Columbia County is located in the southern part of the state of Wisconsin with a rich history that dates back to the 19th century. Here are seven interesting facts about Columbia County in Wisconsin history:
1. The county was created in 1846 and named after Christopher Columbus, the famous explorer.
2. A famous political statue, known as "Forward," was created by Jean Pond Miner, a Columbia County artist, in 1893. The statue now stands in front of the Wisconsin State Capitol.
3. Portage, the largest city in Columbia County, was once a crucial transportation hub during the 19th century as it connected the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers. This made it a significant stop on the stagecoach line and played an essential role in the shifting of goods across the state.
4. The circus was a big part of Columbia County's early history. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, several famous circus performers, including the Ringling Brothers, called Baraboo - a city in Columbia County - their home.
5. Farmers in the county did well in the 20th century, thanks to technological advances such as tractors and agricultural machinery. The advancements meant that Columbia County became known for producing top-quality dairy products.
6. During World War II, two P.O.W. camps were located in the county. These camps held German prisoners of war and were used to alleviate the shortage of manpower during the war.
7. Copper and lead mining were popular in Columbia County in the 1800s. A town called Mineral Point, located on the county's southern border, was the center of Wisconsin's lead mining region. The mining industry declined in the late 1800s, and the county turned to agriculture as its primary source of income.
In conclusion, Columbia County has a rich history and played a significant role in the development of Wisconsin as a state. From its transportation hub to its circus history and dairy production, the county has left a permanent mark on the state that is unlikely to fade with time.
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