Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Madison (Wisconsin)

MADISON, a city of the United States, the capital of Wisconsin, and seat of justice of Dane county, lies towards the south of the State, in 43° 4′ N. lat. and 89° 21′ W. long., 75 miles west of Milwaukee. In the beauty of its situation it has few rivals, occupying as it does the undulating isthmus between Mendota and Menona, two of the lakes which give name to the Four Lake Region, connected with the Mississippi by Yahara or Catfish river and Rock river; and the cool summer climate, which it owes to the fact that it stands 788 feet above the level of the sea, and 210 feet above Lake Michigan, renders it a health resort of some value, especially for consumptive patients. The State capitol, situated in the midst of a finely wooded park of 13 acres, is a rather imposing but hybrid edifice of white limestone crowned by a central dome rising 200 feet above the level of the basement; it was originally built in room of an earlier capitol in 1860, at a cost of $400,000, and has since been greatly enlarged. About a mile to the west of the capitol stand, on the high grounds known as College hill, the buildings of the Wisconsin university, an institution dating from 1850, and attended by about eight hundred students. Other buildings of note are the United States post-office and court-house, the soldiers orphans home, and at some distance from the city the State lunatic asylum. The Wisconsin Historical Society has a library of 58,000 volumes. Various lines belonging to the Chicago and North-Western Railway and to the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St Paul Railway meet at Madison; and the city has not only a good general trade, but manufactures ploughs and other agricultural implements, waggons, woollen goods, and flour. The population, which was only 1525 in 1850, appears in the three later censuses as 6611, 9176, and 10,325. When the site was selected (1836) for the capital of the territory of Wisconsin it was altogether unoccupied.