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Facts about Wisconsin

facts about wisconsin

Who better than a Wisconsin based manufacturer to create a guide and information on facts about Wisconsin. Continue below to read about everything that makes Wisconsin the great state it is.

Facts about the Great State of Wisconsin

  • Our first of many facts about Wisconsin should be how it came to get its name. Wisconsin’s name comes from the Wisconsin River, which was called Meskousing by the Algonquian-speaking tribes. The name was recorded in 1673 by French explorer Jacques Marquette. Over time, the word was Anglicized into Ouisconsin, Wiskonsan and finally into its current spelling and pronunciation. Linguists think the original name must have been borrowed from the Miami word “meskonsing” which translates to “it lies red” or “this stream meanders through something red”, likely referring to the sandstone formations in the Wisconsin River.
  • The state is home to 5,822,434 people as of 2019.
  • The Gross State Product as of December 2019 is $348 Billion.
  • Manufacturing accounts for 18.79% of the total GSP as of 2018. Employing 475,000 people.

The largest employers in the state of Wisconsin

  1. Wal-Mart
  2. University of Wisconsin–Madison
  3. Milwaukee Public Schools
  4. U.S. Postal Service
  5. Wisconsin Department of Corrections
  6. Menards
  7. Marshfield Clinic
  8. Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs
  9. Target Corporation
  10. City of Milwaukee
  • The state is nicknamed the Badger State.
  • Green Bay is Wisconsin’s oldest city, the second oldest city is Prairie du Chien.
  • Thirty percent of the state’s population lives in the five-county metropolitan area around Milwaukee.
  • Almost 1/3 of all Americans live within a 500-mile radius of Wisconsin.
  • During the summer, the population of Door County reaches ten times the number of year-round residents. (28,000 vs. 250,000)
  • The Republican Party was founded in Ripon in 1854.
  • Wisconsin received over $22 billion in tourism in 2019.

The Natural beauty of Wisconsin

  • Wisconsin visitors and residents enjoy the state’s 7,446 streams and rivers. End-to-end they’d stretch 26,767 miles. That is more than enough to circle the globe at the equator.
  • More than 800,000 deer roam Wisconsin woods.
  • Practically all the natural lakes in Wisconsin have resulted from glaciers and there are close to 17,000 of them.
  • Land acquisition for Wisconsin’s first state park began in 1900. The park became Interstate State Park located in St. Croix Falls.
  • The Fox River is one of the few rivers in the nation that flows north.
  • In the 1930s the Flambeau River State Forest was established and became a legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Project Administration.
  • Mount Horeb is the Troll Capital of the World.
  • Wisconsin’s Door County has five state parks and 250 miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan. These figures represent more than any other county in the country.
The natural beauty of Wisconsin

The Food lovers state – Fact

  • The Hamburger hall of fame is located in Seymour.
  • One of the stranger facts about Wisconsin is that all restaurants were required by law to serve cheese and butter with every meal from 1935 to 1937
  • The term “cheesehead” actually started as a term the German soldiers used to insult the Dutch during World War II. These days, the term is used in a bit more endearing way to describe cheese-lovin’ Wisconsinites. The first cheesehead was worn at a Brewers game, not a Packers game, and was a couch cushion with holes burned in the foam and painted yellow.
  • The first ice cream sundae was concocted in Two Rivers in 1881.
  • Nearly 21 million gallons of ice cream are consumed by Wisconsinites each year.
  • Wisconsin is a leading producer of Ginseng in the United States. Marathon County produces nearly all of the ginseng grown in the U.S. and about 10 percent of the world’s supply. There’s even an international festival in September to give you an up-close look at the process and a chance to taste foods and drinks incorporating the product.
  • Sun Prairie’s sweet corn festival is one of the largest of its kind in the nation.
  • Although Warrens only has 400 residents, it draws 100,000 visitors each September for the world’s largest cranberry festival (and Wisconsin produces 60 percent of the nation’s cranberries!).
  • Wisconsin banned the sale and use of margarine from 1895 to 1967, and while the ban was lifted, some restrictions on margarine remain today. It’s still illegal for a restaurant to serve margarine as a butter substitute unless the customer specifically requests it.
  • Wisconsin is the dairy capital of the United States and produces the most milk of any US state.
  • It may seem strange but one of the most shocking facts about Wisconsin is that Monroe is the Swiss Cheese Capital of the World.
warren cranberry festival
The Warren Cranberry Festival

Wisconsin is a haven for sports fanatics

  • The waiting list for season tickets for the Green Bay Packers is over 100,000 names, and about 30 years. In Green Bay and other Wisconsin cities, it is a common practice to put a baby’s name on the waiting list as soon as they are born.
  • Celebrities rumored to be Packers fans include Lil Wayne, Harry Styles, Larry the Cable Guy, Erin Andrews, Ryan Reynolds, David Ortiz, Shawn Johnson, Ellen DeGeneres, and Justin Timberlake. Maybe you’ll spot one of them moseying around Lambeau!
  • Freshwater surfers know Sheboygan as the “Malibu of the Midwest”. Peak surf season, however, takes place between September and March…brrr!
  • American Birkebeiner, a 52K cross-country ski race between Cable and Hayward and the largest cross country ski race in the US, brings upwards of 5,000 competitors to Cable.
  • Eagle River is known as the Snowmobile Capital of the World.
  • Bloomer is the Jump Rope Capital of the World.
  • Noah’s Ark in Wisconsin Dells is the nation’s largest water-themed park.
  • When the band plays “Jump Around” at the University of Wisconsin football games the fans jumping registers on the Geology Department’s seismograph 2 miles away.
green bay packers
Lambeau Field – Home of the Green Bay Packers

Information on Manufacturing and Innovation

  • In 1882 the first hydroelectric plant in the United States was built at Fox River.
  • Milwaukee is the home of Harley Davidson Motorcycles. The Harley-Davidson Museum is a North American museum near downtown, Milwaukee, Wisconsin celebrating the more than 100-year history of Harley-Davidson motorcycles The 12,000-square-meter (130,000-square-foot) three-building complex on 8 hectares (20 acres) along the Menomonee River bank contains more than 450 Harley-Davidson motorcycles and hundreds of thousands of artifacts from the Harley-Davidson Motor Company’s 110-year history. The museum attracts an estimated 300,000 visitors annually.
  • The first practical typewriter was designed in Milwaukee in 1867.
  • The food blender sat in your kitchen was invented in 1922 by Stephen Poplawski a Polish immigrant to Racine.

Some other inventions from Wisconsin

  1. Hair Dryer
  2. Bone Marrow Donation Matching
  3. Clothes Dryer
  4. Snowmobile
  5. Hamburger
  6. Warfarin
  7. Round Silo
  8. The Querty Keyboard
  9. The Super-computer
  10. Malted Milk
  11. Stereo Headphones
  • Social Security was created when President Roosevelt turned to the University of Wisconsin Madison and Professor Edwin Witte for help during the Great Depression.
  • The world’s largest meeting of aviators, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh has been held here every summer since 1970. During the week-long event, the Oshkosh control tower becomes the busiest on the planet as up to 15,000 aircraft of all shapes and sizes descend upon the airport, along with an estimated half a million visitors, all here to catch thrilling aerobatic displays, as well as flybys from vintage and contemporary military aircraft.
  • Sturgeon Bay is the Shipbuilding Capital of the Great Lakes.
  • Somerset is the Inner Tubing Capital of the World.
harley davidson
Birthplace of and HQ of Harley Davidson

Noble Laureates from Wisconsin

  • Joseph Erlanger (1874–1965), recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1944 (Madison)
  • Herbert Spencer Gasser (1888–1963), B.S. 1910, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1944 (Platteville)
  • John Bardeen (1908–1991), B.S. 1928 and M.S. 1929, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1956 and 1972 (Madison)
  • Edward Lawrie Tatum (1909–1975), B.A. 1931, M.S. 1932, Ph.D. 1935, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1958 (Madison)
  • Joshua Lederberg (1925–2008), recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1958 (Madison)
  • Stanford Moore (1913–1982), Ph.D. 1938, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1972 (Madison)
  • William P. Murphy (1892–1987), recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1934 (Stoughton)
  • John H. van Vleck (1899–1980), A.B. 1920, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1977 (Madison)
  • Herbert A. Simon (1916–2001), B.A. 1936, Ph.D. 1943, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1978 (Milwaukee)
  • Theodore Schultz (1902–1998), M.S. 1928, Ph.D. 1930, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1979 (Madison)
  • Erwin Neher (born 1944), M.S. 1967, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1991 (Madison)
  • Paul D. Boyer (born 1918), M.S. 1941, Ph.D. 1943, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1997 (Madison)
  • Günter Blobel (born 1936), Ph.D. 1967, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1999 (Madison)
  • Jack Kilby (1923–2005), M.S. 1950, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics for the integrated circuit in 2000 (Milwaukee)
  • Alan G. MacDiarmid (1927–2007), M.S. 1952, Ph.D. 1953, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2000 (Madison)

Thoroughly Entertaining

  • Barbie hails from the fictional town of Willows, Wis. For the collector and doll aficionado, a day at the Fennimore Doll & Toy Museum may be in order.
  • The first circus in the US was in Delavan, Wisconsin.
  • The Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) is an art museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Its collection contains nearly 25,000 works of art. It is one of the largest museums in the United States.
  • With an average of 2,500 performers and attendance of close to 1 million people, Milwaukee’s Summerfest is the worlds’ largest music festival held over 11 days.
  • The electric guitar was first brought to market by George Beauchamp and Adolph Rickenbacker. Their configuration, a lap steel guitar fitted with crude coil windings that sent a signal to an amplifier, wasn’t quite the instrument we enjoy today.
  • The solid-body electric guitar was brought into popularity in-part part by Wisconsin’s very own Les Paul. Les was aptly nicknamed the Wizard of Waukesha due to his innovations and inventions in guitar playing and recording styles. His legacy lives on with the modern interpretations of the Gibson Les Paul. Other companies have followed suit with replicas of Les Paul’s paying homage to his signature design. You can visit the Waukesha County Museum to take-in the Les Paul Experience. Enjoy a collection of Les’ personal guitars, equipment, awards and much more on display at this permanent exhibit.

Movies filmed in Wisconsin include:

  • Public Enemies (2009)
  • Blues Brothers (1980)
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
  • Bridesmaids (2011)
  • Chain Reaction (1996)
  • Super Size Me (2004)
  • I Love Trouble (1994)
summerfest milwaukee
Summerfest – The World’s Largest Music Festival

Famous Wisconsinites

  • Don Ameche (1908 – 1993) Actor who won an Academy Award for his performance in Cocoon, born in Kenosha.
  • Spencer Tracy (1900 – 1967), 2-time Oscar winning actor with a record-equalling 9 nominations. Born in Milwaukee.
  • Mark Ruffalo (1967 – ). The accomplished actor was born in Kenosha.
  • Heather Graham (1970 – ). The actress, director and writer was born in Milwaukee.
  • Willem Dafoe (1955 – ) The 4-time Oscar-nominated actor was born in Appleton.
  • Richard I. Bong (1920 – 1945) America’s leading air ace during World War II; born in Superior.
  • Les Paul (1915 – 1990) Guitarist famous for creating the solid-body electric guitar and the inspiration for the legendary Gibson Les Paul guitar. Born in Waukesha.
  • Seymour Cray (1925 – 1996). Developed the super-computer; born in Chippewa Falls.
  • Tyne Daly (1946 – ). The tv favorite was born in Madison and has won 6 Emmy Awards.
  • Carrie Chapman Catt (1859 – 1947), was an American women’s suffrage leader who campaigned for the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gave U.S. women the right to vote in 1920. She was born in Ripon.
  • Eric Heiden (1958 – ), is a five-time gold medal-winning speed skater of the 1980 Winter Olympics; born in Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Chris Gardner (1954 – ). This businessman whose life was turned into the film The Pursuit of Happiness was born in Milwaukee.
  • Harry Houdini (1874 – 1926). Famous magician and escape artist, from Appleton.
  • Chris Farley (1964 – 1997). The energetic comedian and Saturday Night Live member was born in Madison.
  • Pee Wee King (1914 – 2000). Singer and an important figure in country music, born in Milwaukee.
  • Liberace (1919 – 1987). Born as Wladziu Valentino Liberace. This famous musician was born in West Allis, Wisconsin.
  • Douglas MacArthur (1880 – 1964). Well-known WWII and Korean war general lived in Milwaukee.
  • Golda Meir (1898 – 1978). Israel’s first woman prime minister was raised in Milwaukee.
  • Tom Snyder (1936 – ). Radio talk-show host born in Milwaukee.
  • Gene Wilder (1935 – 2016 ). The actor made famous in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. He was born in Milwaukee.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867 – 1957). Author of the Little House books, born in Pepin, Wisconsin.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright (1867 – 1959). America’s most famous architect. Born in Richland Center.
  • Orson Welles (1915 – 1985). The creator of what many consider the greatest movie ever made, Citizen Kane, was born in Kenosha.

We hope you enjoyed our article on the facts about Wisconsin, you can get more information directly on the Wisconsin State website.

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