Portage County, located in central Wisconsin, is a region steeped in history and culture. From the Native American roots to the modern-day development, the evolution of this county has been nothing short of fascinating. Here are seven interesting facts about Portage County's rich history.
1) The Potawatomi were the original inhabitants of Portage County. In their language, the area was known as "Amik" meaning beaver. The Potawatomi hunted beavers, which were abundant in the area, and traded their pelts with other tribes.
2) The first European settlement in the area now known as Portage County was established in 1835 by Colonel James H. Lockwood. He built a cabin along the Wisconsin River in what's now Stevens Point.
3) One of the most significant events in Portage County's history was the fight for women's suffrage in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Women's suffrage leaders, including Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, visited Stevens Point while campaigning for the right to vote.
4) The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point was established in 1894 as the Stevens Point Normal School. It was one of several "Normal Schools" created in Wisconsin to train teachers.
5) In 1912, a fire destroyed much of downtown Stevens Point, including the city hall and most of the central business district. As a result, many of the buildings you see in downtown Stevens Point today were built after the fire.
6) Portage County was home to a number of badgers, which played a significant role in Wisconsin's state nickname, "The Badger State." The first known use of the term "badger" to describe Wisconsin residents was in a newspaper published in Portage County in the 1820s.
7) Portage County is home to the longest continuously running county fair in the state of Wisconsin. The Portage County Fair has been held annually since 1859 and includes livestock shows, carnival rides, and a variety of other events.
From the early days of the Potawatomi tribe to the present-day Portage County Fair, the history of this region is fascinating. Whether you're a history buff or just curious, it's worth exploring the rich heritage that exists in Portage County, Wisconsin.
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