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State of Wisconsin
Flag of Wisconsin State seal of Wisconsin
Flag Seal
Nickname(s): Badger State; America's Dairyland
Motto(s): Forward
before statehood, known as
the Wisconsin Territory
Map of the United States with Wisconsin highlighted
Official language(s) English
Demonym Wisconsinite
Capital Madison
Largest city Milwaukee
Largest metro area Milwaukee metropolitan area
Area  Ranked 23rd in the US
 - Total 65,498 sq mi
(169,639 km2)
 - Width 260 miles (420 km)
 - Length 310 miles (500 km)
 - % water 17
 - Latitude 42° 30′ N to 47° 05′ N
 - Longitude 86° 46′ W to 92° 53′ W
Population  Ranked 20th in the US
 - Total 5,363,675[1]
 - Density 98.8/sq mi  (38.13/km2)
Ranked 23rd in the US
 - Median income  $47,220 (15th)
Elevation  
 - Highest point Timms Hill[2]
1,951 ft  (595 m)
 - Mean 1,050 ft  (320 m)
 - Lowest point Lake Michigan[2]
579 ft  (176 m)
Admission to Union  May 29, 1848 (30th)
Governor Jim Doyle (D)
Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton (D)
U.S. Senators Herb Kohl (D)
Russ Feingold (D)
U.S. House delegation List
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Abbreviations WI Wis. US-WI
Website http://www.wisconsin.gov

Wisconsin (Listeni /wɪˈskɒnsɪn/) is one of the fifty U.S. states. Located in the north-central United States, Wisconsin is considered part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Upper Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is Madison, and its largest city is Milwaukee. As of 2008 the state has an estimated 5.6 million residents.

Contents

Etymology

The word Wisconsin has its origins in the name given to the Wisconsin River by one of the Algonquian speaking American Indian groups living in the region at the time of European contact.[3] French explorer Jacques Marquette was the first European to reach the Wisconsin River and record its name, arriving in 1673 and calling the river Meskousing in his journal.[4] This spelling was later corrupted to Ouisconsin by other French explorers, and over time this version became the French name for both the Wisconsin River and the surrounding lands. English speakers anglicized the spelling to its modern form when they began to arrive in greater numbers during the early 19th Century. The current spelling was made official by the legislature of Wisconsin Territory in 1845.[5]

Through the course of its many variations, the Algonquian source word for Wisconsin and its original meaning have both grown obscure. Interpretations vary, but most implicate the river and the red sandstone that line its banks. One leading theory holds that the name originated from the Miami word Meskonsing, meaning "it lies red," a reference to the setting of the Wisconsin River as it flows by the reddish sandstone of the Wisconsin Dells.[6] Numerous other theories have also been widely publicized, including claims that name originated from one of a variety of Ojibwa words meaning "red stone place," "gathering of the waters," or "great rock."[7]

History

Wisconsin in 1718, Guillaume de L'Isle map, approximate state area highlighted.

Wisconsin has been home to a wide variety of cultures over the past twelve thousand years. The first people arrived around 10000 BCE during the Wisconsin Glaciation. These early inhabitants, called Paleo-Indians, hunted now-extinct ice age animals exemplified by the Boaz mastodon, a prehistoric mastodon skeleton unearthed along with spear points in southwest Wisconsin.[8] After the ice age ended around 8000 BCE, people in the subsequent Archaic period lived by hunting, fishing, and gathering food from wild plants. Agricultural societies emerged gradually over the Woodland period between 1000 BCE to 1000 CE. Towards the end of this period, Wisconsin was the heartland of the "Effigy Mound culture," which built thousands of animal-shaped mounds across the landscape.[9] Later, between 1000 and 1500 CE, the Mississippian and Oneota cultures built substantial settlements including the fortified village at Aztalan in southeast Wisconsin.[10] The Oneota may be the ancestors of the modern Ioway and Ho-Chunk tribes, who shared the Wisconsin region with the Menominee at the time of European contact.[11] Other American Indian groups living in Wisconsin when Europeans first settled included the Ojibwa, Sauk, Fox, Kickapoo, and Pottawatomie, who migrated to Wisconsin from the east between 1500 and 1700.[12]

Jean Nicolet, depicted in this recent painting, was probably the first European to explore Wisconsin.

The first European to visit what became Wisconsin was probably the French explorer Jean Nicolet. He canoed west from Georgian Bay through the Great Lakes in 1634, and it is traditionally assumed that he came ashore near Green Bay at Red Banks.[13] Pierre Radisson and Médard des Groseilliers visited Green Bay again in 1654-1566 and Chequamegon Bay in 1559-1560, where they traded for fur with local American Indans.[14] In 1673, Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet became the first to record a journey on the Fox-Wisconsin Waterway all the way to the Mississippi River near Prairie du Chien.[15] Frenchmen like Nicholas Perrot continued to ply the fur trade across Wisconsin through the 17th and 18th centuries, but the French made no permanent settlements in Wisconsin before Great Britain won control of the region following the French and Indian War in 1763. Even so, French traders continued to work in the region after the war, and some, beginning with Charles de Langlade in 1764, now settled in Wisconsin permanently rather than returning to British-controlled Canada.[16]

Wisconsin became a territorial possession of the United States in 1783 after the American Revolutionary War. However, the British remained in de facto control until after the War of 1812, which finally established an American presence in the area.[17] Under American control, the economy of the territory shifted from fur trading to lead mining. The prospect of easy mineral wealth drew immigrants from throughout the U.S. and Europe to the lead deposits located at Mineral Point, Wisconsin and nearby areas. Some miners found shelter in the holes they had dug and earned the nickname "badgers," leading to Wisconsin's identity as the "Badger State."[18] The sudden influx of white miners prompted tension with the local Native American population. The Winnebago War of 1827 and the Black Hawk War of 1832 led to the forced removal of American Indians from most parts of the state.[19] Following these conflicts, Wisconsin Territory was organized in 1836. Continued white settlement led to statehood in 1848.

The Little White Schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin held the nation's first meeting of the Republican Party

Politics in early Wisconsin were defined by the greater national debate over slavery. A free state from its foundation, Wisconsin became a center of northern abolitionism. The debate became especially intense in 1854 after a runaway slave from Missouri named Joshua Glover was captured in Racine. Glover was taken into custody under the Federal Fugitive Slave Law, but a mob of abolitionists stormed the prison where Glover was held and helped him escape to Canada. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ultimately declared the Fugitive Slave Law unconstitutional in a trial stemming from the incident.[20] The Republican Party, founded on March 20, 1854 by anti-slavery expansion activists in Ripon, Wisconsin, grew to dominate state politics in the aftermath of these events.[21] During the Civil War, around 91,000 troops from Wisconsin fought for the Union.[22]

Drawing of Industrial Milwaukee in 1882

Wisconsin's economy also diversified during the early years of statehood. While lead mining diminished, agriculture became a principal occupation in the southern half of the state. Railroads were built across the state to help transport grains to market, and industries like J.I. Case & Company in Racine were founded to build agricultural equipment. Wisconsin briefly became one of the nation's leading producers of wheat during the 1860s.[23] Meanwhile, the lumber industry dominated in the heavily forested northern sections of Wisconsin, and sawmills sprung up in cities like Eau Claire and Wausau. These economic activities had dire environmental consequences. By the close of the 19th century, intensive agriculture had devastated soil fertility, and lumbering had deforested most of the state.[24] This forced both wheat agriculture and the lumber industry into a precipitous decline.

The Daniel E. Krause Stone Barn in Chase, Wisconsin was built in 1903 as dairy farming spread across the state

Beginning in the 1890s, farmers in Wisconsin shifted from wheat to dairy production in order to make more sustainable and profitable use of their land. Many immigrants carried cheese making traditions that, combined with the state's suitable geography and dairy research led by Stephen Babcock at the University of Wisconsin, helped the state build a reputation as "America's Dairyland."[25] Meanwhile, conservationists including Aldo Leopold helped reestablish the state's forests during the early 20th century.[26] This paved the way for a more renewable lumber and paper milling industry as well as promoting recreational tourism in the northern woodlands. Manufacturing also boomed in Wisconsin during the early 20th century, driven by an immense immigrant workforce arriving from Europe. Industries in cities like Milwaukee ranged from brewing and food processing to heavy machine production and toolmaking, leading Wisconsin to rank 8th among U.S. states in total product value by 1910.[27]

Wisconsin Governor Robert La Follette addressing an assembly in Decatur, Illinois, 1905.

The early 20th century was also notable for the emergence of progressive politics championed by Robert M. La Follette. Between 1901 and 1914, Progressive Republicans in Wisconsin created the nation's first comprehensive statewide primary election system,[28] the first effective workplace injury compensation law,[29] and the first state income tax,[30] making taxation proportional to actual earnings. The progressive Wisconsin Idea also promoted the statewide expansion of the University of Wisconsin through the UW-Extension system at this time.[31] Later, UW economics professors John R. Commons and Harold Groves helped Wisconsin create the first unemployment compensation program in the United States in 1932.[32]

Wisconsin took part in several political extremes in the mid to late 20th century, ranging from the anti-communist hysteria of Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s to the radical antiwar protests at UW-Madison that culminated in the Sterling Hall bombing in August 1970. Recent politics have been comparatively moderate, but the state has continued to push forward new ideas, most notably becoming a leader in welfare reform under Republican Governor Tommy Thompson during the 1990s.[33] The state's economy also underwent further transformations towards the close of the century, as heavy industry and manufacturing declined in favor of a service economy based on medicine, education, agribusiness, and tourism.

The U.S. Navy battleship, USS Wisconsin, was named in honor of this state.

Geography

Wisconsin can be divided into five geographic regions.

Wisconsin is bordered by the Montreal River; Lake Superior and Michigan to the north; by Lake Michigan to the east; by Illinois to the south; and by Iowa and Minnesota to the west. A border dispute with Michigan was settled by two cases, both Wisconsin v. Michigan, in 1934 and 1935. The state's boundaries include the Mississippi River and St. Croix River in the west, and the Menominee River in the northeast. Wisconsin is the northernmost state that does not share a border with Canada.

The Driftless Area of southwestern Wisconsin is characterized by bluffs carved in sedimentary rock by water from melting Ice Age glaciers.

With its location between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, Wisconsin is home to a wide variety of geographical features. The state is divided into five distinct regions. In the north, the Lake Superior Lowland occupies a belt of land along Lake Superior. Just to the south, the Northern Highland has massive mixed hardwood and coniferous forests including the 1,500,000 acres (6,100 km2) Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, as well as thousands of glacial lakes, and the state's highest point, Timms Hill. In the middle of the state, the Central Plain has some unique sandstone formations like the Dells of the Wisconsin River in addition to rich farmland. The Eastern Ridges and Lowlands region in the southeast is home to many of Wisconsin's largest cities. In the southwest, the Western Upland is a rugged landscape with a mix of forest and farmland, including many bluffs on the Mississippi River. This region is part of the Driftless Area, which also includes portions of Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota. This area was not covered by glaciers during the most recent ice age, the Wisconsin Glaciation.

Overall, 46% of Wisconsin's land area is covered by forest. Langlade County has a soil rarely found outside of the county called Antigo Silt Loam.

Wisconsin state welcome sign

Areas under the management of the National Park Service include the following:[34]

There is one national forest managed by the U.S. Forest Service in Wisconsin, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

Wisconsin has sister-state relationships with the Germany's Hesse, Japan's Chiba Prefecture, Mexico's Jalisco, China's Heilongjiang, and Nicaragua.[35]

Climate

Wisconsin's climate is classified as humid continental. The highest temperature ever recorded in the state was in the Wisconsin Dells, on July 13, 1936, where it reached 114 °F (46 °C). The lowest temperature ever recorded in Wisconsin was in the village of Couderay, where it reached –55 °F (-48 °C) on both February 2 and February 4, 1996.[36]

Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Selected Wisconsin Cities [°F (°C)]
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Green Bay 24/7

(-4/-14)

29/12

(-2/-11)

40/23

(4/-5)

55/34

(13/1)

68/45

(20/7)

77/54

(25/12)

81/59

(27/15)

78/56

(26/13)

70/48

(21/9)

58/37

(14/3)

42/26

(6/-3)

29/13

(-2/-11)

La Crosse 26/6

(-3/-14)

32/13

(0/-11)

45/24

(7/-4)

60/37

(16/3)

72/49

(22/9)

81/58

(27/14)

85/63

(29/17)

82/61

(28/16)

74/52

(23/11)

61/40

(16/4)

44/27

(7/-3)

30/14

(-1/-10)

Madison 25/9

(-4/-13)

31/14

(-1/-10)

43/25

(6/-4)

57/35

(14/2)

69/46

(21/8)

78/56

(26/13)

82/61

(28/16)

79/59

(26/15)

71/50

(22/10)

60/39

(16/4)

43/28

(6/-2)

30/16

(-1/-9)

Milwaukee 28/13

(-2/-11)

32/18

(0/-8)

43/27

(6/-3)

54/36

(12/2)

66/46

(19/8)

76/56

(24/13)

81/63

(27/17)

79/62

(26/17)

72/54

(22/12)

60/43

(16/6)

46/31

(8/-1)

33/19

(1/-7)

[3]

Demographics

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1850 305,391
1860 775,881 154.1%
1870 1,054,670 35.9%
1880 1,315,457 24.7%
1890 1,693,330 28.7%
1900 2,069,042 22.2%
1910 2,333,860 12.8%
1920 2,632,067 12.8%
1930 2,939,006 11.7%
1940 3,137,587 6.8%
1950 3,434,575 9.5%
1960 3,951,777 15.1%
1970 4,417,731 11.8%
1980 4,705,767 6.5%
1990 4,891,769 4.0%
2000 5,363,675 9.6%
Est. 2009[37] 5,654,774 5.4%
Wisconsin Population Density Map

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2000, Wisconsin had a population of 5,363,675. Wisconsin's population was reported as 6.4% under the age of 5, 25.5% under 18, and 13.1% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 50.6% of the population.

Since its founding, Wisconsin has been ethnically heterogeneous. Following the period of French fur traders, the next wave of settlers were miners, many of whom were Cornish, who settled the southwest area of the state. The next wave was dominated by "Yankees," migrants from New England and upstate New York; in the early years of statehood, they dominated the state's heavy industry, finance, politics and education. Between 1850 and 1900, large numbers of European immigrants followed them, including Germans, Scandinavians (the largest group being Norwegian), and smaller groups of Belgians, Dutch, Swiss, Finns, Irish, Poles and others. In the 20th century, large numbers of Mexicans and African Americans came, settling mainly in Milwaukee; and after end of the Vietnam War came a new influx of Hmongs.

The five largest ancestry groups in Wisconsin are: German (42.6%), Irish (10.9%), Polish (9.3%), Norwegian (8.5%), English (6.5%).[38] German is the most common ancestry in every county in the state, except Menominee, Trempealeau and Vernon.[39] Wisconsin has the highest percentage of residents of Polish ancestry of any state.[38] The various ethnic groups settled in different areas of the state. Although Germans settled throughout the state, the largest concentration was in Milwaukee. Norwegians settled in lumbering and farming areas in the north and west. Small colonies of Belgians, Swiss, Finns and other groups settled in their particular areas, with Irish and Polish immigrants settling primarily in urban areas.[40] African Americans came to Milwaukee, especially from 1940 on. Menominee County is the only county in the eastern United States with an American Indian majority.

Demographics of Wisconsin (csv)
By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
2000 (total population) 91.52% 6.15% 1.30% 1.92% 0.08%
2000 (Hispanic only) 3.35% 0.17% 0.11% 0.03% 0.01%
2005 (total population) 91.00% 6.48% 1.30% 2.21% 0.09%
2005 (Hispanic only) 4.17% 0.20% 0.12% 0.04% 0.01%
Growth 2000–05 (total population) 2.64% 8.89% 3.13% 18.59% 6.85%
Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) 1.65% 8.53% 2.43% 18.63% 6.18%
Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 28.67% 21.23% 10.54% 16.75% 10.87%
* AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

86% of Wisconsin's African-American population live in four cities: Milwaukee, Racine, Beloit, Kenosha, with Milwaukee home to nearly three-fourths of the state's black Americans. Milwaukee is among the 10 major U.S. cities with the most African Americans per capita.[citation needed] In the Great Lakes region, only Detroit and Cleveland have a higher percentage of African-American residents.

33% of Wisconsin's Asian population is Hmong, with significant communities in Milwaukee, Wausau, Green Bay, Sheboygan, Appleton, Madison, La Crosse, Eau Claire, Oshkosh, and Manitowoc.[41]

Religion

Christianity is the predominant religion of Wisconsin. The largest Christian denominations are Roman Catholic and Lutheran; Lutherans primarily belong to the ELCA, Missouri Synod, and Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). The religious affiliations of the Wisconsin residents are shown below:[42]

Law and government

The capital is Madison, Wisconsin.

State Executive Officers

See also:

Politics

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2008 42.31% 1,262,393 56.22% 1,677,211
2004 49.31% 1,478,120 49.71% 1,489,504
2000 47.56% 1,237,279 47.83% 1,242,987
1996 38.48% 845,029 48.81% 1,071,971
1992 36.78% 930,855 41.13% 1,041,066
1988 47.80% 1,047,794 51.41% 1,126,794

During the period of the Civil War, Wisconsin was a Republican and pro-Union stronghold. Ethno-religious issues in the late 19th century caused a brief split in the Republican coalition. Through the first half of the 20th century, Wisconsin's politics were dominated by Robert La Follette and his sons, originally of the Republican Party, but later of the revived Progressive Party. Since 1945, the state has maintained a close balance between Republicans and Democrats. Republican Senator Joe McCarthy was a controversial national figure in the early 1950s. Recent leading Republicans include former Governor Tommy Thompson and Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr.; prominent Democrats include Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold, and Congressman David Obey.[43]

Much of the state's political history involved coalitions among different ethnic groups. The most famous controversy dealt with foreign language teaching in schools. This was fought out in the Bennett Law campaign of 1890, when the Germans switched to the Democratic Party because of the Republican Party's support of the Bennett Law, which led to a major victory for the Democrats.

The cities of Wisconsin have been active in increasing the availability of legislative information on the internet, thereby providing for greater government transparency. Currently three of the five most populous cities in Wisconsin provide their constituents with internet based access of all public records directly from the cities’ databases. Wisconsin cities started to make this a priority after Milwaukee began doing so, on their page, in 2001. One such city, Madison, has been named the Number 1 digital city by the Center for Digital Government in consecutive years. Nearly 18 percent of Wisconsin’s population has the ability to access their municipality’s information in this way.

Wisconsin has voted for the Democratic presidential nominee in the last six elections. The urban centers of Milwaukee and Madison tend to vote strongly Democratic. The suburbs of those cities are politically diverse, but tend to vote Republican. Counties in the western part of the state tend to be liberal, a tradition passed down from Scandinavian immigrants. The rural areas in the northern and eastern part of the state are the most solidly Republican areas in Wisconsin.[citation needed]

In the 2008 presidential election, Wisconsin voted for the Democratic presidential nominee, Illinois Senator Barack Obama. Obama captured 56% of the vote statewide, with the urban centers of Milwaukee and Madison voting strongly Democratic. Bucking the historic trend, Brown County (home to Green Bay) and Outagamie County (home to Appleton) voted for Obama over John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee. In all, McCain captured approximately 42% of the vote statewide and won 13 of the state's 72 counties. Of the counties won by McCain, only a handful were by greater than 55% of the vote (Florence, Green Lake, Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha, with Washington County providing his largest single-county percentage victory in the state). In all, Obama was successful in 59 counties, transcending the state's usual east/west and urban/suburban/rural divides.

Wisconsin ranked second in voter turnout in the 2008 presidential election, behind Minnesota.

Lawmakers in Wisconsin

The last election in which Wisconsin supported a Republican Presidential candidate was in 1984. However, both the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections were close, with Wisconsin receiving heavy doses of national advertising because it was a "swing," or pivot, state. Al Gore carried the presidential vote in 2000 by only 5,700 votes, and John Kerry won Wisconsin in 2004 by 11,000 votes. However, in 2008, Barack Obama carried the state by 381,000 votes and with 56%. Republicans had a stronghold in the Fox Valley but elected a Democrat, Steve Kagen, of Appleton, for the 8th Congressional District in 2006. Republicans have held Waukesha County. The City of Milwaukee heads the list of Wisconsin's Democratic strongholds, which also includes Madison and the state's Native American reservations. Wisconsin's largest Congressional district, the 7th, has been a Democratic stronghold since 1969. Its representative, David Obey, chairs the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

  • Wisconsin's political history encompasses, on the one hand, "Fighting Bob" La Follette and the Progressive movement; and on the other, Joe McCarthy, the controversial anti-Communist censured by the Senate during the 1950s.
  • In the early 20th century, the Socialist Party of America had a base in Milwaukee. The phenomenon was referred to as "sewer socialism" because the elected officials were more concerned with public works and reform than with revolution (although revolutionary socialism existed in the city as well). Its influence faded in the late 1950s, largely because of the red scare and racial tensions.[44] The first Socialist mayor of a large city in the United States was Emil Seidel, elected mayor of Milwaukee in 1910; another Socialist, Daniel Hoan, was mayor of Milwaukee from 1916 to 1940; and a third, Frank P. Zeidler, from 1948–1960. Socialist newspaper editor Victor Berger was repeatedly elected as a U.S. Representative, although he was prevented from serving for some time because of his opposition to the First World War.
  • William Proxmire, a Democratic Senator (1957–89) dominated the Democratic party for years; he was best known for attacking waste and fraud in federal spending.
  • Democrat Russ Feingold was the only Senator to vote against the Patriot Act in 2001.
  • Democrat Tammy Baldwin from Madison was the first, and is currently the only, openly lesbian U.S. Representative.[45]
  • In 2004, Gwen Moore, a Democrat from Milwaukee, became Wisconsin's first African-American U.S. Representative.

In 2006, Democrats gained in a national sweep of opposition to the Bush administration, and the Iraq War. The retiring GOP 8th District Congressman, Mark Green, of Green Bay, ran against the incumbent Governor Jim Doyle. Green lost by 8% statewide, making Doyle the first Democratic Governor to be re-elected in 32 years. The Republicans lost control of the state Senate. Although Democrats gained eight seats in the state Assembly, Republicans retained a five vote majority in that house. In 2008, Democrats regained control of the State Assembly by a 52-46 margin, marking the first time since 1987 the both the governor and state legislature were both Democratic.

Taxes

Wisconsin collects personal income taxes (based on five income brackets) which range from 4.6% to 7.75%. The state sales and use tax rate is 5.0%. Fifty-nine counties have an additional sales/use tax of 0.5%.[46] Milwaukee County and four surrounding counties have an additional temporary 0.1% tax which helps fund the Miller Park baseball stadium, which was completed in 2001. Retailers who make sales subject to applicable county taxes must collect this tax on their retail sales.

The most common property tax assessed on Wisconsin residents is the real property tax, or their residential property tax. Wisconsin does not impose a property tax on vehicles, but does levy an annual registration fee. Property taxes are the most important tax revenue source for Wisconsin's local governments, as well as major methods of funding school districts, vocational technical colleges, special purpose districts and tax incremental finance districts. Equalized values are based on the full market value of all taxable property in the state, except for agricultural land. In order to provide property tax relief for farmers, the value of agricultural land is determined by its value for agricultural uses, rather than for its possible development value. Equalized values are used to distribute state aid payments to counties, municipalities, and technical colleges. Assessments prepared by local assessors are used to distribute the property tax burden within individual municipalities.

Wisconsin does not assess a tax on intangible property. Wisconsin does not collect inheritance taxes. Until January 1, 2008 Wisconsin's estate tax was decoupled from the federal estate tax laws; therefore the state imposed its own estate tax on certain large estates.[47]

There are no toll roads in Wisconsin; highway and road construction and maintenance is funded by motor fuel tax revenues.

Economy

The US Bank Center in Milwaukee is Wisconsin's tallest skyscraper.

In 2008 Wisconsin’s gross state product was $240.4 billion, making it 21st among states.[48] The per capita personal income was $35,239 in 2008. The economy of Wisconsin is driven by manufacturing, agriculture, and health care. Although manufacturing accounts for a far greater part of the state's income than farming, Wisconsin is often perceived as a farming state.

The largest employers in Wisconsin are:

  1. Wal-Mart
  2. University of Wisconsin system
  3. U.S. Postal Service
  4. Milwaukee Public Schools
  5. Wisconsin Department of Corrections
  6. Menards
  7. Kohl's
  8. Ultra Mart Foods aka Roundy's
  9. City of Milwaukee
  10. Kohler Company[49]

Agriculture

Wisconsin produces more dairy products than any other state in the United States except California[50] and leads the nation in cheese production. Wisconsin ranks second behind California in overall production of milk and butter, and third in per-capita milk production, behind Idaho and Vermont.[51] Based on poll results, a Holstein cow, an ear of corn, and a wheel of cheese were chosen for Wisconsin's 50 State Quarters design.[52] Wisconsin ranks first in the production of corn for silage, cranberries, ginseng, and snap beans for processing. Wisconsin is also a leading producer of oats, potatoes, carrots, tart cherries, maple syrup, and sweet corn for processing.

Given Wisconsin's strong agricultural tradition, it is not surprising that a large part of the state's manufacturing sector deals with food processing. Some well-known food brands produced in Wisconsin include Oscar Mayer, Tombstone frozen pizza, Johnsonville brats, and Usinger's sausage. Kraft Foods alone employs over 5,000 people in the state. Milwaukee is a major producer of beer and was once the headquarters of Miller Brewing Company, the nation's second-largest brewer, until it merged with Coors Brewing Company. At one time, Schlitz, Blatz, and Pabst were cornerstone breweries in Milwaukee. Today, Milwaukee's economy is more diverse with an emphasis on health care. In 2004, four of the city's ten largest employers (including the top two) were part of the health care industry.[53]

Badger State
State Animal: Badger
State Domesticated
Animal:
Dairy cow
State Wild Animal: White-tailed deer
State Beverage: Milk
State Fruit: Cranberry
State Bird: Robin
State Capital: Madison
State Dog: American water spaniel
State Fish: Muskellunge
State Flower: Wood violet
State Fossil: Trilobite
State Grain: Corn
State Insect: European honey bee
State Motto: Forward
State Song: "On, Wisconsin!"
State Tree: Sugar maple
State Mineral: Galena (Lead sulfide)
State Rock: Red granite
State Soil: Antigo silt loam
State Dance: Polka
State Symbol of
Peace:
Mourning dove

Transportation industry

Wisconsin is also home to several transportation equipment and machinery manufacturers. Major Wisconsin companies in these categories include the Kohler Company, Mercury Marine, Rockwell Automation, Johnson Controls,Seagrave Fire Apparatus, Pierce Manufacturing(fire apparatus), Briggs & Stratton, Miller Electric, Milwaukee Electric Tool Company, Bucyrus International, Super Steel Products Corp., Oshkosh Truck, and Harley-Davidson. Wisconsin also ranks first nationwide in the production of paper products; the lower Fox River from Lake Winnebago to Green Bay has 24 paper mills along its 39 miles (63 km) stretch.

The development and manufacture of health care devices and software is a growing sector of the state's economy with key players such as GE Healthcare, Epic Systems, and TomoTherapy.

Tourism

Tourism is also a major industry in Wisconsin – the state's third largest, according to the Department of Tourism. This is attributed to the many resorts in northern Wisconsin and the family attractions in the Wisconsin Dells area, which attract nearly 3 million visitors per year.[citation needed] Tourist destinations such as the House on the Rock near Spring Green and Circus World Museum in Baraboo also draw thousands of visitors annually, and festivals such as Summerfest, Northern Wisconsin Metalfest, and the EAA Oshkosh Airshow draw international attention, along with hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Given the large number of lakes and rivers in the state, water recreation is very popular.

The distinctive Door Peninsula, which extends off the eastern coast of the state, contains one of the state's most beautiful tourist destinations, Door County. Door County is a popular destination for boaters because of the large number of natural harbors, bays and ports on the Green Bay and Lake Michigan side of the peninsula that forms the county. The area draws hundreds of thousands of visitors yearly to its quaint villages, seasonal cherry picking, and ever-popular fish boils.

Film industry

On January 1, 2008, a new tax incentive for the film industry came into effect. The first major production to take advantage of the tax incentive was Michael Mann's Public Enemies. While the producers spent $18 million dollars on the film, it was reported that most of that went to out-of-state workers and for out-of-state services; Wisconsin taxpayers had provided $4.6 million in subsidies, and derived only $5 million in revenues from the film's making.[54]

Important municipalities

Wisconsin counties

Wisconsin's self-promotion as "America's Dairyland" sometimes leads to a mistaken impression that it is an exclusively rural state. However, Wisconsin contains cities and towns of all sizes. Over 68% of Wisconsin residents live in urban areas, with the Greater Milwaukee area home to roughly one-third of the state's population.[55] Milwaukee is at the northern edge of an urban area bordering Lake Michigan that stretches southward into greater Chicago and northwestern Indiana, with a population of over 11 million. With over 602,000 residents Milwaukee proper is the 22nd-largest city in the country.[56] The string of cities along the western edge of Lake Michigan is generally considered to be an example of a megalopolis. Madison's dual identity as state capital and college town gives it a cultural richness unusual in a city its size. With a population of around 220,000, Madison is also a very fast-growing city. Madison's suburb, Middleton, was also ranked the "Best Place to Live in America" in 2007 by Money Magazine. Medium-size cities dot the state and anchor a network of working farms surrounding them. As of 2007, there were 12 cities in Wisconsin with a population of 50,000 or more.[57] Cities and villages are incorporated urban areas in Wisconsin. Towns are unincorporated minor civil divisions of counties.

Education

Wisconsin, along with Minnesota and Michigan, was among the Midwestern leaders in the emergent American state university movement following the Civil War in the United States. By the turn of the century, education in the state advocated the "Wisconsin Idea," which emphasized for service to the people of the state. The "Wisconsin Idea" exemplified the Progressive movement within colleges and universities at the time.[58] Today, public education in Wisconsin includes both the 26-campus University of Wisconsin System, with the flagship university University of Wisconsin–Madison, and the 16-campus Wisconsin Technical College System which coordinates with the University of Wisconsin. Notable private colleges and universities include Marquette University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Medical College of Wisconsin, Concordia University Wisconsin, Edgewood College, Beloit College, St. Norbert College, Lakeland College, and Lawrence University, among others. Elementary, middle and high school education are mandatory by law.

Culture

Citizens of Wisconsin are referred to as Wisconsinites. The traditional prominence of references to dairy farming and cheesemaking in Wisconsin's rural economy (the state's license plates have read "America's Dairyland" since 1940[59]) have led to the nickname (sometimes used pejoratively among non-residents) of "cheeseheads" and to the creation of "cheesehead hats" made of yellow foam in the shape of a block of cheese.

Numerous ethnic festivals are held throughout Wisconsin to celebrate its heritage. Such festivals include Summerfest, Oktoberfest, German Fest, Festa Italiana, Bastille Days, Syttende Mai (Norwegian Constitution Day), Brat(wurst) Days in Sheboygan, Cheese Days in Monroe and Mequon, African World Festival, Indian Summer, Irish Fest, Arab Fest, and many others.

Art

Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin
Music stage at Summerfest in 1994, currently called the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse, with Downtown Milwaukee and an approach to the Hoan Bridge in the background.

The Milwaukee Art Museum in Milwaukee, designed by Santiago Calatrava, is known for its interesting architecture. The Milwaukee County Zoological Gardens cover over 200 acres (0.81 km2) of land on the far west side of the city. Madison is home to the Vilas Zoo which is free for all visitors, and the Olbrich Gardens conservatory, as well as the hub of cultural activity at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. It is also known for Monona Terrace, a convention center that was designed by Taliesin Architect Anthony Puttnam, based loosely on a 1930s design by Frank Lloyd Wright, a world-renowned architect and Wisconsin native who was born in Richland Center.[60] Wright's home and studio in the 20th century was at Taliesin, south of Spring Green. Decades after Wright's death, Taliesin remains an architectural office and school for his followers.

Music

Wisconsin has more country music festivals than any other state,[citation needed] including Miller Lite Presents Country Fest, Bud Light Presents Country Jam USA, the Coors Hodag Country Festival, Porterfield Country Music Festival, Country Thunder USA in Twin Lakes, and Ford Presents Country USA.

The state's largest city, Milwaukee, also hosts Summerfest, dubbed "The World's Largest Music Festival," every year. This festival is held at the lakefront Henry Maier Festival Park just south of downtown.

Wisconsin has both the Milwaukee Metalfest and the Northern Wisconsin Metalfest, which is held in Lake Nebagamon.

The Wisconsin Area Music Industry provides an annual WAMI event where it presents an awards show for top Wisconsin artists.

Alcohol and Wisconsin culture

The Wisconsin Tavern League is a strong political force and the state legislature has been reluctant to lower DUI offense from BAC 0.10 to 0.08 (only through Federal government influence) and raise the alcoholic beverage tax. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel series "Wasted in Wisconsin" examined this situation.[61] Popular belief is that the state's large German heritage population, climate (long cold winters, short warm summers), and abundant leisure opportunities contribute to high drinking rates, though data collected by the Journal Sentinel do not conclusively support this.[citation needed]

Recreation

The varied landscape of Wisconsin makes the state a popular vacation destination for outdoor recreation. Winter events include skiing, ice fishing and snowmobile derbies. Wisconsin has many lakes of varied size; the state contains 11,188 square miles (28,980 km2) of water, more than all but three other states (Alaska, Michigan and Florida).

Outdoor activities are popular in Wisconsin, especially hunting and fishing. One of the most prevalent game animals is the whitetail deer. Each year in Wisconsin, well over 600,000 deer hunting licenses are sold.[62] In 2008, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources projected the pre-hunt deer population to be about 1.5 to 1.7 million.

Sports

Wisconsin is represented by major league teams in three sports: football, baseball, and basketball. Lambeau Field, located in Green Bay, Wisconsin is home to the National Football League's Green Bay Packers. The Packers have been part of the NFL since the league's second season in 1921 and hold the record for the most NFL titles, earning the city of Green Bay the nickname "Titletown USA". The franchise was founded by "Curly" Lambeau who played and coached for them. The Green Bay Packers are one of the most successful small-market professional sports franchises in the world and have won 12 NFL championships, including the first two AFL-NFL Championship games (Super Bowls I and II) and Super Bowl XXXI. The state's support of the team is evidenced by the 81,000-person waiting list for season tickets to Lambeau Field.[63]

The Milwaukee Brewers, the state's only major league baseball team, play in Miller Park in Milwaukee, the successor to Milwaukee County Stadium since 2001. In 1982, the Brewers won the American League Championship, marking their most successful season (they later switched to the National League).

The Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association play home games at the Bradley Center. The Bucks won the NBA Championship in 1971.

The state also has minor league teams in hockey (Milwaukee Admirals and baseball (the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, based in Appleton and the Beloit Snappers of the Class A minor leagues). Wisconsin is also home to the Madison Mallards, the La Crosse Loggers, the Eau Claire Express, the Green Bay Bullfrogs, and the Wisconsin Woodchucks of the Northwoods League, a collegiate all-star summer league. In arena football Wisconsin is represented by four teams: the Wisconsin Wolfpack in Madison and the Milwaukee Bonecrushers, both in the CIFL; the Green Bay Blizzard of the IFL, and the Milwaukee Iron of the AFL.

Wisconsin also has many college sports programs, including the Wisconsin Badgers, of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The Wisconsin Badgers football former head coach Barry Alvarez led the Badgers to three Rose Bowl championships, including back-to-back victories in 1999 and 2000. The Badger men's basketball team won the national title in 1941 and made a second trip to college basketball's Final Four in 2000. The Badgers claimed a historic dual championship in 2006 when both the women's and men's hockey teams won national titles.

The Marquette Golden Eagles of the Big East Conference, the state's other major collegiate program, is known for its men's basketball team, which, under the direction of Al McGuire, won the NCAA National Championship in 1977. The team returned to the Final Four in 2003.

Wisconsin is also home to the world's oldest operational racetrack. The Milwaukee Mile, located in State Fair Park in West Allis, holds that distinction, with races there dating to before the famed Indy 500.[citation needed]

Wisconsin is also home to the nation's oldest operating velodrome in Kenosha where races have been held every year since 1927.[64]

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ a b "Elevations and Distances in the United States". U.S Geological Survey. 29 April 2005. http://erg.usgs.gov/isb/pubs/booklets/elvadist/elvadist.html#Highest. Retrieved 2006-11-09. 
  3. ^ "Wisconsin's Name: Where it Came from and What it Means". Wisconsin Historical Society. http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/topics/wisconsin-name/. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  4. ^ Marquette, Jacques (1673), "The Mississippi Voyage of Jolliet and Marquette, 1673", in Kellogg, Louise P., Early Narratives of the Northwest, 1634-1699, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, p. 235, OCLC 31431651, http://www.americanjourneys.org/aj-051/ 
  5. ^ "Stephen H. Long and the Naming of Wisconsin". Wisconsin Magazine of History (Madison, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Historical Society) 26 (1): 67–71. September 1942. http://content.wisconsinhistory.org/u?/wmh,14413. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  6. ^ McCafferty, Michael. 2003. On Wisconsin: The Derivation and Referent of an Old Puzzle in American Placenames. Onoma 38: 39-56
  7. ^ Vogel, Virgil J. (1965). "Wisconsin's Name: A Linguistic Puzzle". Wisconsin Magazine of History (Madison, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Historical Society) 48 (3): 181–186. http://content.wisconsinhistory.org/u?/wmh,23263. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  8. ^ Theler, James; Boszhardt, Robert (2003). Twelve Millennia: Archaeology of the Upper Mississippi River Valley. Iowa City, Iowa: University of Iowa Press. p. 59. ISBN 9780877458470. 
  9. ^ Birmingham, Robert; Eisenberg, Leslie (2000). Indian Mounds of Wisconsin. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 100-110. ISBN 9780299168704. 
  10. ^ Birmingham; Eisenberg (2000). pp. 152-156. ISBN 9780299168704. 
  11. ^ Birmingham; Eisenberg (2000). pp. 165-167. ISBN 9780299168704. 
  12. ^ Boatman, John (1987). "Historical Overview of the Wisconsin Area: From Early Years to the French, British, and Americans". in Fixico, Donald. An Anthology of Western Great Lakes Indian History. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. OCLC 18188646. 
  13. ^ Rodesch, Gerrold C. (1984). "Jean Nicolet". University of Wisconsin–Green Bay. http://www.uwgb.edu/wisfrench/library/articles/nicolet.htm. Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  14. ^ "Turning Points in Wisconsin History: Arrival of the First Europeans". Wisconsin Historical Society. http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/tp-006/?action=more_essay. Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  15. ^ Jaenen, Cornelius (1973). "French colonial attitudes and the exploration of Jolliet and Marquette". Wisconsin Magazine of History 56 (4): 300-310. 
  16. ^ "Dictionary of Wisconsin History: Langlade, Charles Michel". Wisconsin Historical Society. http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/dictionary/index.asp?action=view&term_id=2266&search_term=Langlade%2C+Charles+Michel. Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  17. ^ Nesbit, Robert (1973). Wisconsin: A History. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 62-64. ISBN 9780299063702. 
  18. ^ "Badger Nickname". University of Wisconsin. http://www.uwbadgers.com/trads/nickname.html. Retrieved 2010-03-14. 
  19. ^ Nesbit (1973). pp. 95-97. ISBN 9780299063702. 
  20. ^ Legler, Henry (1898). "Rescue of Joshua Glover, a Runaway Slave". Leading Events of Wisconsin History. Milwaukee: Sentinel. pp. 226-229. http://www.library.wisc.edu/etext/wireader/WER1124.html. Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  21. ^ Nesbit (1973). pp. 238-239. ISBN 9780299063702. 
  22. ^ "Turning Points in Wisconsin History: The Iron Brigade, Old Abe and Military Affairs". Wisconsin Historical Society. http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/tp-023/?action=more_essay. Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  23. ^ Nesbit (1973). p. 273. ISBN 9780299063702. 
  24. ^ Nesbit (1973). pp. 281,309. ISBN 9780299063702. 
  25. ^ Buenker, John (1998). Thompson, William Fletcher. ed. The Progressive Era, 1893-1914. History of Wisconsin. 4. Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin. pp. 25, 40-41,62. ISBN 9780870203039. 
  26. ^ "Turning Points in Wisconsin History: The Modern Environmental Movement". Wisconsin Historical Society. http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/tp-048/?action=more_essay. Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  27. ^ Buenker (1998). pp. 80-81. ISBN 9780870203039. 
  28. ^ Ware, Alan (2002). The American direct primary: party institutionalization and transformation in the North. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. p. 118. ISBN 9780521814928. 
  29. ^ Ranney, Joseph. "Wisconsin's Legal History: Law and the Progressive Era, Part 3: Reforming the Workplace". http://www.wisbar.org/AM/TemplateRedirect.cfm?template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=35854. Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  30. ^ Stark, John (1987). "The Establishment of Wisconsin's Income Tax". Wisconsin Magazine of History 71 (1): 27-45. 
  31. ^ Stark, Jack (1995). "The Wisconsin Idea: The University's Service to the State". The State of Wisconsin Blue Book, 1995-1996. Madison: Legislative Reference Bureau. pp. 101-179. OCLC 33902087. 
  32. ^ Nelson, Daniel (1968). "The Origins of Unemployment Insurance in Wisconsin". Wisconsin Magazine of History 51 (2): 109-121. 
  33. ^ "Tommy Thompson: Human Services Reformer". 2004-09-04. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=122179&page=1. Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  34. ^ "Wisconsin". National Park Service. http://www.nps.gov/state/wi. Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  35. ^ "Sister-States and Cities". International Wisconsin. 2006-03-20. http://international.wi.gov/SisterStates.html. Retrieved 2007-03-16. 
  36. ^ Benedetti, Michael. "Climate of Wisconsin". The University of Wisconsin–Extension. http://www.uwex.edu/sco/stateclimate.html. Retrieved 2007-03-16. 
  37. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2009". United States Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/popest/states/tables/NST-EST2009-01.csv. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  38. ^ a b "Ancestry: 2000," U.S. Census Bureau
  39. ^ Wisconsin Blue Book 2003–2004
  40. ^ Miller, Frank Hayden, "The Polanders in Wisconsin." Parkman Club Publications No. 10. Milwaukee, Wis.: Parkman Club, 1896); Online facsimile at: The Wisconsin Historical Society, visited January 29, 2008
  41. ^ "Wisconsin's Hmong Population" (PDF). University of Wisconsin–Madison Applied Population Laboratory. http://www.apl.wisc.edu/reports/HmongChartbook.pdf. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  42. ^ Carroll, Brett E. (2000-12-28). The Routledge Historical Atlas of Religion in America. Routledge Atlases of American History. Routledge. ISBN 0415921376. 
  43. ^ Conant, James K. (2006-03-01). "1". Wisconsin Politics and Government: America's Laboratory of Democracy. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0803215487. 
  44. ^ Smith, Kevin D. (Spring 2003). "From Socialism to Racism: The Politics of Class and Identity in Postwar Milwaukee". Michigan Historical Review 29 (1): 71–95. 
  45. ^ Bull, Chris (1999-02-16). "Take a seat - openly lesbian Representative Tammy Baldwin". The Advocate (LPI Media). http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1589/is_1999_Feb_16/ai_53877986. Retrieved 2007-03-16. 
  46. ^ "County Sales Tax Distribution-2007". Wisconsin Department of Revenue. 2007-03-06. http://www.revenue.wi.gov/esd/cotax07.html. Retrieved 2007-03-24. 
  47. ^ Wisconsin Department of Revenue
  48. ^ http://www.bea.gov/regional/gsp/
  49. ^ Wisconsin's Large Employer Search
  50. ^ United States Department of Agriculture.Dairy Products: 2007 Summary.[1]
  51. ^ "2001 Milk Production" (PDF). Marketing Service Bulletin (United States Department of Agriculture). February 2002. http://www.fmmacentral.com/PDFdata/msb0202.pdf. Retrieved 2007-03-16. 
  52. ^ Walters, Steven. "Doyle flips decision, puts cow on quarter". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=173693. Retrieved 2007-03-30. 
  53. ^ Schmid, John (2004-12-06). "Out of steam: Decline of railroad sidetracked hopes of many". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=281548. Retrieved 2007-05-18. 
  54. ^ "Commerce study slams film incentives law" The Business Journal of Milwaukee March 31, 2009
  55. ^ Naylor. "Number and Percent of Total Population by Urban/Rural Categories for Wisconsin Counties: April 1, 2000" (PDF). State of Wisconsin, Department of Administration. http://www.doa.state.wi.us/docs_view2.asp?docid=418. Retrieved 2007-03-16. 
  56. ^ Davis, Chase; Rick Romell. "City drops out of top 20". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Journal Communications). http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=337561. Retrieved 2007-03-16. 
  57. ^ U.S. Census Bureau, "Wisconsin -- Place and County Subdivision. GCT-T1-R. Population Estimates"[2]
  58. ^ Rudolph, Frederick (1990). The American College and University: A History.. The University of Georgia Press, Athens and London. 
  59. ^ Christopulos, Mike and Joslyn, Jay. "Legislators took license with ideas for slogan on plate" Milwaukee Sentinel 12-27-85; Page 5, Part 1
  60. ^ Pure Contemporary interview with Anthony Puttnam
  61. ^ "Wasted in Wisconsin" home page
  62. ^ Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (2005-11-12). "A Chronology Of Wisconsin Deer Hunting From Closed Seasons To Antlerless Permits". Press release. http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/caer/ce/news/rbnews/2005/111205scr4.htm. Retrieved 2007-03-16. 
  63. ^ Green Bay Packers, Inc., Fan Zone FAQ, accessed Feb. 28, 2010.
  64. ^ http://www.333m.com/

Bibliography

  • Barone, Michael and Richard E. Cohen. The Almanac of American Politics, 2006 (2005)
  • Current, Richard. Wisconsin: A History (2001)
  • Gara, Larry. A Short History of Wisconsin (1962)
  • Holmes, Fred L. Wisconsin (5 vols., Chicago, 1946), detailed popular history and many biographies
  • Nesbit, Robert C. Wisconsin: A History (rev. ed. 1989)
  • Pearce, Neil. The Great Lakes States of America (1980)
  • Quaife, Milo M. Wisconsin, Its History and Its People, 1634–1924 (4 vols., 1924), detailed popular history & biographies
  • Raney, William Francis. Wisconsin: A Story of Progress (1940)
  • Robinson, Arthur H. and J. B. Culver, eds., The Atlas of Wisconsin (1974)
  • Sisson, Richard, ed. The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia (2006)
  • Vogeler, I. Wisconsin: A Geography (1986)
  • Wisconsin Cartographers' Guild. Wisconsin's Past and Present: A Historical Atlas (2002)
  • Works Progress Administration. Wisconsin: A Guide to the Badger State (1941) detailed guide to every town and city, and cultural history

See additional books at History of Wisconsin

External links

Preceded by
Iowa
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Admitted on May 29, 1848 (30th)
Succeeded by
California

Coordinates: 44°30′N 89°30′W / 44.5°N 89.5°W / 44.5; -89.5


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Wisconsin [1] is a state in the Midwest in the United States of America. Wisconsin borders Illinois, and Iowa to the south, Minnesota to the west, and Michigan to the north. To the east lies the long Lake Michigan shoreline and in the northwest a smaller Lake Superior shoreline. Wisconsin is known nationwide for its dairy heritage, or as "America's Dairyland". Being home to two Great Lakes, thousands of inland lakes and waterways, the state could easily be called the nation's "waterworld" instead. The southern portion of the state is mainly agricultural and urban while the northern half is mostly rural and forested and is more similar in appearance to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The central region acts as a transition zone with both forests, farm land and small cities. The state's largest city and urban area is Milwaukee located in southeastern Wisconsin. In south-central Wisconsin lies the state capital Madison. Green Bay is listed as the state's third largest city. Wisconsin is a popular Midwestern travel destination both in the summer and winter months.

Southeast Wisconsin
Southeast Wisconsin is the state's most populous region. The major cities are Kenosha, Milwaukee (Wisconsin's largest city), Racine, and Waukesha. The popular summer getaway destination of Lake Geneva is also included in this region; as well as the scenic areas of the Kettle Moraine, and Lake Country, Waukesha Co.
Southwest Wisconsin
The major cities are La Crosse and Madison (capital city and campus of the University of Wisconsin).
Northeast Wisconsin
The major cities are Appleton (Houdini central), Green Bay (home of the intensely beloved football Packers), and Oshkosh.The popular summer getaway destination of Door County is also included in this region.
North Central Wisconsin
The major city is Wausau, gateway to the northwoods.
Northwest Wisconsin
The major cities are Eau Claire and Superior.

Understand

Talk

Wisconsinites speak with a dry Midwestern accent and tend to emphasize their vowels. Perfect examples include the words "roof" and "Wisconsin"!

People in the southeastern part of the state commonly refer to a drinking fountain as a "bubbler". Also note that unlike most of the Midwest, Wisconsinites in the eastern part of the state (especially the Milwaukee area) refer to soft drinks as "soda" rather than "pop".

It's common for people in many parts of the state to refer to ATM's as "Tyme Machines" (named for what was the most common type of ATM in numerous areas meaning Take Your Money Everywhere). Most people in the state also tend to refer to parking garages as "parking ramps".

Time

Wisconsin is in the Central Time Zone, as are all neighboring states except Michigan, which is in the Eastern Time Zone (with the exception of a small portion of the Upper Penn. which borders Wisconsin also in the central time zone).

Get in

By air

Unless flying to Milwaukee or Madison, it is often easier to enter Wisconsin by making a connection in another state. Midwest Airlines[2], with a hub in Milwaukee, serves most Wisconsin cities and is known for its excellent service but has limited service nationally. The most comprehensive service from a hub/hubs to Wisconsin is provided by Delta Airlines [3] through either Minneapolis or Detroit. United [4] also provides frequent service to the southern two thirds of the state via Chicago O'Hare. American [5] has a substantial number of flights from Chicago O'Hare as well. Other carriers providing less frequent service include Continental (Cleveland and Newark), Delta (Cincinnati and Atlanta), Frontier (Denver) and US Airways.

Milwaukee handles a very limited number of flights from Toronto and some Mexican destinations. Travelers originating international will find the greatest number of flight options if they opt to make connections through Chicago O'Hare. Connections from international services are also available through Minneapolis and Detroit as well as Cincinnati.

By boat

These services are only available from late Spring through early Fall.

  • Lake Express, [6]. Car ferry between Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Muskegon, Michigan. Two and a half hour trip.  edit
  • S.S. Badger, [7]. Car ferry between Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and Ludington, Michigan. Four hour trip.  edit

By bus

Greyhound and Megabus serve Milwaukee, Madison, and other cities. Check their websites from services, schedules, and fares.

By rail

Amtrak connects Chicago to Milwaukee via the Hiawatha service. The Chicagoland Metra also has a line that stretches up all the way to Kenosha.

  • Getting Around Wisconsin Without A Car: A Public Transportation Guide (pdf) [8].

Automobile

Unless there is a sign saying otherwise, it is legal to make a right turn after stopping for a red light.

Bus

Greyhound busses provide travel throughout the state, along all major cities and towns along I-43, US 45, I-90, I-94, and more, servicing among others Appleton, Brookfield, Eau Claire, Fond du lac, Green Bay, Kenosha, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Racine, Stevens Point, Waukesha, Wisconsin Dells, and more.

Plane

Wisconsin has two international airports, Mitchell International in Milwaukee (MKE), which is a hub for Midwest Airlines and Austin Straubel International in Green Bay (GBR). Regional airports with scheduled service exist in Madison (MSN), Appleton (ATW), Wausau (CWA), Rhinelander (RHI), La Crosse (LSE), and Eau Claire (EAU). Service to the far western "Indianhead" region of the state can be found across the Minnesota border in Minneapolis (MSP) and Duluth (DLH). Travel by air within Wisconsin has become rather impractical in the last 25 years. Unless traveling to/from Milwaukee, travel between Wisconsin cities by air requires a connection in Milwaukee, Chicago, Minneapolis or even Detroit. It is usually faster and less expensive to travel within the state via automobile.

Train

Amtrak has two lines that service the state. The Hiawatha has 7 daily roundtrips between Milwaukee and Chicago, with additional stops outside of Racine and at Mitchell Field Airport. The Empire Builder runs once daily, and effectively parallels I-94 to Chicago coming all the way from Seattle, Washington. The Train station has recently been remodeled into a nice clean and modern looking building located downtown.

See

Milwaukee has a number of good attractions:

  • Milwaukee Public Museum-has exhibits like a butterfly room, European village, and rainforest replica. There is also an IMAX theater
  • Milwaukee Art Museum-is an impressive lakefront building designed to resemble a sailboat, and contains much great art
  • Maier Lakefront Festival Park-This is where the world's largest music festival, Summerfest, is held. Other festivals are held here as well.
  • Miller Brewery Tours - The Miller brewery, 4251 West State St, a couple miles west of downtown, offers tours and samples.
  • Additionally, the city has many neighborhoods such as Bay View, Brady Street, Bronzeville (Martin Luther King Dr.), Riverwest and Third Ward which are known for shattering the stereotypical "beer, brats and bowling" views of many outsiders. These areas tend to pride themselves on their racial and/or social diversity and each are home to an eclectic mix of ethnic restaurants, shops, clothing boutiques, bars and nightclubs.

Madison is the state capital. The capitol building as one of the world's largest domes. The University of Wisconsin has several small museums and a large hill crowned by Bascom Hall. Connecting capitol square and the university is State Street, with many shops and ethnic restaurants. Other attractions include the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, UW Arborteum, and Henry Vilas Zoo.

Wisconsin Dells has many touristy attractions:

  • Noah's Ark - world's largest waterpark
  • Mt. Olympus-Competing water and go-gart park
  • Wisconsin Ducks & other tours-The Ducks and other boats provide tours of the scenic bluffs along the rivers of the area
  • Mini Golf Courses-There are many, like Pirate's Cove

Door County is a scenic peninsula with numerous sites. Peninsula State Park is the third largest in the state and has beaches, campsites, a lighthouse, and an observation tower high on a bluff. There are several other lighthouses, and wineries. The county is also well known for its cherries, and there are many stands selling them. Boats run to Washington Island off the northern tip, through and area littered with shipwrecks.

Do

Tourism is one of Wisconsin's largest industries, relying on Illini and others who enter during the summer for fishing and its parks and recreational facilities such as those in Wisconsin Dells, those entering during the fall for a very popular hunting season, and Winter for ice-fishing, ice-sailing, ice-skating, skiing, snowmobiling, and more.

If you look at your left hand, palm facing away from you, it looks like the shape of Wisconsin. Door County would be your thumb, a peninsula extending into Lake Michigan. Door County is well known as a vacation destination for family outing (esp. family reunions) and laid-back vacations. It has numerous apple and cherry orchards, boating on Lake Michigan, and many B&Bs.

Noah's Ark is "America's largest Waterpark" in Wisconsin Dells. Wisconsin Dells is full of waterparks, amusement parks, shopping and shows. It also includes Tommy Bartlett's Watershow, one of the world's greatest waterski shows. Wisconsin Dells is also famous for its ducks, truck-like vehicles that can travel on land and sea that travel from lake to lake and along the rivers of "the Dells" to demonstrate the sights and nature.

Hiking, bicycling, and in the wintertime, cross country skiing are popular overland activities. Wisconsin was one of the first states to begin conversion of abandoned railroad right-of-ways into bicycle trails. The Ice Age National Scenic Trail traverses all parts of the state, extending for more than 1,600 km (1,000 miles), and offering evidence of Wisconsin's recent natural history. The most popular segments of this trail, since they are nearest to large urban centers, are in the Kettle Moraine region.

Eat

As a consequence of the large German immigration to Wisconsin, German meals found their way into the local eating habits. Bratwursts are common and well liked, with Sheboygan claiming to be the home of the bratwurst. The Bratwurst is a state delicacy served during summer cookouts, preferably boiled in beer prior to being grilled.

The modern hamburger was said to have been first served as a meatball-like product when its creator realized they stayed on the bun better if flattened. It was first sold at a Seymour, WI fair.

Frozen custard is also a Wisconsin delicacy not found often outside the Midwest. Frozen custard is similar to ice cream (it is NOT yogurt!). It is unique in that there is far less air in it (making it less "fluffy" and far more smooth and creamy). It contains egg, making it richer and creamier. It has an inappropriate reputation as unhealthy relative to ice cream when in fact most frozen custards have less calories, less fat and less sugar, being "less healthy" only in that it has slightly more cholesterol than ice cream.

Wisconsin and the surrounding area is famous for its dairy products, and there are various regional specialties following this theme. Even fast-food chain restaurants in this region often give the option of fried cheese curds as a side in addition to the more common french fries.

Drink

Alcohol Drinking Age

The alcohol drinking age in Wisconsin is 21. However, persons under age 21 and over the age of 16 who are with a parent, legal guardian, or spouse (if the spouse is 21 or over) may, at the discretion of the establishment, be sold and allowed to drink alcohol beverages. Ninteen and twenty year old military members can drink and purchase alcohol in bars and restaurants.

Beverages

Milwaukee is home to the Milwaukee Brewers - both the baseball team and numerous breweries. Until Pabst closed its Milwaukee brewery and began contracting out its production during the late 1990s Milwaukee was the brewing capital of the nation. Although only one major brewer (Miller) remains in the city, it's brewing heritage lives on in the large number of micro-breweries and brewpubs it has to offer. Some more famous "small" breweries in Wisconsin include Point (located in the college town of Stevens Point), City (formerly G Heileman), New Glarus, Berghoff, Leinenkugel (in Chippewa Falls) and Sprecher (the latter also makes many fine sodas). Many restaurants and bars have their own local breweries inside the facility such that patrons can see the tanks as they eat.

Grays Brewing is well know for its sodas using real grain sugar (rather than the fine, processed sugar used almost everywhere else in all American food) which gives the flavor a unique and outstanding flavor. Gray's makes primarily fruit-flavored sodas and reuses (not recycles) its bottles, so bring 'em back.

Point Brewing is now offering various sodas, including rootbeer, diet rootbeer, cream and other flavors. The tour of the brewery is said to be quite fun and extensive and concerts are held in the summer (Rock the Brewery).

Sprecher Brewing also is well known, and is gaining recognition nationwide, for its sodas, particularly its root beer and unique labels such as Orange Dream, Raven Red, etc. A Root Beer or Orange Dream float with vanilla Frozen Custard is about the best beverage one can find.

Sleep

Wisconsin offers the usual assortment of chain motels, usually located just off the interstate highways, as well as a number of larger resorts. Bed & Breakfasts-- from the one bedroom in a home to large, historic, buildings, and inns are also popular. Some areas, such as Baraboo also specialize in casino hotels.

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

Map highlighting Wisconsin

Etymology

The word Wisconsin has its origins in the name given to the Wisconsin River by one of the Algonquian speaking American Indian groups living in the region at the time of European contact, probably the Miami word meskonsing (it lies red), later corrupted to Ouisconsin by French explorers; compare Ojibwe misko- (red) -osin (to lie) and -ing (locative suffix).

Pronunciation

Proper noun

Singular
Wisconsin

Plural
-

Wisconsin

  1. A state of the United States of America. Capital: Madison.
  2. A river flowing 430 miles from Wisconsin to the Mississippi River.

Derived terms

Translations

See also

External links


Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

State of Wisconsin
Flag of Wisconsin State seal of Wisconsin
Flag of Wisconsin Seal of Wisconsin
Nickname(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: Badger State, America's Dairyland
Motto(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: Forward
Map of the United States with Wisconsin highlighted
Official language(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif None
CapitalImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Madison
Largest cityImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Milwaukee
Largest metro areaImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Greater Milwaukee
AreaImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  Ranked 23rdImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
 - Total 65,498 sq miImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
(169,790 km²Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif)
 - Width 260 miles (420 kmImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif)
 - Length 310 miles (500 km)
 - % water 17
 - Latitude 42° 30′ N to 47° 05′ N
 - Longitude 86° 46′ W to 92° 53′ W
PopulationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  Ranked 20thImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
 - Total (2000Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif) 5,556,506
 - DensityImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif 98.8/sq mi 
38.13/km² (24th)
 - Median incomeImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  $47,220 (15th)
ElevationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  
 - Highest point Timms Hill[1]
1,951 ft  (595 m)
 - Mean 1,050 ft  (320 m)
 - Lowest point Lake Michigan[1]
579 ft  (77 m)
Admission to UnionImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  May 29, 1848 (30th)
GovernorImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif James Doyle (D)
U.S. SenatorsImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Herb Kohl (D)
Russ Feingold (D)
Congressional DelegationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif ListImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Time zoneImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Central: UTC-6/-5
Abbreviations WIImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Wis.Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif US-WIImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Web site www.wisconsin.gov


Wisconsin (IPA: /wɪsˈkɑnsən/) (French: Ouisconsin) is a state located near the center of the North American continent. It touches two of the five Great Lakes and is one of the fifty states that constitutes the United States of America. Wisconsin's capital is Madison, and its largest city is Milwaukee. Jim Doyle is the current Governor of Wisconsin, having held that office since January 6, 2003.

Since its founding, Wisconsin has been ethnically heterogeneous, with Yankees being among the first to arrive from New York and New England. They dominated the state's heavy industry, finance, politics and education. Large numbers of European immigrants followed them, including Germans, mostly between 1850 and 1900, Scandinavians (the largest group being Norwegian) and smaller groups of Belgians, Dutch, Swiss, Finns, Irish and others; in the 20th century, large numbers of Poles and African Americans came, settling mainly in Milwaukee.

Today, 42.6% of the population is of German ancestry, making Wisconsin one of the most German-American states in the United States. Numerous ethnic festivals are held throughout Wisconsin to celebrate its heritage. Such festivals are world renowned, and include Oktoberfest, Festa Italiana, Bastille Days, Syttende Mai (Norwegian Constitution Day), Summerfest, Brat(wurst) Days (Sheboygan, WI), Cheese Days (Monroe, WI, Mequon, WI), African World Festival, Indian Summer, Irish Fest and many others.

Contents

History

Main article: History of Wisconsin
Painting of Jean Nicolet's 1634 discovery of Wisconsin

Name

It may come from an ancient Ojibwe word, Miskwasiniing, meaning "Red-stone place," which was probably the name given to the Wisconsin River, and was recorded as Ouisconsin by the French. The spelling was revised to its current form in 1845 by Wisconsin's territorial legislature.

The modern Ojibwe name, however, is Wiishkoonsing or Wazhashkoonsing, meaning "muskrat-lodge place" or "little muskrat place." Other theories are that the name comes from words meaning "Gathering of the Waters" or "Great Rock." Originally, Ouisconsin was applied to the Wisconsin River, and later to the area as a whole when Wisconsin became a territory.

Borders

Wisconsin, bordered by the states of Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois, as well as Lakes Michigan and Superior, has been part of the United States' territory since the end of the American Revolution; the Wisconsin Territory (which included parts of other current states) was formed on July 3, 1836. Wisconsin ratified its constitution on March 13, 1848, and was admitted to the Union on May 29, 1848, as the 30th state.

Economy

Wisconsin's economy was originally based on farming (especially dairy), mining, and lumbering. In the 20th century, tourism became important, and many people living on former farms commuted to jobs elsewhere. Large-scale industrialization began in the late 19th century in the southeast of the state, with the city of Milwaukee as its major center. In recent decades, service industries, especially medicine and education, have become dominant. Wisconsin's landscape, largely shaped by the Wisconsin glaciation of the last Ice Age, makes the state popular for both tourism and many forms of outdoor recreation.

Politics

During the period of the Civil War, Wisconsin was a Republican and pro-Union stronghold. Ethno-religious issues in the late 19th century caused a brief split in the Republican coalition. Through the first half of the 20th century, Wisconsin's politics were dominated by Robert La Follette and his sons, originally of the Republican Party, but later of their own Progressive Party. Since 1945, the state has maintained a close balance between Republicans and Democrats. Republican Senator Joe McCarthy was a controversial national figure in the early 1950s. Recent leading Republicans include former Governor Tommy Thompson and Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner; prominent Democrats include Governor Jim Doyle, Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold, and Congressman David Obey.[2]

Geography

The state is bordered by the Montreal River; Lake Superior and Michigan to the north; by Lake Michigan to the east; by Illinois to the south; and by Iowa and Minnesota to the west. The state's boundaries include the Mississippi River and St. Croix River in the west, and the Menominee River in the northeast. With its location between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, Wisconsin is home to a wide variety of geographical features. The state is divided into five distinct regions. In the north, the Lake Superior Lowland occupies a belt of land along Lake Superior. Just to the south, the Northern Highland has massive mixed hardwood and coniferous forests including the 1.5 million acre (6,000 km²) Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, as well as thousands of glacial lakes, and the state's highest point, Timms Hill. In the middle of the state, the Central Plain possesses some unique sandstone formations like the Dells of the Wisconsin River in addition to rich farmland. The Eastern Ridges and Lowlands region in the southeast is home to many of Wisconsin's largest cities. In the southwest, the Western Upland is a rugged landscape with a mix of forest and farmland, including many bluffs on the Mississippi River. This region is part of the Driftless Area, which also includes portions of Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota. This area was not covered by glaciers during the most recent ice age, the Wisconsin Glaciation.
The Driftless Area of southwestern Wisconsin is characterized by bluffs carved in sedimentary rock by water from melting Ice Age glaciers.
Overall, 46% of Wisconsin's land area is covered by forest.

The varied landscape of Wisconsin makes the state a vacation destination popular for outdoor recreation. Winter events include skiing, ice fishing and snowmobile derbies. Wisconsin has many lakes of varied size; in fact Wisconsin contains 11,188 square miles (28,977 km²) of water, more than all but three other states (Alaska, Michigan & Florida). The distinctive Door Peninsula, which extends off the eastern coast of the state, contains one of the state's most beautiful tourist destinations, Door County. The area draws thousands of visitors yearly to its quaint villages, seasonal cherry picking, and ever-popular fish boils.

Areas under the management of the National Park Service include the following:

Climate

The highest temperature ever recorded in Wisconsin was in the Wisconsin Dells, on July 13, 1936, and was 114 °F (46 °C). The lowest temperature ever recorded in Wisconsin was in Couderay, on both February 2 and 4, 1996, and was –55 °F (-48 °C).[3]

Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Wisconsin Cities
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Green Bay 24/7 29/12 40/23 55/34 68/45 77/54 81/59 78/56 70/48 58/37 42/26 29/13
La Crosse 26/6 32/13 45/24 60/37 72/49 81/58 85/63 82/61 74/52 61/40 44/27 30/14
Madison 25/9 31/14 43/25 57/35 69/46 78/56 82/61 79/59 71/50 60/39 43/28 30/16
Milwaukee 28/13 32/18 43/27 54/36 66/46 76/56 81/63 79/62 72/54 60/43 46/31 33/19
[1]

Demographics

Wisconsin Population Density Map

The state has always been ethnically heterogeneous. Large numbers of Germans arrived between 1850 and 1900, centering in Milwaukee, but also settling in many small cities and farm areas in the southeast. Norwegians settled in lumbering and farming areas in the northwest. Small colonies of Belgians, Swiss, Finns and other groups came to the state. Irish Catholics mostly came to the cities. After 1900, Polish immigrants came to Milwaukee, followed by African Americans from 1940 on. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2000, Wisconsin has a population of 5,363,675.

{{US DemogTable|Wisconsin|03-55.csv|= | 91.52| 6.15| 1.30| 1.92| 0.08|= | 3.35| 0.17| 0.11| 0.03| 0.01|= | 91.00| 6.48| 1.30| 2.21| 0.09|= | 4.17| 0.20| 0.12| 0.04| 0.01|= | 2.64| 8.89| 3.13| 18.59| 6.85|= | 1.65| 8.53| 2.43| 18.63| 6.18|= | 28.67| 21.23| 10.54| 16.75| 10.87}} The five largest ancestry groups in Wisconsin are: German (42.6%), Irish (10.9%), Polish (9.3%), Norwegian (8.5%), English (6.5%)

Wisconsin, with many cultural remnants of its heavy German settlement, is known as perhaps the most "German-American" state in the Union. People of Scandinavian descent, especially Norwegians, are heavily concentrated in some western parts of the state. Wisconsin has the highest percentage of residents of Polish ancestry of any state. Menominee County is the only county in the eastern United States with an American Indian majority.

86% of Wisconsin's African American population lives in one of five cities: Milwaukee, Racine, Madison, Kenosha and Beloit while Milwaukee itself is home to nearly three-fourths of the state's African Americans. Milwaukee ranks in the top 10 major U.S. cities with the highest number of African Americans per capita. In the Great Lakes region, only Detroit and Cleveland have a higher percentage of African Americans.

33% of Wisconsin's Asian population is Hmong, with significant communities in Milwaukee, Wausau, Green Bay, Sheboygan, Appleton, La Crosse, Stevens Point, Madison, and Eau Claire.

6.4% of Wisconsin's population was reported as under 5, 25.5% under 18, and 13.1% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 50.6% of the population.

Religion

The largest denominations are Roman Catholic, Missouri Synod, Wisconsin Synod and ELCA Lutherans. The religious affiliations of the people of Wisconsin are shown in the list below:[4]

Economy

The U.S. Bank Center in Milwaukee is Wisconsin's tallest skyscraper.

According to the 2004 U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis report, Wisconsin’s gross state product was $211.7 billion. The per capita personal income was $32,157 in 2004.

The economy of Wisconsin is driven by manufacturing, agriculture, and health care. Although manufacturing accounts for a far greater part of the state's income than farming, Wisconsin is often perceived as a farming state. It produces more dairy products than any other state in the United States except California, and leads the nation in cheese production. Wisconsin ranks second behind California in overall production of milk and butter, and it ranks third in per-capita milk production, behind Idaho and Vermont.[5] Based on poll results, Governor Jim Doyle chose for Wisconsin's 50 State Quarters design a Holstein cow, an ear of corn, and a wheel of cheese.[6] Wisconsin ranks first in the production of corn for silage, cranberries, ginseng, and snap beans for processing. Wisconsin is also a leading producer of oats, potatoes, carrots, tart cherries, maple syrup, and sweet corn for processing.

Given Wisconsin's strong agricultural tradition, it is not surprising that a large part of the state's manufacturing sector deals with food processing. Some well known food brands produced in Wisconsin include Oscar Mayer, Tombstone frozen pizza, Johnsonville brats, and Usinger's sausage. Kraft Foods alone employs over 5,000 people in the state. Milwaukee is a major producer of beer and the home of Miller Brewing Company's world headquarters, the nation's second-largest brewer. Schlitz, Blatz, and Pabst used to be cornerstone breweries within the city of Milwaukee. Today, Milwaukee's economy is more diverse with an emphasis on health care. In 2004, four of the city's ten largest employers (including the top two) were part of the health care industry.[7]

The largest employers in Wisconsin in 2007 were: 1) Wal-Mart; 2) Menards; 3) Walgreen's; 4) Kohl's; 5) Kohler; 6) Marshfield Clinic; 7) Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center; 8) Quad/Graphics; 9) Target Stores; and 10) Shopko. [8]

Badger State
State Animal: Badger
State Domesticated
Animal:
Dairy Cow
State Wild Animal: White-tailed Deer
State Beverage: Milk
State Fruit: Cranberry
State Bird: Robin
State Capital: Madison
State Dog: American Water Spaniel
State Fish: Muskellunge
State Flower: Wood Violet
State Fossil: Trilobite
State Grain: Corn
State Insect: European honey bee
State Motto: Forward
State Song: "On"
State Tree: Sugar Maple
State Mineral: Galena
(Lead sulfide)
State Rock: Red Granite
State Soil: Antigo Silt Loam
State Dance: Polka
State Symbol of
Peace:
Mourning Dove

Wisconsin is also home to several transportation equipment and machinery manufacturers. Major Wisconsin companies in these categories include the Kohler Company, Rockwell Automation, Johnson Controls, Briggs & Stratton, Miller Electric, Milwaukee Electric Tool Company, Bucyrus International,Super Steel Products Corp., Oshkosh Truck, and Harley-Davidson. Wisconsin also ranks first nationwide in the production of paper products; the lower Fox River from Lake Winnebago to the Bay of Green Bay has 24 paper mills along its 39 mile (63 km) stretch.

The development and manufacture of health care devices and software is a growing sector of the state's economy with key players such as GE Healthcare, Epic Systems, and TomoTherapy.

Tourism is also a major industry in Wisconsin — the state's third largest, according to the Department of Tourism. This is largely attributed to the 90 attractions in the Wisconsin Dells family vacation destination area, which attracts nearly 3 million visitors per year. Tourist destinations such as the House on the Rock near Spring Green and Circus World Museum in Baraboo also draw thousands of visitors annually, and festivals such as Summerfest and the EAA Oshkosh Airshow draw national attention along with hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Wisconsin collects personal income tax based on four income-level brackets, which range from 4.6% to 6.75%. The state sales and use tax rate is 5%. Fifty-nine counties have an additional sales/use tax of 0.5%.[9] The counties surrounding Milwaukee County have an additional 0.1% tax imposed upon them to fund the new baseball stadium, Miller Park, which was constructed around the turn of the century. Retailers who make sales subject to applicable county taxes must collect 5.6% tax on their retail sales.

The most common property tax assessed on Wisconsin residents is the real property tax, or their residential property tax. Wisconsin does not impose a property tax on vehicles but does levy an annual registration fee. Property taxes are the most important tax revenue source for Wisconsin's local governments, as well as major methods of funding school districts, vocational technical colleges, special purpose districts and tax incremental finance districts. Equalized values are based on the full market value of all taxable property in the state, except for agricultural land. In order to provide property tax relief for farmers, the value of agricultural land is determined by its value for agricultural uses, rather than for its possible development value. Equalized values are used to distribute state aid payments to counties, municipalities, and technical colleges. Assessments prepared by local assessors are used to distribute the property tax burden within individual municipalities.

Wisconsin does not assess a tax on intangible property. Wisconsin does not collect inheritance taxes. Wisconsin's estate tax is decoupled from the federal estate tax laws; therefore the state imposes its own estate tax on certain large estates [2].

Law and government

The capital is Madison.

State Executive Officers

See also:

Politics

The Little White Schoolhouse of Ripon

Much of the state's political history involved coalitions among different ethnic groups. The most famous controversy dealt with foreign language teaching in schools. This was fought out in the Bennett Law campaign of 1890, when the Germans switched to the Democratic Party because of the Republican Party's support of the Bennett Law, which led to a major victory for the Democrats.

The cities of Wisconsin have been active in organizing themselves to provide for greater government transparency by increasing the availability of legislative information on the internet. Currently three out of the top five most populous cities in Wisconsin provide their constituents with internet based access of all public records directly from the cities’ databases. Wisconsin cities started to make this a priority after Milwaukee began doing so, on their page, in 2001. One such city, Madison, has been named the Number 1 digital city by the Center for Digital Government in consecutive years. Nearly 18 percent of Wisconsin’s population has the ability to access their municipality’s information in this way.

Lawmakers in Wisconsin

1984 was the last election that Wisconsin supported a Republican Presidential candidate. However, both the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections were close, with Wisconsin receiving heavy doses of national advertising because it was a "swing" or pivot state. Al Gore carried the presidential vote in 2000 by only 5,700 votes, and John Kerry won Wisconsin in 2004 by 11,000 votes. Republicans had a stronghold in the Fox Valley but elected a Democrat, Steve Kagen, of Appleton, for the 8th Congressional District in 2006. Republicans have held Waukesha County). The City of Milwaukee itself heads the list of Wisconsin's Democratic strongholds which also includes Madison and the state's Native American reservations. WIsconsin's largest Congressional district, the 7th Congressional district has been a strong Democratic hold since 1969, and has re-elected Congressman David Obey with 62% of the vote. Rep. Obey chairs the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

  • Wisconsin's political history encompasses, on the one hand, "Fighting Bob" La Follette and the Progressive movement; and on the other, Joe McCarthy, the controversial anti-Communist censured by the Senate during the 1950s.
  • In the early 20th century, the Socialist Party of America had a base in Milwaukee (the phenomenon was referred to as sewer socialism because the socialists were more concerned with public works and reform than with revolution); it faded out in the late 1950s, largely due to the red scare and racial tensions.[10] The first Socialist mayor of a large city in the United States was Emil Seidel, elected mayor of Milwaukee in 1910; another Socialist, Daniel Hoan, was mayor of Milwaukee from 1916 to 1940; and a third, Frank P. Zeidler, from 1948-1960. Socialist newspaper editor Victor Berger was repeatedly elected as a U.S. Representative, although he was prevented from serving for some time due to his opposition to the First World War.
  • William Proxmire, a Democratic Senator (1957-89) dominated the Democratic party for years; he was best known for attacking waste and fraud in federal spending.
  • Democrat Russ Feingold was the only Senator to vote against the Patriot Act in 2001.
  • Democrat Tammy Baldwin from Madison was the first, and is currently the only, openly lesbian U.S. Representative.[11]
  • In 2004, Gwen Moore, a Democrat from Milwaukee, became Wisconsin's first African-American U.S. Representative.

The 2006, Democrats gained in a national sweep of opposition to the Bush administration, and the Iraq War. The retiring GOP 8th District Congressman, Mark Green, of Green Bay, ran against Gov. Doyle, amidst a scandal of illegal campaign contributions. Green lost by 8% statewide, including his own district and hometown. Doyle became the first Democratic Governor to be re-elected in 32 years. The Republicans lost control of the state Senate with 3 Republicans losing their seats. The Democrats gained 8 seats in the state Assembly, but the Republicans retained a 3 vote majority, in that house.

Important municipalities

Wisconsin counties

Wisconsin's self-promotion as "America's Dairyland" sometimes leads to a mistaken impression that it is an exclusively rural state. However, Wisconsin contains cities and towns of all sizes. Over 68% of Wisconsin residents live in urban areas and the Greater Milwaukee area is home to roughly one-third of the state's population.[12] Milwaukee is slightly larger than Boston and is the beginning of a largely developed string of cities that stretches down the western edge of Lake Michigan into greater Chicago and also into northwestern Indiana. Milwaukee proper is also the 22nd-largest city in the country,[13] with around 600,000 inhabitants. This string of cities along the western edge of Lake Michigan is generally considered to be an example of a megalopolis. Madison's dual identity as state capital and college town gives it a cultural richness unusual in a city its size. Madison is also a very fast-growing city, that has around 220,000 people. Medium-size cities dot the state and anchor a network of working farms surrounding them. Cities and villages are incorporated urban areas in Wisconsin. Towns are unincorporated minor civil divisions of counties.

Cities in Wisconsin with population of 50,000 or more (as of the 2005 census estimate) include:

See also: List of municipalities in Wisconsin by population and Political subdivisions of Wisconsin

Education

Colleges and universities

Wisconsin, along with Minnesota and Michigan, was among the Midwestern leaders in the emergent American state university movement following the Civil War in the United States. By the turn of the century, education in the state advocated the "Wisconsin Idea," which emphasized purpose for service to the people and epitomized progressive movements within colleges and universities at the time. [14] Today, public education in Wisconsin includes both the 26-campus University of Wisconsin System, headquartered in Madison, and the 16-campus Wisconsin Technical College System which coordinates with the University of Wisconsin. Notable private colleges and universities include Marquette University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Medical College of Wisconsin, Beloit College, and Lawrence University, among others.

See also: List of colleges and universities in Wisconsin
See also: List of high schools in Wisconsin
See also: List of school districts in Wisconsin

Sports

Main article: Sports in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is represented by major league teams in three sports: American football, baseball, and basketball. Lambeau Field, located in Green Bay is home to the National Football League's Green Bay Packers. The Packers have been part of the NFL since the league's second season in 1921 and currently hold the record for the most NFL titles, earning the city of Green Bay the self-given nickname "Titletown". The Green Bay Packers are one of the most successful small-market professional sports franchises in the world and have won 12 NFL championships, including the first two AFL-NFL Championship games and Super Bowl XXXI. The city fully supports their team, as evidenced by the 60,000 person waiting list for season tickets to Lambeau Field, which is referred to as the "frozen tundra" and is considered by many football enthusiasts to be "hallowed ground." The Milwaukee Brewers, the state's major league baseball team, are based out of Miller Park in Milwaukee. Before Miller Park was opened in the year 2001, the Brewers played their home games at County Stadium. In 1982, the Brewers won the American League Championship, marking their most successful season. The Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association play home games at the Bradley Center. The Bucks won the NBA Championship in 1971. The state also has minor league teams in hockey (Milwaukee Admirals) and baseball (the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, based in Appleton.)

In addition to professional teams, Wisconsin is home to many successful college sports programs. The Wisconsin Badgers, teams based out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, hold many NCAA division championship titles in their respective sports. This includes a historic dual-championship in 2006 when both the women's and men's hockey teams won national titles. The Wisconsin football team has also seen much success after the hiring of Barry Alvarez as head coach. Alvarez lead the Badgers to three Rose Bowl victories, including back to back victories in the years 1999 and 2000. The Badgers football program, playing at Camp Randall Stadium, enjoys similar loyalty to the Packers; both teams are known to sell out their entire schedules far in advance.

The Marquette Golden Eagles of the Big East Conference are the state's other major collegiate program. They are known nationally for their Men's Basketball team which, under the direction of Al McGuire, won the NCAA National Championship in 1977. The team, led by Dwyane Wade, returned to the Final Four in 2003.

Miscellaneous topics

USS Wisconsin was named in honor of this state.

The Milwaukee Art Museum

Known as "America's Dairyland," Wisconsin is also known for cheese. Citizens of Wisconsin are referred to as Wisconsinites, although a common nickname (sometimes used pejoratively) among non-residents is "Cheeseheads." This is due to the prevalence and quality of cheesemaking in the state, and for the novelty hats made of yellow foam in the shape of a triangular block of cheese. Cheese curds are an extremely popular treat, exported as gifts throughout the country. The state is also known for its alcohol production and consumption, and it is historically home to a large number of breweries and bars per capita. A lesser known, but still significant nickname for Wisconsin is "The Copper State," referring to the copper mines in the northwestern part of the state.

Wisconsin is very popular for outdoor activities especially hunting and fishing. One of the most popular game animals is the Whitetail deer. In 2005, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reported the population of Wisconsin's deer herd to be about 1.4-1.5 million. It is common for over 600,000 deer hunting licenses to be sold each year.[15] Visitors to Wisconsin during the Thanksgiving holiday will see many hunters in rural areas wearing blaze orange gear for Wisconsin's gun-deer hunting season.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin

The Milwaukee Art Museum in Milwaukee is known for its unique architecture. The Milwaukee County Zoological Gardens cover over 200 acres (800,000 m²) of land on the far west side of the city. Madison is home to the Vilas Zoo which is free for all visitors, and the Olbrich Gardens conservatory, as well as the hub of cultural activity at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It is also known for Monona Terrace, a convention center that was designed by Taliesin Architect Anthony Puttnam, based loosely on a 1930s design by Frank Lloyd Wright, a world-renowned architect and Wisconsin native who was born in Richland Center.[16] Wright's home and studio in the 20th century was at Taliesin, south of Spring Green. Decades after Wright's death, Taliesin remains an architectural office and school for his followers.

Wisconsin has sister-state relationships with the Germany's Hesse, Japan's Chiba Prefecture, Mexico's Jalisco, China's Heilongjiang, and Nicaragua.[17]

See also

Wisconsin, showing rivers and roads

References

  1. ^ a b Elevations and Distances in the United States. U.S Geological Survey (29 April 2005). Retrieved on 2006-11-09.
  2. ^ Conant, James K. ({{subst:#ifexist:2006-03-01|[[2006-03-01|]]|[[Wikipedia:2006-03-01|]]}}). "1", Wisconsin Politics and Government: America's Laboratory of Democracy. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0803215487. 
  3. ^ Benedetti, Michael. Climate of Wisconsin. The University of Wisconsin-Extension. Retrieved on 2007-03-16.
  4. ^ Carroll, Brett E. ({{subst:#ifexist:2000-12-28|[[2000-12-28|]]|[[Wikipedia:2000-12-28|]]}}). The Routledge Historical Atlas of Religion in America, Routledge Atlases of American History. {{subst:#ifexist:Routledge|[[Routledge|]]|[[Wikipedia:Routledge|]]}}. ISBN 0415921376. 
  5. ^ "2001 Milk Production" (PDF), Marketing Service Bulletin, {{subst:#ifexist:United States Department of Agriculture|[[United States Department of Agriculture|]]|[[Wikipedia:United States Department of Agriculture|]]}}, February 2002. Retrieved on 2007-03-16. 
  6. ^ Walters, Steven. "Doyle flips decision, puts cow on quarter", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved on 2007-03-30. 
  7. ^ Schmid, John. "Out of steam: Decline of railroad sidetracked hopes of many", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2004-12-06. Retrieved on 2007-05-18. 
  8. ^ Wisconsin's Large Employer Search Results
  9. ^ County Sales Tax Distribution-2007. Wisconsin Department of Revenue ({{subst:#ifexist:2007-03-06|[[2007-03-06|]]|[[Wikipedia:2007-03-06|]]}}). Retrieved on 2007-03-24.
  10. ^ Smith, Kevin D. (Spring 2003). "From Socialism to Racism: The Politics of Class and Identity in Postwar Milwaukee". Michigan Historical Review 29 (1): 71-95. 
  11. ^ Bull, Chris. "Take a seat - openly lesbian Representative Tammy Baldwin", {{subst:#ifexist:The Advocate|[[The Advocate|]]|[[Wikipedia:The Advocate|]]}}, LPI Media, {{subst:#ifexist:1999-02-16|[[1999-02-16|]]|[[Wikipedia:1999-02-16|]]}}. Retrieved on 2007-03-16. 
  12. ^ Naylor. Number and Percent of Total Population by Urban/Rural Categories for Wisconsin Counties: April 1, 2000 (PDF). State of Wisconsin, Department of Administration. Retrieved on 2007-03-16.
  13. ^ Davis, Chase, Rick Romell. "City drops out of top 20", {{subst:#ifexist:Milwaukee Journal Sentinel|[[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel|]]|[[Wikipedia:Milwaukee Journal Sentinel|]]}}, {{subst:#ifexist:Journal Communications|[[Journal Communications|]]|[[Wikipedia:Journal Communications|]]}}. Retrieved on 2007-03-16. 
  14. ^ Rudolph, Frederick (1990). The American College and University: A History.. {{subst:#ifexist:The University of Georgia Press, Athens and London|[[The University of Georgia Press, Athens and London|]]|[[Wikipedia:The University of Georgia Press, Athens and London|]]}}. 
  15. ^ Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources ({{subst:#ifexist:2005-11-12|[[2005-11-12|]]|[[Wikipedia:2005-11-12|]]}}). A Chronology Of Wisconsin Deer Hunting From Closed Seasons To Antlerless Permits. Press releaseImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif. Retrieved on 2007-03-16Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif.
  16. ^ Pure Contemporary interview with Anthony Puttnam
  17. ^ Sister-States and Cities. International Wisconsin ({{subst:#ifexist:2006-03-20|[[2006-03-20|]]|[[Wikipedia:2006-03-20|]]}}). Retrieved on 2007-03-16.

Bibliography

  • Michael Barone and Richard E. Cohen. The Almanac of American Politics, 2006 (2005)
  • Richard Current, Wisconsin: A History (2001)
  • Larry Gara; A Short History of Wisconsin 1962
  • Holmes, Fred L. Wisconsin (5 vols., Chicago, 1946), detailed popular history and many biographies
  • Robert C. Nesbit, Wisconsin: A History (rev. ed. 1989)
  • Pearce, Neil. The Great Lakes States of America (1980)
  • Quaife, Milo M. Wisconsin, Its History and Its People, 1634-1924 (4 vols., 1924), detailed popular history & biographies
  • Raney, William Francis. Wisconsin: A Story of Progress (1940)
  • Arthur H. Robinson and J. B. Culver, ed., The Atlas of Wisconsin (1974)
  • Richard Sisson ed. The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia (2006)
  • I. Vogeler, Wisconsin: A Geography (1986)
  • WPA, Wisconsin: A Guide to the Badger State 1941; detailed guide to every town and city, and cultural history

See additional books at History of Wisconsin

External links

All wikimedia projects
Articles on this topic in other Wikimedia projects can be found at: Wisconsin



CoordinatesImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: 44.5° N 89.5° W

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Wisconsin. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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Subdivision of country United States  +

This article uses material from the "Wisconsin" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.







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