Dane County, located in south-central Wisconsin, boasts a rich history dating back to its founding in 1836. Here are seven interesting facts about Dane County's history that you may not have known.
1. Dane County got its name from Nathaniel Dane, an influential lawyer from Massachusetts who played a key role in the creation of the Northwest Territory in 1787. Dane was known for his strong support for public education and his opposition to slavery.
2. In 1854, Wisconsin's first college, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was established in Dane County. Over the years, the university has grown to become one of the largest and most respected public universities in the United States.
3. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, a number of notable figures called Dane County home. These included architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who built a number of homes in the area, and naturalist John Muir, who spent time studying the local flora and fauna.
4. During World War II, Dane County was home to an important military installation. The Badger Army Ammunition Plant, located just outside of Sauk City, was one of the largest munitions factories in the country, employing over 13,000 people at its peak.
5. Dane County played a key role in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. In August 1962, more than 1,000 African American students gathered at the state capitol in Madison for a demonstration against discrimination in housing, education, and employment. The protest, which was organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), was one of the largest civil rights demonstrations in Wisconsin history.
6. The Dane County Farmers' Market, which is held every Saturday on the Capitol Square in Madison, is one of the largest and most popular outdoor markets in the country. The market, which has been a fixture in Madison for over a century, features more than 150 vendors selling everything from fresh produce to artisanal cheeses and baked goods.
7. In recent years, Dane County has become known for its progressive politics and commitment to environmental sustainability. The county is home to a number of innovative programs aimed at reducing carbon emissions and promoting clean energy, including programs to increase the use of electric vehicles and to encourage the installation of solar panels on homes and businesses.
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