« AnteriorContinuar »
The great Empire State of Wisconsin is well able to sustain a far greater population than that here indicated. But one-sixth of the land in the county is yet settled, and all is susceptible of culture; and, were the other five-sixths settled at the same ratio per square mile, we should exhibit a population of 250,000 people.
In 1755, the State of Rhode Island, slightly larger than Dane County, having an area of 1300 square miles, had a population of 35,000 — about the same as this county possessed in 1855; showing that Rhode Island was one hundred and nineteen years in attaining a population which Dane County reached in eighteen years. The city of Providence, in 1800, just one hundred and sixty-four years after its first settlement, exhibited a population of 7600— while Madison has reached that number in eighteen years. In the past half century, Rhode Island has slightly more than doubled her population, while Dane County has nearly tripled hers in the last seven years; and Providence, during the same period, has, upon an average, doubled its numbers once in twenty years, while Madison has doubled its population, upon an average, once in every two and a half years. These are facts which any one, curious in such statistical contrasts, may easily put to the test by a proper reference to the official documents in our public libraries. Nor is this a solitary instance — the same careful contrasts
with Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Albany, or almost any other old settled place, will exhibit the growth of Madison and Dane County in quite as favorable a point of view.
The question may very naturally be asked by the cautious inquirer, what is there to justify the belief that Dane County, with its surroundings, is able to sustain a city of twenty or perhaps fifty thousand people? Let us again recur to the experience of other cities and counties. If, then, Rhode Island can and does support her flourishing capital, having a population of one-fourth of the whole State, Dane County, with superior advantages in her favor, can do at least as well. By the census of 1850, there were. 73,000 acres of land returned as improved in Dane County, which we may presume has increased by this time to about 140,000 - only about one-sixth of the whole. Let, then, the whole be settled, and only as sparsely per acre as that part now improved, and we should have six times the present population of 45,000, which would be 270,000. And if the present county population of 45,000 supports Madison, with 12,000 inhabitants, then a population of 270,000 would give to Madison a ratio of 65,000 people.
These figures may startle some — for there are always a goodly number in every community, who, while they are amazed at the progress of the past, can never make it a criterion by which to judge the future.
Aside from the capital, there are thirty-four townships in Dane County, whose present wealth may be stated as follows: The improved farms, uncultivated lands, and personal property of the resident farmers, will average to-day at least $500,000 to a township, making a total of $17,000,000. Add, for Madison, real estate and personal property, at least $8,000,000. This would make the total wealth of the county $25,000,000.
There are twenty-five wagon-roads, and seventeen different mail and stage routes, diverging in every
direction from Madison. Over seven hundred loaded teams have arrived here in a single day, bringing from ten to fifteen thousand bushels of wheat to market, with large quantities of other produce. Nearly 700,000 bushels of wheat alone were marketed here in a single year.
It is, pre-eminently, the great railroad centre of Wisconsin, and enjoys, in an enviable degree, all those peculiarly favorable advantages. Many of the Western cities rely wholly upon their projected railroads for growth and prosperity. But the roads and connections of Madison • are real and bona fide, connecting it with every section of the Union. Four great lines diverge here : the Milwaukee and Mississippi ; the Milwaukee, Watertown, and Madison ; East and West, connecting the lakes with the Mississippi River; and the La Crosse and Land-Grant Roads, running from Madison to Lake St. Croix and the City of Superior, at the head of the lake. Arrangements are now being made for the extension of the great Illinois Central Railroad, from Freeport, Illinois, to this city, thus giving a direct communication with Mobile and the Gulf of Mexico.
The system connects with the Chicago, Fond du Lac, and Superior Road, on the east and north, and the Beloit and Madison Road on the south. There is no point in the State so readily accessible in every direction, as Madison, as it lies on the shortest route from New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, or Milwaukee, to the Mississippi River.
An abundant supply of building-material is found here. The most beautiful stone, easily quarried and cut, abounds in its immediate vicinity. Bricks may be made to an unlimited extent, and timber of all kinds can be commanded whenever needed for use.
It is estimated that about $1,000,000 will be expended in Madison, and its vicinity, this year, upon public buildings, depots, and railroads. The most prominent buildings and improvements, to be immediately commenced, are given in the following table, with their least possible cost :
University (main edifice)
$40,000 Capitol extension
100,000 U.S. Court Room and Post Office .................. 50,000 City Hall
25,000 Four School Houses
24,000 Congregational Church
20,000 Episcopal Church
16,000 Catholic Church
10,000 Insane Asylum
100,000 Railroad Depots, at least
From careful estimates made, it was found that the value
of mercbandise, lumber, produce, wood, &c., marketed
$4,702,000 Add value and labor
1,500,000 Real Estate Sales
$6,702,000 The value of manufactures and home products, for 1856,
As an additional evidence of the large business of Madison, it may be mentioned, that eight and a half millions pounds of freight were received at the Madison Railroad Depot, during 1856, and that the total receipts in inoney, for the same period, were $277,872 44.
All kinds of manufactures, not already here, are greatly needed ; indeed, in this new country, where every interest is rapidly growing, and little is yet matured, every industrial pursuit is open to development, and invites enterprise and skill of all kinds.
Dane County peat-beds were discovered in 1856, and lie in three irregularly-shaped beds contiguous to each other, about six miles from Madison. It is estimated that they are worth not less than $1,000,000 to their fortunate owners, and fully three times that amount to the city, as an article of cheap and convenient fuel, and a first-class generator for the Gas Works.
Madison Libraries.-Madison must, from the nature of things, always be the literary emporium of the State. The following table exhibits the present number of volumes in its libraries, including only two private collections, which have been made to subserve public purposes, and all are rapidly increasing : Vols.
Vols. State Library 6,000 Madison Institute
700 Executive Library
600 J. W. Hunt's Statistical ColState Superintendent's
300 State Historical Society 3,500 State Agricultural Society.. 300 State University Library... 2,400 High School
300 Lyman C. Draper's Collec Sabbath-School Libraries ... 1,000
tion on Western History, 1,500 Madison Female Seminary, 1,000
Among the literary institutions of Madison are the State University, largely endowed with an income of $30,000 per annum ; a fully organized Commercial College; two Female Seminaries and Musical Academies; four Public Schools; the State Historical Society, with its large and rare library, fine picture gallery and cabinet of curiosities, already far superior to any west of the Alleghanies; Madison Institute, with its library and able professors; State Agricultural Society; Dane County Agricultural Society; Madison Hydraulic Company; Lake Side Water-Cure Establishment; the Gas-light and Coke Company; and the Mutual Insurance Company. Besides these, there are five organized