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Wisconsin

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General background about this state


Wisconsin Flag     Wisconsin Great Seal


WISCONSIN


Cities
  Appleton
  Eau Claire
  Green Bay
  Janesville
  Kenosha
  Madison
  Milwaukee
  Oshkosh
  Racine
  Waukesha
  West Allis





Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States, in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions.. It is bordered by Minnesota and Iowa to the west, Michigan and Lake Superior to the north, Lake Michigan to the east, with Iowa and Illinois to the south.

  • ABBREVIATION: WI
  • NICKNAME: The Badger State
  • POPULATION: 5,726,398 (2012 est.)
  • CAPITAL: Madison
  • STATE BIRD: Cardinal
  • STATE FLOWER: Wood Violet
  • AREA: 65,498 sq. mi.
  • TIME ZONE: Central
  • ENTERED UNION: May 29, 1848
  • ALTITUDE: High, 1,951 ft. Timms Hill
  • CLIMATE: Warm summers, cold winters, both marked by extremes of temperature. Moderate rainfall.

 

Wholly agricultural when it joined the Union in 1848, Wisconsin to this day appears predominantly rural. On the uplands of the interior and on the ridges and lowlands of the east, the tillable soil left by the glacial ice sheet, combined with an annual rainfall of 30 to 35 inches and a growing season of 120 to 180 days, makes this region the dairy capital of the nation. Each year its farms produce over three billion gallons of milk from over a million dairy cows, almost 14% of the country's total output. As much as 90% of Wisconsin's milk is made into cheese and 90% of that famous Wisconsin Cheese is sold outside of the state's borders. Wisconsin has led the United States in cheese-making since 1910 and produces over 25% of the country's total output. The state is also a major grower of hay, corn, peas, beets, and cranberries. Wisconsin is usually a top ten state for livestock products and total agricultural production.

Yet, like much of the Midwest, Wisconsin offsets the man on the land with the man in the city. For, despite agriculture's importance, the number of people living on farms is about 137,000; only about 2.4% of the total population. Most of the population is concentrated in the southeast, whose highways, rail lines, rivers, and Great Lakes ports like Milwaukee help to make Wisconsin one of the top 5 states for manufacturing. Milwaukee itself is a major manufacturer of heavy machinery and is known as "The Machine Shop of the World", and they have a pretty good track record when it comes to beer production too; Oshkosh is probably best known for OshKosh B'Gosh, a manufacturer of overalls and children's clothing founded in Oshkosh in 1895, but the town is also well known its production of severe heavy duty all wheel drive defense or military trucks, aircraft or emergency rescue, and fire and emergency trucks; and the city of Green Bay has a great reputation in the production of paper, plastics, steel furniture, tissue paper, gloves, fertilizers, clothing, and auto parts, just to name a few. Anyway you look at it, Wisconsin knows how to manufacture products.

Milwaukee Art Museum
Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin

Of the states west of the Alleghenies, Wisconsin was among the first to be populated largely by immigrants who came directly from continental Europe after the political upheavals of 1848. Today many of the state's communities retain a distinctive European flavor. Swiss-Americans dominate the cheese-making town of New Glarus, near Madison. German-Americans brought their brewing skills to their new home in Milwaukee. Russians live around Lake Winnebago, while Icelanders have clustered on Washington Island. In addition there are groups of Poles, Norwegians, and Austrians scattered about the state. "We are not a melting pot, but a beef stew", John Rector Barton, once a University of Wisconsin sociologist, had observed. "We were all thrown together in the same pot, but the beef remained the same, and the carrots the same, and the peas the same."

The Big Cheese State
Wisconsin, The Big-Cheese State

 

FUN FACTS:

  • The first hydroelectric plant in the country was built on the Fox River in Appleton in 1882.
  • Baraboo is the birthplace of the Ringling Brothers Circus.
  • The first snow-machine patent was issued to Carl Eliason of Sayner, Wisconsin. Today the state has more than 25,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails, with over 200,000 registered snowmobiles (2015 est.).
  • In 1856 a German immigrant named Margarethe Schurz opened the first kindergarten in the United States in Watertown. Her concept of teaching young children through play quickly spread across the U.S.
  • Door County, which includes Door Peninsula, has more than 250 miles of shoreline, more than any other county in the United States.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in Pepin in 1867. Her famous 'Little House' books are based on her childhood life in the forests and prairies of the Midwest.

 

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