Madison | United StatesMadison is the capital of the U.S. state of Wisconsin and the seat of Dane County. As of July 1, 2016, Madison's estimated population of 252,551 made 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 Dane County and neighboring Iowa, Green, and Columbia counties. The Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area's 2010 population was 568,593.
Founded in 1829 on an isthmus between Lake Monona and Lake Mendota, Madison was named the capital of the Wisconsin Territory in 1836 and became the capital of the state of Wisconsin when it was admitted to the Union in 1848. That same year, the University of Wisconsin was founded in Madison and the state government and university have become the city's two largest employers. The city is also known for its lakes, restaurants, and extensive network of parks and bike trails, with much of the park system designed by landscape architect John Nolen.
Since the 1960s, Madison has been a center of political liberalism, influenced in part by the presence of the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Madison's origins begin in 1829, 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, with the intention of building a city in the Four Lakes region. He purchased 1,261 acres for $1,500. When the Wisconsin Territory was created in 1836 the territorial legislature convened in Belmont, Wisconsin. One of the legislature's tasks was to select a permanent location for the territory's capital. Doty lobbied aggressively for 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.
Doty named the city Madison for James Madison, the fourth President of the U.S. who had died on June 28, 1836, and he named the streets for the other 39 signers of the U.S. Constitution. Although the city existed only 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 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, may have also helped attract votes.
Wisconsin state government and the University of Wisconsin–Madison remain the two largest Madison employers. However, Madison's economy today is evolving from a government-based economy to a consumer services and high-tech base, particularly in the health, biotech, and advertising sectors. Beginning in the early 1990s, the city experienced a steady economic boom and has been less affected by recession than other areas of the state. Much of the expansion has occurred on the city's south and west sides, but it has also affected the east side near the Interstate 39-90-94 interchange and along the northern shore of Lake Mendota. Underpinning the boom is the development of high-tech companies, many fostered by UW–Madison working with local businesses and entrepreneurs to transfer the results of academic research into real-world applications, especially bio-tech applications.
Many businesses are attracted to Madison's skill base, taking advantage of the area's high level of education. 48.2% of Madison's population over the age of 25 holds at least a bachelor's degree. Forbes magazine reported in 2004 that Madison has the highest percentage of individuals holding Ph.D.s in the United States. In 2006, the same magazine listed Madison as number 31 in the top 200 metro areas for "Best Places for Business and Careers." Madison has also been named in Forbes ten Best Cities several times within the past decade. In 2009, in the midst of the late-2000s recession, Madison had an unemployment rate of 3.5% and was ranked number one in a list of "ten cities for job growth".
The band Garbage formed in Madison in 1994, and has sold 17 million albums.
Madison has a lively independent rock scene, and local independent record labels include Crustacean Records, Science of Sound, Kind Turkey Records, and Art Paul Schlosser Inc. A Dr. Demento and weekly live karaoke favorite is The Gomers, who have a Madison Mayoral Proclamation named after them. They have performed with fellow Wisconsin residents Les Paul and Steve Miller.
Madison is also home to other nationally known artists such as Paul Kowert of Punch Brothers, Mama Digdown's Brass Band, Clyde Stubblefield of Funky Drummer and James Brown fame, and musicians Roscoe Mitchell, Richard Davis, Ben Sidran, Sexy Ester and the Pretty Mama Sisters, Reptile Palace Orchestra, Ted Park, DJ Pain 1, Killdozer, Zola Jesus, Caustic, PHOX, and Lou & Peter Berryman, among others.
Madison's reputation as a sports city exists largely because of the University of Wisconsin. In 2004 Sports Illustrated on Campus named Madison the #1 college sports town in the nation. Scott Van Pelt also proclaimed Madison the best college sports town in America.
The UW–Madison teams play their home-field sporting events in venues in and around Madison. The football team plays at Camp Randall Stadium. In 2005 a renovation added 72 luxury suites and increased the stadium's capacity to 80,321, although crowds of as many as 83,000 have attended games. The basketball and hockey teams play at the Kohl Center. Construction on the $76 million arena was completed in 1997. In 2006, the men's and women's Badger hockey teams won NCAA Division I championships, and the women repeated with a second consecutive national championship in 2007. Some events are played at the county-owned Alliant Energy Center (formerly Dane County Memorial Coliseum) and the University-owned Wisconsin Field House.
Despite Madison's strong support for college sports, it has proven to be an inhospitable home for professional baseball. The Madison Muskies, a Class A, Midwest League affiliate of the Oakland A's, left town in 1993 after 11 seasons. The Madison Hatters, another Class A, Midwest League team, played in Madison for only the 1994 season. The Madison Black Wolf, an independent Northern League franchise lasted five seasons (1996–2000), before decamping for Lincoln, Nebraska. Madison is home to the Madison Mallards, a college wood-bat summer baseball league team in the Northwoods League. They play in Warner Park on the city's north side from June to August.
The now defunct Indoor Football League's Madison Mad Dogs were once located in the city. In 2009 indoor football returned to Madison as the Continental Indoor Football League's Wisconsin Wolfpack, who call the Alliant Energy Center home.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the Madison counterculture was centered in the neighborhood of Mifflin and Bassett streets, referred to as "Miffland". The area contained many three-story apartments where students and counterculture youth lived, painted murals, and operated the co-operative grocery store, the Mifflin Street Co-op. Residents of the neighborhood often came into conflict with authorities, particularly during the administration of Republican mayor Bill Dyke. Dyke was viewed by students as a direct antagonist in efforts to protest the Vietnam War because of his efforts to suppress local protests. The annual Mifflin Street Block Party became a focal point for protest, although by the late 1970s it had become a mainstream community party.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, thousands of students and other citizens took part in anti-Vietnam War marches and demonstrations, with more violent incidents drawing national attention to the city and UW campus. These include:
the 1967 student protest of Dow Chemical Company, with 74 injured;
the 1969 strike to secure greater representation and rights for African-American students and faculty, which resulted in the involvement of the Wisconsin Army 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 late-summer predawn ANFO bombing of the Army Mathematics Research Center in Sterling Hall, killing a postdoctoral researcher, Robert Fassnacht. (See Sterling Hall bombing)
These protests were the subject of the documentary The War at Home. David Maraniss's book, They Marched into Sunlight, incorporated the 1967 Dow protests into a larger Vietnam War narrative. Tom Bates wrote the book Rads on the subject (ISBN 0-06-092428-4). Bates wrote 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 nearby Southeast Dorms to Langdon Street's fraternity row. Tear gas hung like heavy fog across the Isthmus." In the fracas, student activist Paul Soglin, then a city alderman, was arrested twice and taken to jail. Soglin was later elected mayor of Madison, serving from 1973 to 1979, 1989 to 1997, and is the current mayor, elected again in April 2011. During his middle term he led the construction of the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Monona Terrace.