History Of Madison WI

A little history about Madison WI – Madison, Wisconsin has a very interesting history surrounding its origins. It was started by former federal judge James Duane Doty (yes, weíre glad itís not called Dotyville!) back in 1836. Doty had the brilliant idea to purchase more than 1,000 acres (approximately 4 square kilometers) with the specific idea to develop a new city. He purchased the area lying on the isthmus between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona.

Interestingly enough, the Wisconsin Territory had just been established previously that year. The territorial legislature, who gathered in Belmont, Wisconsin, was charged with the duty of selecting a permanent location for the capitol of the territory. James Doty believed his new, as yet developed city to be the ideal location for such a site.

To help encourage voters, Doty named his city after the 4th President of the United States, James Madison, who had recently passed away that same year. He also named the streets of the city after former Presidents, further enticing voters. Throughout his vigorous lobbying, he offered potential voters prime land for low-cost prices.

Amazingly, though Madison was only a city in blueprint, and not yet developed, legislatures agreed that Madison was indeed the perfect location for the capital city, voting it into effect on November 28th, due in part to the cities prime location between Prairie du Chien, a strategic post in the west, and Milwaukee to the east. It was also conveniently aligned between Wisconsinís oldest city, Green Bay, to the north west, and well populated lead mining towns to the south west.

It would be ten more years before Madison, Wisconsin would be developed enough to earn the title of an incorporated village with a population of 626. Two years later, in 1848, Wisconsin was declared a state. Madison remained the capitol city, and became the home of the University of Wisconsin Madison, built in 1849. Twenty years after its being named the capitol of Wisconsin, Madison was finally declared a city in 1856, with a population of 6,863.