthmus between Lakes Mendota and Monona. The city's trademark of "Lake, City, Lake" reflects this geography.

Madison, and all of southern Wisconsin, has a temperate climate, or more specifically, a humid continental climate (Köppen: Dfb), characterized by variable weather patterns and a large seasonal temperature variance—winters see temperatures well below freezing, with moderate to occasionally very heavy snowfall; high temperatures in summer often reach the upper 80s to 90s °F (26 to 32 °C) and very high humidity levels are not uncommon.

Climate data for Madison, Wisconsin
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 25.2
Average low °F (°C) 9.3
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.25
Snowfall inches (mm) 11.9
Avg. snowy days 10.0 7.6 6.3 2.4 0.1 0 0 0 0 0.5 4.8 9.0 40.7
Avg. precipitation days 11.1 8.7 10.6 11.8 11.5 10.7 10.5 9.9 9.6 9.3 10.9 10.3 124.9
Source: NCDC [9] February 2010


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1840 172
1850 1,525 786.6%
1860 6,611 333.5%
1870 9,176 38.8%
1880 10,324 12.5%
1890 13,426 30.0%
1900 19,164 42.7%
1910 25,531 33.2%
1920 38,378 50.3%
1930 57,899 50.9%
1940 67,447 16.5%
1950 96,056 42.4%
1960 126,706 31.9%
1970 171,809 35.6%
1980 170,616 −0.7%
1990 191,262 12.1%
2000 208,903 9.2%
Est. 2007 228,775 [10] 9.5%
Source: U.S. Census[11]
Madison and Wisconsin demographics
Wisconsin Madison Race
91% 83.96% White
6.48% 5.84% Black
2.21% 5.80% Asian
1.3% 0.36% Native American
0.09% 0.04% Pacific Islander
N/A 4.09% Hispanic
N/A 2.32% Two or more races
N/A 1.67% Other race
Note: Hispanics may be of any race.

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 208,054 people, 89,019 households, and 42,462 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,029.7 people per square mile (1,169.8/km²). There were 92,394 housing units at an average density of 1,345.4/sq mi (519.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 83.96% White, 5.84% African American, 0.36% Native American, 5.80% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.67% from other races, and 2.32% from two or more races. 4.09% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 89,019 households out of which 22.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.0% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 52.3% were non-families. 35.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the city the population was spread out with 17.9% under the age of 18, 21.4% from 18 to 24, 32.2% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 9.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 96.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $41,941, and the median income for a family was $59,840. Males had a median income of $36,718 versus $30,551 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,498. About 5.8% of families and 15.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.4% of those under age 18 and 4.5% of those age 65 or over.

Combined Statistical Area

Location of the Madison-Baraboo CSA and its components:      Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area      Baraboo Micropolitan Statistical Area

Madison is the larger principal city of the Madison-Baraboo CSA, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Madison metropolitan area (Columbia, Dane, and Iowa counties) and the Baraboo micropolitan area (Sauk County),[12][13][14] which had a combined population of 556,999 at the 2000 census.[1]


Madison is governed by a mayor-council system. The city council, known as the Common Council, consists of 20 members, one from each ward. The mayor is elected in a citywide vote.


Madison is associated with "Fighting Bob" La Follette and the Progressive movement. La Follette's Magazine, The Progressive, founded in 1909, is still published in Madison. City voting patterns have supported the Democratic Party in national elections in the last half-century, and a liberal and progressive majority is generally elected to the city council. Detractors refer to Madison as The People's Republic of Madison, the "Left Coast of Wisconsin," or as "78 square miles surrounded by reality," although Wisconsin itself generally trends liberal in elections.[15] This latter phrase was coined by former Wisconsin Republican governor Lee S. Dreyfus while campaigning in 1978, as recounted by campaign aide Bill Kraus.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the Madison counterculture was centered in the neighborhood of Mifflin and Bassett streets, referred to as Miffland. The area contained many three-story apartments where students and counterculture youth lived, painted murals, and operated the co-operative grocery store, the Mifflin Street Co-op. The neighborhood often came into conflict with authorities, particularly during the administration of Republican mayor Bill Dyke, a one-time personality on WISC-TV who was later to run for U.S. vice president with segregationist Lester Maddox. Dyke was viewed by students as a direct antagonist in efforts to protest the Vietnam War, because of his efforts to suppress local protests that had resulted in property damage. The annual Mifflin Street Block Party became a focal point for protest, although by the late 1970s it had become a mainstream community party.

Madison is also home to the Freedom from Religion Foundation, which attempts to influence government in matters relating to the separation of church and state. The foundation is known for its lawsuits against religious displays on public property, among other things. In recent years, they have made removal of In God We Trust from American currency a main focus.

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, thousands of students and other citizens took part in anti-Vietnam War marches and demonstrations, with more violent incidents drawing national attention to the city and UW campus. These include:

  • the 1967 student protest of Dow Chemical Company, with 74 injured;
  • the 1969 strike to secure greater representation and rights for African American students and faculty, which necessitated the involvement of the Wisconsin Army National Guard;
  • the 1970 fire that caused damage to the Army ROTC headquarters housed in the Old Red Gym, also known as the Armory; and
  • the 1970 late summer predawn ANFO bombing of Sterling Hall which housed the Army Mathematics Research Center, killing a postdoctoral student, Robert Fassnacht. Four bombers in the "New Year's Gang" were linked to the bombing, one of whom remains at large. (see Sterling Hall bombing)

These protests were the subject of the documentary The War at Home[16] Tom Bates also wrote the book Rads on the subject (ISBN 0-06-092428-4). Bates wrote that Dyke's attempt to suppress the annual Mifflin Street block party "would take three days, require hundreds of officers on overtime pay, and engulf the student community from the nearby Southeast Dorms to Langdon Street's fraternity row. Tear gas hung like heavy fog across the Isthmus." In the fracas, student activist Paul Soglin, then a city alderman, was arrested and taken to jail. Soglin was later elected mayor of Madison, serving from 1973 to 1979 and from 1989 to 1997, in his latter term aligning himself as a moderate in the regional Democratic Party. David Maraniss also wrote a book, They Marched into Sunlight, which incorporated the 1967 Dow protests into a larger Vietnam War narrative.

Madison city politics remain dominated by activists of liberal and progressive ideologies. In 1992, a local third party Progressive Dane was founded. Recently enacted city policies supported in the Progressive Dane platform have included an inclusionary zoning ordinance and a city minimum wage. The party holds multiple seats on the Madison City Council and Dane County Board of Supervisors, and is aligned variously with the Democratic and Green parties.

The city's voters are also, as a whole, much more politically liberal than voters in the rest of Wisconsin. For example, 76% of Madison voters voted against a 2006 state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage[17], even though the ban passed statewide with 59% of the vote.[18]

Mayor Dave Cieslewicz is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition[19], a bi-partisan group with a stated goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal guns off the streets."


Madison is the episcopal see for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Madison.[20] Saint Raphael's Cathedral, damaged by arson in 2005 and demolished in 2008, was the mother church of the diocese.

The world's largest congregation of Unitarian Universalists, First Unitarian Society of Madison, makes its home in the historic Unitarian Meeting House, designed by one of its members, Frank Lloyd Wright.

Madison also has a Buddhist temple, a Hindu temple, three mosques, and several synagogues.


Wisconsin state government and the University of Wisconsin–Madison remain the top two Madison employers. However, Madison's economy today is evolving from a government-based economy to a consumer services and high-tech base, particularly in the health, biotech and advertising sectors. Beginning in the early 1990s, the city experienced a steady economic boom and has been comparatively unaffected by recession. Much of the expansion has occurred on the city's south and west sides, but it has also affected the east side near the Interstate 39-90-94 interchange and along the northern shore of Lake Mendota. Underpinning the boom is the development of high-tech companies, many actively fostered by the UW–Madison working with local businesses and entrepreneurs to transfer the results of academic research into real-world applications, most notably bio-tech applications.

Many businesses are attracted to Madison's skill base, taking advantage of the area's high level of education. According to, 48.2% of Madison's population over the age of 25 holds at least a bachelor's degree. Forbes magazine reported in 2004 that Madison has the highest percentage of individuals holding Ph.D.s in the United States. In 2005, Forbes listed the city as having the lowest unemployment in the nation: 2.5%, less than half the U.S. 2004 average.[21] In 2006, the same magazine listed Madison as number 31 in the top 200 metro areas for "Best Places for Business and Careers."[22] However, Forbes has named Madison in the top ten several times within the past decade.


The largest employer in Madison is the Wisconsin state government, not including the University of Wisconsin–Madison (although UW, University System and UW Hospital & Clinics employees are considered state employees[23]).

The University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics is an important regional teaching hospital and regional trauma center, with strengths in transplant medicine, oncology, digestive disorders, and endocrinology.[24] Other Madison hospitals include St. Mary's Hospital,[25] Meriter Hospital and the VA Medical Center.

Madison is also home to companies such as the North American division of Spectrum Brands (formerly Rayovac), Alliant Energy, American Family Insurance, the Credit Union National Association, CUNA Mutual Group, University of Wisconsin Credit Union, and FSBO Madison. Technology companies in the area include Netconcepts, Telephone and Data Systems, TomoTherapy, Broadjam, Sonic Foundry, Raven Software, Human Head Studios, Renaissance Learning, Epic Systems Corporation, Berbee Information Networks, and Wisconsin Realtors Association. Many biotech firms exist here as well, including PanVera, now part of Invitrogen, Promega, and the Iceland-based Nimblegen.

Oscar Mayer has been a Madison fixture for decades, and was a family business for many years before being sold to Kraft Foods. The pizza chains Rocky Rococo, Pizza Pit, and the Glass Nickel Pizza Company originated in Madison.


In the mid 2000s Madison partnered with Merrimac Communications to develop and build a wireless internet infrastructure.[26] In early 2010 a grass-root effort began to bring Google's new high-speed fiber Internet to Madison. In a public forum in March, 2010 Mayor Dave Cieslewicz criticized Topeka, Kansas, which had changed its name to Google, Kansas, saying that its move was a cheap stunt.[27]


According to Forbes magazine, Madison ranks second in the nation in overall education.[28][29] It is home to the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Edgewood College, Madison Area Technical College (aka Madison College), and Madison Media Institute, giving the city a student population of nearly 50,000. The University of Wisconsin contributes the vast majority of these, with roughly 41,000 students enrolled, of whom 30,750 are undergraduates.[30] This makes it one of the largest public universities in the United States. It is consistently rated among the top public post-secondary schools in the country. In a Forbes magazine city ranking from 2003, Madison had the highest number of Ph.D.s per capita, and third highest college graduates per capita, among ranked cities in the United States.[31]

Additional degree programs are available through satellite campuses of Cardinal Stritch University, Concordia University-Wisconsin, Globe University, Lakeland College, the University of Phoenix, and Upper Iowa University. Madison also has a non-credit learning community with multiple programs and many private businesses also offering classes. Examples include Wisconsin Union mini-courses, Madison School Community Recreation, St. Mary's HealthWorks, and the University of Wisconsin-Extension's Continuing Education program.[citation needed]

The Madison Metropolitan School District serves the city and surrounding area. With an enrollment of approximately 25,000 students in 46 schools, it is the second largest school district in Wisconsin behind the Milwaukee School District.[32] Madison has more than six times the National Merit Scholar Semifinalists of comparable school districts.[citation needed] The five public high schools are: James Madison Memorial, Madison West, Madison East, Madison LaFollette, and Malcolm Shabazz City High School, an alternative school. Among private schools are Edgewood High School, located on the Edgewood College campus, and EAGLE School and Wingra School which encompass students in grades Kindergarten through 8th.[33] St. Ambrose Academy is a Catholic school offering grades 6-12 on the west side.[34]


Madison is served by the Dane County Regional Airport, which serves more than 100 commercial flights on an average day, and nearly 1.6 million passengers annually. Madison Metro operates bus routes throughout the city and to some surrounding towns.[35] Madison has three taxicab companies, as well as several companies that provide specialized transit for individuals with disabilities. Most major General Aviation operations take place at Morey Field in Middleton 15 miles away from the city center.


A high-speed rail route from Chicago through Milwaukee and Madison to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, has also been proposed as part of the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative. Funding for the railway connecting Madison to Milwaukee was approved in January, though there is opposition. [36] The nearest passenger train station is in Columbus, Wisconsin, from which the eastbound Empire Builder provides daily service to Milwaukee and Chicago, while the westbound Empire Builder provides daily service to the west. A commuter light rail system has been proposed, particularly for a corridor passing through the isthmus and alongside the university campus, but has remained on paper for decades.[37]

WSOR number 4025 painted for the railroad's 25th anniversary, seen in Madison July 23, 2005.

Railroad freight services are provided in Madison by Wisconsin and Southern Railroad (WSOR) and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP). Wisconsin & Southern has been operating since 1980, having taken over trackage owned since the 19th century by the Chicago and North Western and the Milwaukee Road. Some of the proposed light rail and commuter routes would use existing WSOR rights-of-way, such as the line between the Kohl Center and Middleton. Limited commuter trains were tested along this line in the early 2000s as "football specials". The trains took passengers from the Middleton depot to Camp Randall Stadium to help alleviate parking issues on game days.


Regional buses connect Madison to Milwaukee, Janesville, Beloit, La Crosse, and in Illinois, Rockford, O'Hare Airport, and Chicago. Service is also available to St. Paul, Minnesota.

The Badger Bus connects Madison to Milwaukee running multiple buses a day. Greyhound Lines, a nationwide bus company, has a local stop and offers routes through most of the country. Van Galder Bus Company, a subsidiary of Coach USA, provides transportation through Rockford to Chicago - Downtown at the Amtrak station, O'Hare Airport and Midway Airport. Jefferson Lines provides transportation to the Twin Cities. First Student offers charter bus rental services to groups in the Madison and Milwaukee area.


I-39, I-90, and I-94 expressways intersect at Madison, connecting the city to Milwaukee; Chicago; Rockford, Illinois; Minneapolis-St. Paul and Wausau. U.S. Routes US-12, US-14, US-18, US-51 and US-151 connect the city with Dubuque, Iowa, the Wisconsin cities of La Crosse and Janesville, and Lake Michigan. The Beltline is a six-to-eight lane freeway on the south and west sides of Madison and is the main link from downtown to the southeast and western suburbs. Several carsharing services are available in Madison, with the first being Community Car a locally-owned company, followed by U-Haul subsidiary U Car Share.


Madison is home to an extensive and varied number of print publications for a small city, reflecting the city's role as the state capital and diverse political, cultural and academic population. The Wisconsin State Journal (weekday circulation: ~95,000; Sundays: ~155,000) is published in the mornings, while its sister publication, The Capital Times (Thursday supplement to the Journal) is published online daily. Though conjoined in a joint-operating agreement operated under the name Capital Newspapers, the Journal is owned by the national chain Lee Enterprises, while the Times is independently owned. Wisconsin State Journal is the descendant of the Wisconsin Express, a paper founded in the Wisconsin Territory in 1839. The Capital Times was founded in 1917 by William T. Evjue, a business manager for the State Journal who disagreed with that paper's editorial criticisms of Wisconsin Republican Senator Robert M. La Follette, Sr. for his opposition to U.S. entry into World War I. Through Capital Newspapers, Lee also owns many other papers in southwest Wisconsin and northeast Iowa.

The city is home to the free weekly alternative newspaper Isthmus (weekly circulation: ~65,000), which was founded in 1976. The Onion, a satirical weekly, was founded in Madison in 1988. Two student newspapers are published during the academic year, The Daily Cardinal (Mon-Fri circulation: ~10,000) and The Badger Herald (Mon-Fri circulation: ~16,000). The Herald began during the tumultuous Vietnam War era as a conservative alternative to the liberal Cardinal. Madison is home to numerous other specialty print publications focusing on local music, politics, and sports, including The Madison Times, Wisconsin Sports Weekly The Mendota Beacon, The Madison Observer, Madison Magazine and The Simpson Street Free Press. There is a strong community of local blogs including Althouse, Dane101, and The Critical Badger.

Madison is home to The Progressive, a left-wing periodical that may be best known for the attempt of the US government in 1979 to suppress one of the Progressive's articles before publication. However, the magazine eventually prevailed in the landmark First Amendment case, United States v. The Progressive, Inc. During the 1970s, there were two radical weeklies published in Madison, known as TakeOver and Free for All.

Madison hosts two volunteer-operated and community-oriented radio stations, WORT and WSUM.

WORT Community Radio (89.9 FM), founded by progressive Madisonians in 1975, is one of the oldest volunteer-powered radio stations in the United States. A listener-sponsored community radio station broadcasting from 118 S. Bedford Street, WORT offers diverse music and talk programming that is locally produced and hosted by local DJs. WSUM 91.7 FM is a student radio station whose programming and operation are carried out almost entirely by students.

Madison's Wisconsin Public Radio station, WHA, was one of the first radio stations in the nation to begin broadcasting, and remains the longest continuously broadcasting station in the nation.

Widely heard public radio programs that originate in Madison include Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know?' To the Best of Our Knowledge, and Calling All Pets.

Air America's Madison affiliate, The Mic 92.1 FM (WXXM), features the Air America lineup and local programs, such as Matthew Rothchild's Progressive Radio and Free Thought Radio from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

WXJ-87 is Madison's weather station.

Madison is the setting for the comic strip Bear With Me.

See also:


In 1996 Money magazine identified Madison as the best place to live in the United States.[38] It has consistently ranked near the top of the best-places list in subsequent years, with the city's low unemployment rate a major contributor.

The main downtown thoroughfare is State Street, which links the University of Wisconsin campus with the State Capitol Square, and is lined with restaurants, espresso cafes, and shops. Only pedestrians, buses, emergency vehicles, delivery vehicles and bikes are allowed on State Street.

On the other side of Capitol Square is King Street, which is developing along the lines of State Street, but with less of a student character and more appeal to the growing young white-collar high-tech population in Madison. King Street has more upper-end restaurants and cafes than are found on the more student-budget State Street.

The skyline of Madison, with Wisconsin ANG F-16 jet fighters in the foreground

On Saturday mornings in the summer, the Dane County Farmers' Market is held around the Capitol Square,[39] while on Wednesday evenings, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra performs free concerts on the Capitol's lawn.[40]

The Great Taste of the Midwest craft beer festival, established in 1987 and the second longest running such event in North America, is the second Saturday in August and the highly coveted tickets sell out within an hour of going on sale in May.[41]

Madison is host to Rhythm and Booms, a massive fireworks celebration (coordinated to music) that begins with a fly-over by several F-16s from the local Wisconsin Air National Guard. This celebration is the largest fireworks display in the Midwest in terms of the length of the show, number of shells fired and the size of its annual budget.[42]

Sailboats approaching the south shore of Lake Mendota and downtown Madison - north side of isthmus

During the winter months, sports enthusiasts enjoy ice-boating, ice-skating, ice fishing, cross country skiing, playing ice hockey and snowkiting.[43] During the rest of the year, recreation includes sailing on the local lakes, bicycling, and hiking.

In 2004 Madison was named the healthiest city in America by Men's Journal magazine. Many major streets in Madison have designated bike lanes and the city has one of the most extensive bike trail systems in the nation. Madison has a very active cyclist culture and it is commonplace to see groups of bicyclists in the city on nice days. Bicycle tourism is an $800 million industry in Wisconsin, which has 20 percent of the nation's bicycling industry manufacturing capacity.[44]

There are a number of cooperative organizations in the Madison area, ranging from grocery stores (such as the Willy Street Cooperative) to housing co-ops (such as Madison Community Cooperative and Nottingham Housing Cooperative) to engineering firms and cab companies. In addition, there are a number of credit unions.

In 2005, Madison was included in Gregory A. Kompes' book, 50 Fabulous Gay-Friendly Places to Live.[45] The Madison Metro area is also credited as the most liberal in the state, and has a higher percentage of gay couples than any other city in the area outside of Chicago and Minneapolis.[46] The city was also named the number one college sports town by Sports Illustrated in 2003.[47]

Among the city's various neighborhood fairs and celebrations are two large student-driven gatherings, the Mifflin Street Block Party and the State Street Halloween Party. Rioting and vandalism at the State Street gathering in 2004 and 2005 led the city to institute a cover charge for the 2006 celebration. [3] In an attempt to give the event more structure (and to eliminate opportunity for vandalism), the city and student organizations worked together to schedule performances by bands, and to organize activities. The event has been named "Freakfest On State Street." [48] Events such as these have helped contribute to the city's nickname of "Madtown."

In 2009, the Madison Common Council voted to name the plastic pink flamingo as the official city bird.[49]


Madison's vibrant music scene covers a wide spectrum of living musical culture.

Several venues offer live music every night of the week, spreading from the historic Barrymore Theatre on the eastside to the Annex on the west side. Several small coffee houses and wine bars offer live music every night in all formats. Closer to downtown, the High Noon Saloon is developing a national reputation for developing and breaking indie rock and local acts. The biggest headliners generally perform at the Orpheum Theatre, the Overture Center or at the UW Theatre on campus. Other popular rock and pop venues include the Majestic Theater, the Frequency, and as of late, the Great Dane Pub.

The Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps has provided youth aged 16–22 opportunities to perform across North America every summer since 1938. The corps is hailed worldwide for its energetic and entertaining shows. Further, the UW–Madison Marching Band is one of the most popular marching bands in the nation, with an extensive and eclectic repertoire.[50]

Popular bands and musicians

Garbage is the city's most recognized contemporary contribution to popular music. The multi-million album selling alternative-rock band has been based out of Madison since formation in 1994 by producer-musician Butch Vig of Viroqua. Vig is well-known for producing albums for such highly regarded bands as Bongzilla, The Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana and Fall Out Boy.

Madison has a lively independent rock scene, and local independent record labels include Crustacean Records, and Art Paul Schlosser Inc which is the label for Art Paul Schlosser who has been on the WGN-TV news in Chicago and has had his songs played on the Dr Demento radio show. Another Dr. Demento[51] and weekly live karaoke[52] favorite is The Gomers[53], who have a Madison Mayoral Proclamation named after them [54] and have performed with fellow Wisconsin residents Les Paul and Steve Miller[55]

Madison is also home to Mama Digdown's Brass Band, Clyde Stubblefield of Funky Drummer fame, and musicians Roscoe Mitchell, Richard Davis, Ben Sidran, Reptile Palace Orchestra, Killdozer, and Harmonious Wail.

Music festivals

In the summer months Madison hosts many music festivals, most notably the Waterfront Festival, the Willy St. Fair, Atwood Summerfest, Isthmus Jazz Festival, The Orton Park Festival, Forward Music Festival, 94.1 WJJO's Band Camp, Greekfest, Madison Pop Festival, the WORT Block Party and the Sugar Maple Traditional Music Festival, with more being added all the time. One of the latest additions is the Fête de Marquette, taking place near or on Bastille Day (7/14), at Central Park. This new festival celebrates French music, with a focus on Cajun influences. Madison also hosts an annual electronic music festival, Reverence and Folkball, a world music and Folk dance festival held annually in January.


Museums include the UW–Madison's Chazen Museum of Art (formerly the Elvehjem Museum), the Wisconsin Historical Museum (run by the Wisconsin Historical Society),[56] the Wisconsin Veterans Museum,[57] the Madison Children's Museum,[58] and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Madison is also the home of many independent art studios and galleries. It hosts the annual Art Fair on the Square, a juried exhibition, and the complementary Art Fair Off the Square.

Performing arts

The Madison Opera, the Madison Symphony Orchestra, the Madison Repertory Theatre, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, the Madison Ballet, and the Children's Theater of Madison are some the professional resident companies of the Overture Center for the Arts. The city is also home to a number of smaller performing arts organizations, including a group of theater companies that present in the Bartell Theatre, a former movie palace that was renovated into live theater spaces, and Opera for the Young, an opera company that performs for elementary school students across the Midwest. The Wisconsin Union Theater (a 1300 seat theater) is home to many seasonal attractions and is the main stage for Four Seasons Theatre, a professional theater company specializing in musical theater. Madison is also home to the Young Shakespeare Players, a theater group for young people that performs uncut Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw plays.

Community-based theater groups abound in many neighborhoods of Madison including the Broom Street Theater which is not on Broom Street as one might expect. Past productions have included comic-style riffs on regional and local news stories such as Audrey Seiler, a University of Wisconsin–Madison student who faked her own kidnapping, causing a county-wide search that gained national attention for several weeks.

Madison offers one comedy club, the Comedy Club on State, and has other options for more alternative humor. Featuring several improv groups, such as The Prom Committee, Spin Cycle Improv, Atlas Improv, The Monkey Business Institute, the now defunct ARC Improv and Comedy Sportz, as well as sketch comedy groups The Public Drunkards and The Rabid Badger Theatre Company, the city's comedy scene is in revival. A spearheading organization called the WiSUC Project has led the way in recent years for this revival and annually hosts the "Funniest Comic in Madison" contest at the High Noon Saloon.

Several films have been at least partially made in Madison. One of the most noted was the documentary The War at Home, which chronicled the anti-Vietnam War movement in Madison. Another film that made extensive use of the city as a backdrop was the 1986 comedy Back to School, starring Rodney Dangerfield. The University's Bascom Hill was used extensively, as was the University Bookstore. The film also showed many campus dormitories, and various outdoor locales, including the Union terrace and Library Mall. More recently, the 2006 film The Last Kiss used Madison and the university as a back-drop. One early scene in the film was also shot on the Union terrace. In 2008, scenes were shot at the state capitol and surrounding area for use in the 2009 film Public Enemies featuring Christian Bale and Johnny Depp.

Madison is also home to one of the largest film archives in the nation at the Wisconsin Historical Society.


Wisconsin State Capitol

The Wisconsin State Capitol dome, closely based on the dome of the U.S. Capitol, is the jewel of the Madison skyline, and is visible throughout the Madison area due to its position on the ridgeline of the isthmus (and a state law that limits building heights within one mile (1.6 km) of the structure).[59] Because of its location in the urban core, Capitol Square is well integrated with everyday pedestrian traffic and commerce, and the spoke streets—especially State Street and E. Washington—offer dramatic views of the Capitol.

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright spent much of his childhood in Madison and studied briefly at the University, and is responsible for several Madison buildings. Monona Terrace, a meeting and convention center overlooking Lake Monona, designed by Taliesin Architect Anthony Puttnam, was based loosely on a 1938 Wright design. Wright did design the seminal Usonian House, which is located here. (Another key Wright building, the Unitarian Meeting House, is in the adjacent suburb of Shorewood Hills.)The Harold C. Bradley House, designed collaboratively by Louis H. Sullivan and George Grant Elmslie in 1908-1910 now serves as the Sigma Phi Fraternity in the University Heights neighborhood, along with many well-maintained early 20th-century residences.

Harold C. Bradley House

The Overture Center for the Arts, designed by Argentina-born architect César Pelli, also stands on State Street near the Capitol. Since opening in 2004, the center has already presented shows and concerts in its Overture Hall, Capitol Theater and The Playhouse (home of the Madison Repertory Theatre). The center, also including smaller performance spaces, also houses the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The style, unlike Pelli's Petronas Towers, leans toward sleek modernism, with simple expanses of glass framed by stone that are intended to complement the historic building facades preserved as part of the building's State Street exposure.

Many of the over 175 Madison buildings designed by the architectural firm of Claude and Starck are still standing, including Breese Stevens Field, Doty School (now converted to condominiums), and many private residences.[60]

The UW–Madison campus includes many buildings designed or supervised by architects J.T.W. Jennings (the Dairy Barn, Agricultural Hall) and Arthur Peabody (the Memorial Union and the Carillon Tower). The UW administration building Bascom Hall sits atop a high hill overlooking Lake Mendota, and has been the site of many demonstrations and events. The density of the campus has grown to include 8 to 10 story high-rises including dormitories, research facilities, and classrooms. Several campus buildings erected in the 1960s exhibit brutalist architecture, which is now unpopular. In 2005 the University of Wisconsin embarked on a major redevelopment initiative that will transform the east end of its campus. The plan calls for the razing of a nearly a dozen 1950s to 1970s vintage buildings and the construction of new dormitories, administration, and classroom buildings, as well as the development of a new pedestrian mall extending to Lake Mendota.

The downtown and near east side is currently experiencing a building boom, with dozens of new condominium and apartment buildings being constructed.


Over the years, Madison has acquired a number of nicknames and slogans, including:

In popular culture

Films shot in Madison


Madison is known as a safe city.[citation needed] In 1996, Madison was rated #3 in "Safest of Nation's 100 Largest Cities" by Morgan Quinto Press and #9 in "America's Safest Cities" by Money.[71] In 2008, Men's Health magazine ranked Madison as the "Least Armed and Dangerous" city in an article about "Where Men Are Targets" throughout the US.[citation needed] Between 2004 and 2007, 17 murders were reported.[72][73][74]


Inside the Kohl Center during a men's ice hockey game

Madison's reputation as a sports city exists largely because of the presence of the University of Wisconsin. In 2004 Sports Illustrated on Campus named Madison the #1 college sports town in the nation.[75] This sentiment was echoed by Scott Van Pelt in July 2007 on Dan Patrick's ESPN radio show when he proclaimed Madison the best college sports town in America.[76]

The UW–Madison teams play their home-field sporting events in venues in and around Madison. The football team plays at Camp Randall Stadium. In 2005 a renovation was completed that added 72 luxury suites and increased the stadium's total capacity to 80,321, although crowds of as many as 83,000 have attended games. The basketball and hockey teams play at the Kohl Center. Construction on the $76 million arena was completed in 1997. In 2006, both the men's and women's Badger hockey teams won NCAA Division I championships, and the women repeated with a second consecutive national championship in 2007.[77] Some events are played at the county-owned Alliant Energy Center (formerly Dane County Memorial Coliseum) and the University-owned Wisconsin Field House.

Despite Madison's strong support for college sports, it has proven to be an inhospitable home for professional baseball. The Madison Muskies, a Class A, Midwest League affiliate of the Oakland A's, left town in 1993 after 11 seasons. The Madison Hatters, another Class A, Midwest League team, played in Madison for only the 1994 season. The Madison Black Wolf, an independent Northern League franchise lasted five seasons, (1996–2000,) before decamping for Lincoln, Nebraska. Madison is currently home to the Madison Mallards, a college wood-bat summer baseball league team in the Northwoods League (not to be confused with the Minor League Baseball). They play in Warner Park on the city's North side from June to August.

The now defunct Indoor Football League's Madison Mad Dogs were once located in the city. In 2009 indoor football returned to Madison in the form of the Continental Indoor Football League's Wisconsin Wolfpack, who call the Alliant Energy Center home.

Madison is now home to a new football team called the Madison Mustangs, a semi-pro football team that is part of the Ironman Football League that originated in Milwaukee in the late 1990s. Games are typically played on Saturday during the summer months, with the home field being Middleton High School.

The Wisconsin Wolves is a women's semi-pro football team based in Madison that plays in the IWFL Independent Women's Football League. The Wolves home field is located at Middleton High School.

The Madison 56ers is a Madison amateur soccer team in the National Premier Soccer League. They play in Breese Stevens Field on East Washington Avenue.[78]

Madison is home to the Wisconsin Rugby Club, the 1998 USA Rugby Division II National Champions, and the Wisconsin Women's Rugby Football Club, the state's only Division I women's rugby team. The city also has men's and women's rugby clubs at UW–Madison, in addition to four high school boy's teams and one high school girl's team. The most recent addition to the Madison rugby community, Madison Minotaurs Rugby Club, is composed largely of gay players and is Wisconsin's first and only IGRAB team, but is open to any player with any experience level. All ten teams play within the Wisconsin Rugby Football Union, the Midwest Rugby Union and USA Rugby.

Nearly 100 women participate in the adult women's ice hockey teams that are based in Madison (Thunder, Lightning, Freeze, UW–B and C teams), all of which play in the Women's Central Hockey League. The active and popular Madison Gay Hockey Association is also in Madison. Starting in fall 2009, a professional minor league ice hockey team, the Madison Ice Muskies of the All American Hockey League will hit the ice, playing at the Hartmeyer Ice Arena.

Madison is also one of the growing number of cities in the country with a hurling team organized as The Hurling Club of Madison.

The All-Girl Roller Derby League, Mad Rollin' Dolls, was formed in Madison in 2004. Mad Rollin' Dolls LLC, is a member of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association.[79]

Madison is home to a number of endurance sports racing events, such as the Crazylegs Classic, Paddle and Portage, the Mad City Marathon, and Ironman Wisconsin.

Madison was part of Chicago's 2016 Olympics bid. If the Chicago 2016 bid had been successful, 80,000-seat Camp Randall Stadium would have served as one of Chicago's stadiums during the Games.[80]

Current professional teams

Club Sport Founded League Venue
Wisconsin Wolfpack American Football 2009 Continental Indoor Football League Hartmeyer Ice Arena

Points of interest

The Memorial Union
The Thai pavilion at Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Shaarei Shamayim

Sister cities

Notable Madisonians

See also



  1. ^ a b c "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "Madison city, Wisconsin - Population Finder - American FactFinder". Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  3. ^ City of Madison Website, A History of the City of Madison
  4. ^
  5. ^ Tenney, H.A. Madison, Dane County and Surrounding Towns Madison: 1877; pp. 543-558
  6. ^ "Wisconsin State Capitol Tour". State of Wisconsin. Retrieved 2007-05-24. 
  7. ^ 2003 City of Madison, City of Fitchburg and Town of Madison Cooperative Plan
  8. ^ "Dictionary of Wisconsin History: Four Lakes". Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved 2006-10-24. 
  9. ^ "NCDC: U.S. Climate Normals". NOAA. 
  10. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2009-05-21. 
  11. ^ "Population of the 100 Largest Cities and Other Urban Places in the United States: 1790 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  12. ^ METROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENTS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  13. ^ MICROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENTS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  14. ^ COMBINED STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENT CORE BASED STATISTICAL AREAS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Canby, Vincent Review of The War at Home. New York Times
  17. ^ "Fair Wisconsin News Release". Retrieved 2007-04-14. 
  18. ^ "Key Ballot Measures". Retrieved 2007-04-16. 
  19. ^ "Mayors Against Illegal Guns: Coalition Members". 
  20. ^ Home
  21. ^ "Best Unemployment" Forbes, May 4, 2005
  22. ^ "Best Places for Business Forbes, May 22, 2006
  23. ^ Wisconsin State Employees Union website
  24. ^ "Best Hospitals 2006: University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Madison". U. S. News and World Reports. 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-12. 
  25. ^ St. Mary's Hospital
  26. ^ Mad City Broadband "Mad City Broadband"
  27. ^ Google Fiber draws Madisonian support "Google Fiber draws Madisonian support"
  28. ^ "Where To Educate Your Children" Forbes, Dec 12, 2007
  29. ^ "In Pictures: Top 20 Places To Educate Your Child" Forbes, Dec 12, 2007
  30. ^ [1]
  31. ^ "Forbes rating is more than kudos for Madison; it's a reflection on Wisconsin and the Midwest" Wisconsin Education Association Council, May 17, 2004
  32. ^ Madison Metropolitan School District
  33. ^ Edgewood High School
  34. ^ Faith Haven, Madison, Wis. Capital Times, October 13, 2006
  35. ^ Metro Transit System
  36. ^
  37. ^ DeFour, Matthew (2007-04-24). "Rail, streetcar plans compete for support". Wisconsin State Journal. pp. A1, A5. Retrieved 2007-04-24. 
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^ Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra
  41. ^ Madison Home Brewers and Tasters Guild
  42. ^ Rhythm and Booms press release
  43. ^ Hoofer Sailing - Snow Kiting
  44. ^ Biking Federation of Wisconsin 2004 Annual Report
  45. ^ Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau."Madison Ranked Among Nation’s Best Gay-Friendly Places to Call Home". December 12, 2005
  46. ^ Gay Demographics 2000 Census
  47. ^ "Best College Sports Towns: Madison #1" from Sports Illustrated
  48. ^
  49. ^ "Council Makes Plastic Flamingo Madison's Official Bird". WISC-TV. September 2, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  50. ^ [[UW–Madison Marching Band]
  51. ^ The Gomers
  52. ^ High Noon Saloon
  53. ^ SCENE: CD Reviews
  54. ^ Gomers e-Presskit
  55. ^ Wisconsin Foundation for School Music : 2004 Lifetime Achievement Award
  56. ^ Wisconsin Historical Museum
  57. ^ Wisconsin Veterans Museum
  58. ^ Madison Children's Museum
  59. ^ "1989 Wisconsin Act 222". State of Wisconsin. April 12, 1990. Retrieved 2006-10-03. 
  60. ^ Unheralded and underappreciated, these men may have been the most influential contributors to Madison's architecture: Behold…The Genius Of Claude And Starck, Madison Magazine
  61. ^,TRA-News-illini19.article
  62. ^
  63. ^,433017&dq=madtown+madison+wisconsin&hl=en
  64. ^,2769475&dq=madtown+madison+wisconsin&hl=en
  65. ^
  66. ^
  67. ^
  68. ^
  69. ^,6725636&dq=people%27s-republic&hl=en
  70. ^,177953&dq=madison+four-lakes-city&hl=en
  71. ^ Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau. Awards.
  72. ^ FBI Crime stats, 2007 prelim.
  73. ^ FBI Crime stats, 2005 - Table 8 WI.
  74. ^ FBI Crime stats, 2004 - Table 8 WI.
  75. ^ - SI on Campus - Best College Sports Towns - Thursday September 11, 2003 10:59AM
  76. ^ [2]
  77. ^ University of Wisconsin Badger Hockey
  78. ^ Princeton-56ers
  79. ^ Mad Rollin' Dolls
  80. ^ "UW notes: Camp Randall part of Chicago's Olympic bid?". – Wisconsin State Journal


  • Bates, Tom, Rads: The 1970 Bombing of the Army Math Research Center at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Its Aftermath (1993) ISBN 0-06-092428-4
  • Maraniss, David, They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace Vietnam and America October 1967 (2003) ISBN 0-7432-1780-2 ISBN 0-7432-6104-6 (about the Dow Chemical protest, and a battle in Vietnam that occurred on the previous day)
  • Mollenhoff, David V., Madison : A History of the Formative Years (1982, revised 2003) ISBN 0-8403-2728-5 ISBN 0-299-19980-0

External links

Coordinates: 43°04′29″N 89°23′04″W / 43.074722°N 89.384444°W / 43.074722; -89.384444

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Database error article)

From LoveToKnow 1911

(There is currently no text in this page)

Simple English

Madison, Wisconsin
File:Madison Wisconsin
Nickname(s): "Mad Town" or "Mad City"
Coordinates: 43°04′29″N 89°23′04″W / 43.074722°N 89.384444°W / 43.074722; -89.384444
Country United States
State Wisconsin
County Dane County
Incorporated 1848
 - Mayor Dave Cieslewicz
 - City 84.7 sq mi (219.4 km2)
 - Land 67.3 sq mi (174.3 km2)
 - Water 16.0 sq mi (41.4 km2)
Population (2006 Est.)
 - City 223,389
 Density 3,029.8/sq mi (1,169.8/km2)
 Urban 329,5331
 Metro 543,022
Time zone Central (UTC-6)
Area code(s) 608
1 Urban = 2000 Census

Madison is the capital city of Wisconsin, a state in the United States of America. As of the 2000 census, it has a population (people living in it) of 221,735, making it the second largest city in Wisconsin. It is the county seat of Dane County. Madison is also home to the University of Wisconsin.

Other websites

Error creating thumbnail: sh: convert: command not found
Wikimedia Commons has images, video, and/or sound related to:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address