Madison, Wisconsin

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Wisconsin State Capitol

Madison is the capital of Wisconsin, a state of the United States of America. As of the 2000 census, it has a population of 208,054, making it the second largest city in Wisconsin. It is the county seat of Dane County.

Together with surrounding communities, the Madison metropolitan area was, according to the 2000 census, home to 366,950 people. The city forms the core of the United States Census Bureau's Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Dane County and neighboring Iowa and Columbia counties, had a 2000 census population of 501,774.

Madison is 77 miles west of Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin.

Template:US City infobox



Missing image
View of Madison. Taken from the Water Cure, South Side of Lake Monona, 1855.

Madison was created in 1836 when a former federal judge named James Duane Doty purchased over a thousand acres (4 km²) of swamp and forest land surrounding lakes Mendota, Monona, Kegonsa, and Waubesa, then known as the Four Lakes region, with the intention of building a new city on the site. Wisconsin Territory had been created earlier in the year, and the territorial legislature had convened in Belmont, Wisconsin. One of the legislature's tasks was to choose a permanent location for the territory's capital city. James Doty lobbied aggressively for the legislature to select Madison as the new capital, offering buffalo robes to the freezing legislators and promising choice Madison lots at discount prices to undecided voters. He had James Slaughter plat two cities in the area, Madison and "The City of Four Lakes", near present-day Middleton. Despite the fact that Madison was still only a city on paper, the territorial legislature voted on November 28 in favor of choosing Madison for its capital largely because of its location halfway between the new and growing cities around Milwaukee in the east and the long established strategic post of Prairie du Chien in the west, and because of its location between the highly populated lead mining regions in the southwest and Wisconsin's oldest city, Green Bay in the northeast. Being named for a much-admired founding father who had just passed away, and having streets named after every founding father, also helped attract votes.

Missing image
Madison's skyline as seen from the shore of Lake Monona

The cornerstone for the Wisconsin capitol building was laid in 1837, and the legislature first met there in 1838. Madison was incorporated as a village in 1846, with a population of 626. When Wisconsin became a state in 1848, Madison remained the capital city, and it became host to the University of Wisconsin. The Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad connected to Madison in 1854. Madison became a city in 1856, with a population of 6,863.

During the American Civil War, Madison served as a center of the Union Army in Wisconsin. Camp Randall was built and was used as a training camp, a military hospital, and a prison camp for captured Confederate soldiers. After the war ended, Camp Randall was absorbed into the grounds of the University of Wisconsin. Camp Randall Stadium was built over the site in 1917.

Madison continued its growth throughout the 20th Century. Today Madison is the second largest city in Wisconsin, and continues to grow fast, and steadily.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 219.3 km² (84.7 mi²). 177.9 km² (68.7 mi²) of it is land and 41.5 km² (16.0 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 18.91% water.

The city completely surrounds the smaller Town of Madison, as well as Maple Bluff and Shorewood Hills.


Missing image
View of Lake Monona

The city is often described as The City of Four Lakes, comprised of Lake Mendota, Lake Monona, Lake Wingra and Lake Waubesa. The downtown is located on an isthmus between lakes Mendota and Monona, but the city has long since expanded far beyond. The lakes are connected via the Yahara River to Lake Kegonsa. Eventually the Yahara flows into the Rock River and beyond to the Mississippi River.


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 208,054 people, 89,019 households, and 42,462 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,169.8/km² (3,029.7/mi²). There are 92,394 housing units at an average density of 519.5/km² (1,345.4/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 83.96% White, 5.84% African American, 0.36% Native American, 5.80% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.67% from other races, and 2.32% from two or more races. 4.09% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. The metropolitan area of Madison as of 2003 is 526,742 inhabitants, which is the 2nd biggest in Wisconsin. With all the universities and colleges in Madison, the population exceeds 260,000.

There are 89,019 households out of which 22.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.0% are married couples living together, 7.8% have a female householder with no husband present, and 52.3% are non-families. 35.3% of all households are made up of individuals and 7.1% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.19 and the average family size is 2.87.

In the city the population is spread out with 17.9% under the age of 18, 21.4% from 18 to 24, 32.2% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 9.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 31 years. For every 100 females there are 96.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 95.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $41,941, and the median income for a family is $59,840. Males have a median income of $36,718 versus $30,551 for females. The per capita income for the city is $23,498. 15.0% of the population and 5.8% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 11.4% of those under the age of 18 and 4.5% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


Madison is home to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as Edgewood College,Madison Area Technical College, and Herzing College, giving the city a student population of nearly 50,000. The University of Wisconsin in Madison contributes the vast majority of these, with roughly 40,000 students enrolled. This makes it one of the largest public universities in the United States. It is consistently rated among the top post-secondary schools in the country, and has outstanding courses, professors, and programs. Sports make up a large part of the campus experience at the university, both intramural and intercollegiate. The University's athletic teams, nicknamed the "Badgers", are consistently among the best in United States, drawing throngs of students, alumni, and state residents to their contests.

The public school system in Madison is one of the best in the state. It provides roughly 30,000 children with excellent education from grades K-12. The four public high schools are: James Madison Memorial, Madison West, Madison East, and LaFollette. The public school system also includes an alternative public high school: Malcom Shabazz City High. The most notable of the private schools is Edgewood High, located on the Edgewood College campus.


In 1996 Money magazine identified Madison as the best place to live in the United States. It has consistently ranked near the top of the best-places list in subsequent years, with the city's low unemployment rate a major contributor. Madison has constantly been rated one of the top 10 best cities to live in, almost every year.

The main downtown thoroughfare is State Street, which links the University of Wisconsin campus with the State Capitol square, and is lined with restaurants, espresso cafes, and shops. Only pedestrians, buses, police and bikes are allowed on State Street, which is an east-west street in contrast to the diagonal streets of the Isthmus and square. Continuing on the other side of Capitol Square is King Street, which is now developing along the lines that State Street has, but with less of a student character, and more appeal to the growing young white-collar high-tech population in Madison (whose residents jokingly refer to the post-graduate crowd). Thus King Street has more upper-end restaurants and cafes than one would find on the more student-budget State Street.

In the summer time, on Saturday mornings, the Dane County Farmers' Market--the largest farmers' market in the nation--is held around the Capitol Square. On Wednesday evenings on the same square in Summer, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra ( gives free concerts to people picnicking on the Capitol's lawn. The Independence Day celebration, called Rhythm and Booms, includes musical performance by the Madison Symphony Orchestra ( and fireworks set off over Lake Mendota.

In 2004 Madison was named the healthiest city in America by Mens Journal magazine. Many major streets in Madison have designated bike lanes and the city has one of the most extensive bike trail systems in the nation. Due to this, Madison has a very active cyclist culture and it is common place to see groups of friends bicycling together throughout the city on nice days.


Madison's vibrant music scene ( covers a wide spectrum of living musical culture, from opera to pub rock bands, techno to Balkan mountain singing. One example is Madison's long-standing Irish traditional music scene (, which boasts five regular pub sessions, a number of local bands, and a palette of adult-education classes (

The Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps has provided youth aged 16-22 opportunities to perform across the continent every summer since 1938. The corps is hailed world-wide for its energetic and entertaining shows. Further, the University of Wisconsin Band is one of the most popular marching bands in the world, with an extensive and eclectic repertoire.

However, the city's most widely recognized contribution to popular music is pop-rock band Garbage, which has been based out of Madison since its 1994 inception.


Wisconsin State Capitol
Wisconsin State Capitol

Notable buildings include the Wisconsin State Capitol, and the Monona Terrace meeting and convention center, based on a design by Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright, who spent much of his childhood in Madison and studied briefly at the University, also designed other buildings in Madison, such as the Unitarian meeting house.


Madison will always be associated with the name of "Fighting Bob" LaFollette and the Progressive movement. La Follette's Magazine, The Progressive, founded in 1909, is still published in Madison today. Due to this, the city being a long-time stronghold of the Democratic Party at the national level, and having a typically liberal and progressive majority city council, residents and non-residents have pejoratively referred to the city as The People's Republic of Madison. To its detractors, Madison is a city of "eighty-five square miles surrounded by reality," a phrase originally coined by former Wisconsin Republican governor Lee S. Dreyfus, and a label now attached to various other cities.

In Madison during the late Sixties and early Seventies, thousands of students and other citizens took part in antiwar marches and demonstrations, drawing national attention to Madison. Among the most noted protests include:

- the 1967 student protest of Dow Chemical, with 74 injured;

- the 1969 strike to secure greater representation and rights for African American students and faculty, which necessitated the involvement of the National Guard;

- the 1970 fire that caused damage to the Army ROTC headquarters housed in the Old Red Gym, also known as the Armory; and

- the 1970 bombing of the Sterling Hall, then housing the Army math Research Center, killing a post-doctoral student.

These protests were the subject of the documentary The War at Home ( and the book Rads. Also detailed in the book is the history of Sterling Hall bombing in 1970, which targeted the Army Mathematics Research Center and killed physics graduate student Robert Fassnacht, conducted with an ANFO car bomb by the New Year's Gang. The counterculture was centered in the neighborhood of Mifflin and Bassett streets, referred to as Mifflin-Bassett or Miffland. The area contained many three-story apartments where students and counterculture youth lived, used illegal substances, painted murals, and operated the co-operative grocery store Mifflin Street Co-op. The neighborhood often came into conflict with authorities, particularly then-Mayor Bill Dyke (who was later to run for vice-president with segregationist Lester Maddox). Tom Bates wrote in Rads that Dyke's attempt to suppress the annual Mifflin Street block party "would take three days, require hundreds of officers on overtime pay, and engulf the student community from the Southeast Dorms to fraternity row. Tear gas hung like heavy fog across the isthmus." In the fracas, student activist Paul Soglin, then an alderman, was arrested and taken to jail. Later, Soglin was to become mayor of Madison, serving from 1973 to 1979 and from 1989 to 1997, by his latter term aligned ideologically in the moderate wing of the Democratic Party.

Madison city politics has remained dominated by activists of liberal ideologies, particularly in the core of the city referred to as the Isthmus. In 1992, the local third party Progressive Dane was founded, which organizes to influence local politics (recent policies have included inclusionary zoning, restaurant and tavern smoking prohibitions, and a city minimum wage) through the city council and the Dane County Board. It holds multiple seats in each of these bodies, and is a primary local political party player alongside the Dane County Democratic Party.


Madison's economy today is evolving from a manufacturing base to a services and high-tech base, particularly in the health and biotech fields, though the Wisconsin state government and University of Wisconsin remain major employers. Since the beginning of the 1990's, the city has been in a steady economic boom and has been comparatively unaffected by recession. Much of the expansion has occurred on the city's southern and western rim, but it has also affected the eastern edge near the Interstate and the northern shore of Lake Mendota. Underpinning the boom is the development of high-tech companies, many actively fostered by the University of Wisconsin-Madison working with local businesses and entrepreneurs to take the results of its research (most notably bio-tech research) and finding real-world applications of it for the marketplace. Still other businesses move to or start up in Madison simply to take advantage of the highest level of education of residents in the nation. As of 2004 as reported by Forbes Magazine, Madison has the highest percentage of Ph.D.s in the nation per 1,000 residents.


Missing image
Inside the Kohl Center during a men's ice hockey game

Madison is home to the Madison Mallards, a college-level summer baseball team in the Northwoods League. The University of Wisconsin-Madison also plays all of their home-field sporting events in venues in and around Madison, including numerous sports playing at the Kohl Center.


Madison is home to a plethora of print publications for a city its size. The Wisconsin State Journal (weekday circulation: ~95,000; Sundays: ~155,000) is published in the mornings, while The Capital Times (Mon-Sat circulation: ~20,000) is an afternoon. Though conjoined in a joint-operating agreement operated under the name Capital Newspapers, the former is owned by the national chain Lee Enterprises (, while the latter is independently-owned. Wisconsin State Journal is the descendant of the Wisconsin Express, a paper founded in the territory in 1839. The Capital Times was founded in 1917 by William T. Evjue, a business manager for the State Journal who disagreed with that paper's editorial criticisms of Wisconsin Republican Senator Robert M. LaFollette for his opposition to U.S. entry into World War I. Through Capital Newspapers, Lee also owns many other papers in the southwest Wisconsin and northeast Iowa.

The city is also home to the free weekly alternative newspaper, Isthmus ( (weekly circulation: ~65,000), which was founded in 1976. The Onion satirical weekly was also founded in Madison in 1988 and maintains its business offices in the city, though its editorial headquarters were moved to New York City in 2000. Madison is also home to two weekday student newspapers during student terms, The Daily Cardinal (Mon-Fri circulation: ~10,000) and The Badger Herald (Mon-Fri circulation: ~16,000). In 2004, Lee (through Capital) began publishing coreweekly, a news and entertainment weekly intended to build a younger ad demographic for Capital Newspapers and to compete in the classifieds market. Madison is also home to numerous other specialty print publications focusing on local music, politics, and sports.

Party Problem

For decades, the University has had a reputation as a "party campus." Examples of this include the still-continuing annual Mifflin Street Block Party (no longer a counterculture event, today a summer kick-off party for students) and the State Street Halloween Party. Both of these events are commonly attended by tens of thousands of partiers, including an ever-growing number who come from out of state just to attend. Following a (non-political) riot that developed at the 1996 Mifflin Street Block Party, it was forcibly cancelled by the city; since then, the city has permitted resumption of a Mifflin Street event that has taken a more mellow tone. Meanwhile, the State Street Halloween Party has been showing similar problems. In 2004, over 400 partiers were arrested after bonfires were started on the street during the celebration. Fewer than half of the arrestees were Wisconsin residents or UW-Madison students. It was the third subsequent year that riots developed at the Halloween festivities. It is for these reasons and others why another of the city's nicknames is MadTown.

Famous Madisonians

Notable people associated with Madison include Frank Lloyd Wright, Thornton Wilder, Eric Heiden, Tyne Daly, Bradley Whitford, Chris Noth, and Chris Farley [1] (, who were all born and/or raised in Madison; Charles A. Lindbergh, who entered a mechanical engineering program at the University of Wisconsin in 1920, did poorly, and dropped out to become a barnstormer; the alternative band, Garbage was founded there; musicians Steve Miller and Boz Skaggs, who both attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Otis Redding, who died in a 1967 plane crash in Madison.


Madison is served by the Dane County Regional Airport, which serves more than 100 commercial flights on an average day, and nearly 1.6 million passengers annually.

External links


  • Forbes Magazine's "Miracle in the Midwest" ( article. It was this issue that ranked Madison as the Number #1 City in the nation in 2004 and also explains its bio-tech boom.




Television Stations

Radio Stations




Flag of Wisconsin
Regions: Central Plain | Eastern Ridges and Lowlands | Lake Superior Lowland | Northern Highland | Western Upland
Largest cities: Appleton | Beloit | Brookfield | Eau Claire | Fond du Lac | Franklin | Green Bay | Greenfield | Janesville | Kenosha | La Crosse | Madison | Milwaukee | New Berlin | Oshkosh | Racine | Sheboygan | Waukesha | Wausau | Wauwatosa
Counties: Adams | Ashland | Barron | Bayfield | Brown | Buffalo | Burnett | Calumet | Chippewa | Clark | Columbia | Crawford | Dane | Dodge | Door | Douglas | Dunn | Eau Claire | Florence | Fond du Lac | Forest | Grant | Green | Green Lake | Iowa | Iron | Jackson | Jefferson | Juneau | Kenosha | Kewaunee | La Crosse | Lafayette | Langlade | Lincoln | Manitowoc | Marathon | Marinette | Marquette | Menominee | Milwaukee | Monroe | Oconto | Oneida | Outagamie | Ozaukee | Pepin | Pierce | Polk | Portage | Price | Racine | Richland | Rock | Rusk | Sauk | Sawyer | Shawano | Sheboygan | St. Croix | Taylor | Trempealeau | Vernon | Vilas | Walworth | Washburn | Washington | Waukesha | Waupaca | Waushara | Winnebago | Wood

Template:United States state capitals

da:Madison, Wisconsin de:Madison (Wisconsin) eo:Madison (Viskonsino fr:Madison (Wisconsin) he:מדיסון hi:मैडिसन pl:Madison (miasto w USA) pt:Madison sv:Madison, Wisconsin


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools