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Madison, Wisconsin

Madison is the capital of the U.S. state of Wisconsin and the county seat of Dane County. It is also home to the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

The 2006 population estimate of Madison was 223,389, making it the second largest city in Wisconsin, after Milwaukee, and the 82nd largest in the United States. 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. The Madison MSA had a 2006 estimated population of 543,022, and is one of the fastest-growing in Wisconsin.

Madison was created in 1836 when former federal judge James Duane Doty purchased over a thousand acres (4 km²) of swamp and forest land on the isthmus between Lakes Mendota and Monona within the Four Lakes region, with the intention of building a city on the site. The Wisconsin Territory had been created earlier that 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. 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 Madison as 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 the much-admired founding father James Madison, who had just died, and having streets named for each of the 39 signers of the Constitution, also helped attract votes.[citation needed]

The cornerstone for the Wisconsin capitol 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, and the following year it became host to the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad (a predecessor of what would become known as the Milwaukee Road) connected to Madison in 1854. Madison became a city in 1856, with a population of 6,863, leaving the unincorporated remainder as a separate Town of Madison. [1] The original capitol was replaced in 1863. The second capitol burned in 1904, and the current capitol was built between 1906 and 1917.[2]


The article above is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Madison, Wisconsin".