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WISCONSIN, a State in the North Central Division of the North American Union; bounded by Lakes Michigan and Superior, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota; admitted to the Union, May 20, 1848; capital, Madison; number of counties, 71; area, 56,066 square miles; pop. (1890) 1,686,880; (1900) 2,069,042; (1910) 2,333,860; (1920) 2,632,067.

Topography.—Wisconsin is an elevated undulating plain with an altitude of from 600 to 1,800 feet above the sea. A ridge about 30 miles S. of Lake Superior forms the watershed of the State, the ground sloping down in all directions. A high cliff extends along the shore of Green Bay and Lake Winnebago. The Mississippi river extends along the W. boundary for a distance of 250 miles, and receives the St. Croix, Chippewa, Black, and Wisconsin rivers. Other important rivers are the Rock, St. Louis, Bois Brulé, Bad, and Montreal, flowing into Lake Superior; the Menomonee, Peshtigo, Oconto, Pensaukee, and Fox, flowing into Green Bay; and the Manitowoc, Sheboygan, and Milwaukee, emptying into Lake Michigan. The State is famous for its numerous beautiful lakes among which are the Winnebago, St. Croix, Pepin, Poygan, Pewaukee, Geneva, Green, Koshkonong, Oconomowoc, and Four Lakes. The lake shores have numerous excellent harbors, including Green Bay, Chequamegon Bay, and Port Washington.

Geology and Mineralogy.—The Laurentian, Devonian, and Archæan periods are all well represented in Wisconsin. The Archæan rocks cover an area in the N. central portion of the State, with an extreme length of 240 miles, and 160 miles wide. They consist principally of metamorphic granite, gneiss, syenite, diorite, schists, and slates, S. of this tract, and along the Lake Superior slope are beds of Silurian origin. The mineral resources of the State are very extensive. Lead, copper, iron, and zinc occur abundantly and are mined with profit. The production of zinc is about 50,000 tons annually, valued at over $10,000,000. The iron production in 1919, almost entirely from the Lake Superior district, was 52,003,000 tons, compared with 59,779,794 tons in 1918. The iron produced is entirely hematite. The production of pig iron in 1918 was 363,225 tons, valued at $13,832,908. The State is an important producer of stone and mineral waters.

Agriculture.—Much of the N. part of the State is covered with extensive forests of white pine, balsam, hemlock, and other cone-bearing evergreens. The soil in the N. is not well adapted to agriculture, but the prairies in the S. and central portions are exceedingly rich and productive, raising the cereals, tobacco, and potatoes in great quantities. The acreage, production, and value of the principal crops in 1919 was as follows: Corn, 1,820,000 acres, production 85,540,000 bushels, value $106,925,000; oats, 2,339,000 acres, production 78,123,000 bushels, value $54,686,000; wheat, 549,000 acres, production 7,355,000 bushels, value, $15,814,000; rye, 525,000 acres, production 8,295,000 bushels, value $11,033,000; barley, 512,000 acres, production 13,568,000 bushels, value $16,417,000; tobacco, 48,000 acres, production 60,960,000 pounds, value $13,533,000; hay, 2,677,000 acres, production 4,738,000 tons, value $96,181,000; potatoes, 300,000 acres, production 28,200,000 bushels, value $39,480,000.

Manufactures.—There were in 1914 9,104 manufacturing establishments, employing 194,310 wage earners. The capital invested was $754,287,000; wages paid $112,193,000; value of the materials used $417,415,000; and the value of the finished product $695,172,000.

Banking.—On Oct. 31, 1919, there were reported 147 National banks in operation, having $22,120,000 in capital; $12,711,000 in outstanding circulation; and $53,362,000 in United States bonds. There were also 775 State banks with $24,558,000 capital, and $8,791,000 surplus. The exchanges at the United States clearing house at Milwaukee during the year ending Sept. 30, 1919, aggregated $1,539,000,000, an increase over those of the preceding year of $104,917,000.

Education.—Education is compulsory for all children between the ages of 7 and 14; in the cities for the entire school year and in towns and villages, for six months. There were in 1919 405,467 pupils enrolled in the elementary schools, with 14,475 teachers. There were 373 high schools, with 51,388 pupils. The State has nine normal schools, with about 4,000 students. The universities for higher education include the University of Wisconsin, at Madison; Beloit College, at Beloit; Marquette College and Concordia College, at Milwaukee; Lawrence University, at Appleton; and the Milwaukee Downer College for Women, at Milwaukee.

Finances.—The receipts for the fiscal year 1918-1919 amounted to $26,582,892, and the disbursements to $24,094,807. There was a balance at the end of the year amounting to $7,558,647. The assessed valuation of all property on September 30, 1919, was $4,068,268,534. The bonded indebtedness of the State in 1919 was $1,851,000.

Churches.—The strongest denominations in the State are the Roman Catholic; Lutheran, Independent Synods; Methodist Episcopal; Congregational; Regular Baptist; Evangelical Association; German Evangelical Synod, and Presbyterian.

Railways.—The total railway mileage in 1919 was 7,736.18 miles. The roads having the longest mileage are the Chicago and Northwestern, the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul and the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie railroads.

State Government.—The governor is elected for a term of two years. Legislative sessions are held biennially in odd years, beginning on the second Wednesday in January, and there is no limit to length of session. The Legislature has 33 members in the Senate and 100 in the House. There are 11 representatives in Congress.

History.—The region W. of Lake Michigan was first explored and occupied by French missionaries and traders in 1639, and the country was held thenceforward under French dominion till its surrender to Great Britain in 1763. Canadian law governed the territory, and the English kept possession with a military force at Green Bay till 1796, when it reverted to the Americans, who included it within the extended limits of their government of the Northwest Territories. In 1809 Wisconsin was annexed to the Territory of Illinois, as then formed, and so continued till the conversion of the latter into a State in 1818, when Wisconsin, which was yet a wilderness, was annexed to Michigan Territory, for such government as was needed. In 1827, lead was discovered in large quantities at Potosi and Mineral Point, and there was a great rush of immigrants to that section. The Indians soon became troublesome, and the Black Hawk War ensued in 1832. Treaties were made with the Indians soon after, by which they removed to reservations beyond the Mississippi. In 1836, the population had increased to such an extent that a Territorial government was organized, which at first included a part of the upper peninsula of Michigan, the whole of Minnesota and Iowa, and that part of the Dakotas lying E. of the Missouri and White Earth rivers. On the admission of Michigan into the Union as a State, a part of the Lake Superior region was set off to her, and when the Territory of Iowa was formed, it included all the region W. of the Mississippi. The first effort to procure the admission of Wisconsin to the Union as a State was made in 1846. A constitution drafted during that year was ratified in March, 1848, and the State was admitted to the Union by Act of Congress, May 29, 1848. Under this constitution, with some amendments, it is still governed.


Collier's 1921 Wisconsin.jpg
Copyright, L. L. Poates Eng. Co., 1921