Jan 01, 2013
SE10 explores the history of Badgerland
Approximately 12,000 years before European settlers arrived in southern Wisconsin, much of the area was home to the Ho-Chunk tribe of Native Americans. But in 1829, when Wisconsin was still a Territory, former federal judge James Duane Doty purchased more than one thousand acres of land between lakes Mendota and Monona for $1,500. There, on a strip of land forever after called the Isthmus, he established the city of Madison, named for the fourth president of the United States, James Madison.
Wisconsin’s freezing winters ensured that a thriving fur trade was once the center of the state’s economy, although by the middle of the 19th Century, over-hunting had almost eradicated Wisconsin’s fur-bearing mammals. Doty, however, had successfully persuaded the legislature to select Madison as the Territory’s capital by providing the shivering legislators with buffalo-skin robes and promising them discounted prices on Madison lots.
In 1848, Wisconsin became a fully-fledged state and Madison remained its capital. A mere 12 months later, the University of Wisconsin was established and held its first class on February 5, 1849 with just 17 students. Today, over 40,000 students are enrolled at UW-Madison, the crown jewel in one of the largest public higher education systems in the United States.
During the Territorial Era from 1787-1848, thousands of lead miners came to the area, but because they had little time to construct homes, they simply burrowed holes into the hillsides for shelter. This earned them the nickname of “badgers,” still the proud symbol of both the state and the university.
SE10’s U.S. office resides in one of downtown Madison’s oldest buildings, containing - legend has it - the city’s oldest elevator, and its windows look out at the magnificent Capitol building. A local ordinance decrees that no building may be taller than the Capitol, allowing it to be visible from all parts of the city.
Nearby is the renowned Monona Terrace Convention Center on the shore of Lake Monona, where legendary soul singer Otis Redding perished in a plane crash in 1967. The Terrace was designed in 1937 by world-renowned architect and Wisconsin native Frank Lloyd Wright, who often said that Madison inspired his unique architectural style.
Today, Madison is a vibrant city that continues to embrace change in all aspects of life - cultural, educational and political - while seamlessly blending the past and future.
Tel: +1 (608) 251-6280
Fax: +1 (608) 251-6302