… 20th blog … pinga in madison!

Madison is the capital of the U.S. state of Wisconsin and the county seat of Dane County.

As of July 1, 2011, Madison had an estimated population of 236,901, making it the second largest city in Wisconsin, after Milwaukee, and the 81st largest in the United States.

The city forms the core of the United States Census Bureau‘s Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Dane County and neighboring Iowa and Columbia counties.

Madison’s origins begin in 1829, when former federal judge James Duane Doty purchased over a thousand acres (4 km²) of swamp and forest land on the isthmus between Lakes Mendota and Monona, with the intention of building a city in the Four Lakes region.
When the Wisconsin Territory was created in 1836 the territorial legislature convened in Belmont, Wisconsin. One of the legislature’s tasks was to select a permanent location for the territory’s capital.
Doty lobbied aggressively for Madison as the new capital, offering buffalo robes to the freezing legislators and promising choice Madison lots at discount prices to undecided voters. He had James Slaughter plat two cities in the area, Madison and “The City of Four Lakes”, near present-day Middleton.
Doty named the city Madison for James Madison, the fourth President of the U.S. who had died on June 28, 1836 and he named the streets for the other 39 signers of the U.S. Constitution.

Although the city existed only on paper, the territorial legislature voted on November 28 in favor of Madison as its capital, largely because of its location halfway between the new and growing cities around Milwaukee in the east and the long established strategic post of Prairie du Chien in the west, and between the highly populated lead mining regions in the southwest and Wisconsin’s oldest city, Green Bay in the northeast.

Being named for the much-admired founding fatherJames Madison, who had just died, and having streets named for each of the 39 signers of the Constitution, may have also helped attract votes.

 The City of Madison continued annexations from the Town of Madison almost from the date of the city’s incorporation, leaving the latter a collection of discontinuous areas subject to annexation.
In the wake of continued controversy and an effort in the state legislature to simply abolish the town, an agreement was reached in 2003 to provide for the incorporation of the remaining portions of the Town into the City of Madison and the City of Fitchburg by October 30, 2022.

The city is sometimes described as The City of Four Lakes, comprising the four successive lakes of the Yahara RiverLake MendotaLake MononaLake Waubesa and Lake Kegonsa, although Waubesa and Kegonsa are not actually in Madison, but just south of it.

A fifth smaller lake, Lake Wingra, is within the city as well; it is connected to the Yahara River chain by Wingra Creek.

The Yahara flows into the Rock River, which in turn, flows into the Mississippi River. Downtown Madison is located on an isthmus between Lakes Mendota and Monona. The city’s trademark of “Lake, City, Lake” reflects this geography.

Madison, along with the rest of the state, has a humid continental climate characterized by variable weather patterns and a large seasonal temperature variance: winter temperatures can be well below freezing, with moderate to occasionally heavy snowfall; high temperatures in summer average in the lower 80s °F (27–28 °C), reaching 90 °F (32.2 °C) on an average 12 days per year, often accompanied by high humidity levels.


 Wisconsin State Capitol atop Madison’s isthmus

Madison is home to companies such as Spectrum Brands (formerly Rayovac), Alliant EnergyAmerican Family InsuranceAmerican Girl (a subsidiary of Mattel), the Credit Union National Association and its CUNA Mutual Group, Dean Health Systems, Madison-Kipp Corporation, Pacific CycleSchoeps Ice Cream, and Sub-Zero & Wolf Appliance.

Technology companies in the area include Broadjam, a regional office of CDWEpicFSBO MadisonFull Compass SystemsHuman Head StudiosNetconcepts (recently purchased by Covario), Raven SoftwareSonic FoundryTDS Telecom, and TomoTherapy.

Biotech firms include Panvera (now part of Invitrogen)Promega, and the Iceland-based Nimblegen. The contract research organization Covance is a major employer in the area.

According to Forbes magazine, Madison ranks second in the nation in education.The Madison Metropolitan School District serves the city and surrounding area. With an enrollment of approximately 25,000 students in 46 schools, it is the second largest school district in Wisconsin behind the Milwaukee School District.

The five public high schools are James Madison MemorialMadison WestMadison EastMadison LaFollette, and Malcolm Shabazz City High School, an alternative school.

Among private church-related high schools are Abundant Life Christian SchoolEdgewood High School,located on the Edgewood Collegecampus, and St. Ambrose Academy, a Catholic school offering grades 6 through 12. Madison Country Day School is a private high school with no religious affiliation.

The city is home to the University of Wisconsin–MadisonEdgewood CollegeMadison Area Technical College, and Madison Media Institute, giving the city a post-secondary student population of nearly 50,000.

The University of Wisconsin accounts for the vast majority of students, with an enrollment of roughly 41,000, of whom 30,750 are undergraduates.

In a Forbes magazine city ranking from 2003, Madison had the highest number of Ph.D.s per capita, and third highest college graduates per capita, among cities in the United States.

 In 1996 Money magazine identified Madison as the best place to live in the United States. It has consistently ranked near the top of the best-places list in subsequent years, with the city’s low unemployment rate a major contributor.

The main downtown thoroughfare is State Street, which links the University of Wisconsin campus with the Capitol Square, and is lined with restaurants, espresso cafes and shops. Only pedestrians, buses, emergency vehicles, taxis, delivery vehicles and bikes are allowed on State Street.

On the other side of the Capitol Square is King Street, which has more upper-end restaurants and cafes than on the more student-budget State Street.

The skyline of Madison, with Wisconsin ANG F-16 jet fighters in the foreground

Madison is host to Rhythm and Booms, a massive fireworks celebration coordinated to music. It begins with a fly-over by F-16s from the local Wisconsin Air National Guard.

This celebration is the largest fireworks display in the Midwest in length, number of shells fired and the size of its annual budget.


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