One of the best things about living in Northern Wisconsin(Bayfield, Washburn, Cornucopia and beyond) is being closer to all that makes Wisconsin great. The State has a lot to flaunt and be proud of – from its breathtaking natural features to its many contributions to national and global culture, to its surprising number of fun and quirky claims to fame.
Here are six interesting facts that will make you love living in Wisconsin even more:
- Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland
Leave it to Wisconsinites to make a nickname like “cheesehead” positive – and even a point of pride. The state’s history of prolific dairy production is so well-known and widely documented, even a local city – Monroe – has staked its claim as the “Swiss Cheese Capital of the World.” (Sorry, Switzerland.)
Wisconsin’s cheese expertise has even made “pizza farms” a real thing. There are now five farms across the state that have opened a pizza parlor on their property – using their own fresh dairy and produce as the main ingredients to make unforgettable homegrown pies.
- The “Badger State” nickname comes from the mines, not the mammal
Wisconsin is known to many as the Badger State, but this moniker has little to do with the animal.
The true story behind the nickname is an homage to lead miners from the early to mid-1800s. Back then, these workers holed up in temporary caves, playfully described as badger dens. The name caught on and soon Wisconsin residents claimed the formerly derisive name as their own. Yet another impressive instance of Wisconsinites’ penchant for turning insult into identity.
- The great outdoors welcome avid adventurers with open arms
When you live in Wisconsin, you can expect to spend as much time outdoors as you do in your home. The state overflows with so much natural beauty.
Wisconsin has something for everyone. If you are into hiking and exploring nature trails and wilderness areas, you will love the fact that 46% of the state’s land area is covered by forest.
If you prefer water activities like fishing and boating, head to Bayfield County, where miles of shoreline along Lake Superior guarantee hours upon hours of recreational opportunities. Across the entire state, there are nearly 7,500 streams and rivers, and almost 16,700 lakes – many of which were carved by glaciers from years gone by.
- Wisconsin is a state of many “capitals”
Moving to Wisconsin? Leave your modesty at the door.
This state will surprise you with a long list of towns and cities claiming to be the “capital” of something. Many even add “of the world” at the end their proud slogans, just like Monroe earlier with its claim for global Swiss Cheese preeminence.
The selection ranges from legitimate to downright bizarre, but it all adds to the fun character that the state exudes. See for yourself:
- Milwaukee: Beer Capital of the World
- Green Bay: Toilet Paper Capital of the World
- Sheboygan: Bratwurst Capital of the World
- Wausau: Ginseng Capital of the World
- Bloomer: Jump Rope Capital of the World
- Mount Horeb: Troll Capital of the World
- Eagle River: SnowmobileCapital of the World
- Wisconsin is also a state of many firsts
These life-changing inventions and innovations have their roots in Wisconsin:
- Kindergarten classes were first held in the United States in 1856 in Watertown, thanks to German-born Margarethe Schurz. The classes were held in German until the young children’s education model was adapted by Elizabeth Peabody for English-speaking kids in 1860.
- If you have ever wondered who to thank for the joys of a sweet and creamy ice cream sundae, now you’ll know – Ed Berners, a soda fountain owner from Two Rivers, is said to have invented the delectable dessert in 1881.
- September 1882 marked the first time that moving water was used as a renewable energy resource. The Fox River in Appleton, was the site of the first hydroelectric power plant ever operated.
- An essential fixture in many modern kitchens, the blender is another product of Wisconsin ingenuity. The invention is attributed to Racine-based engineer Stephen Poplawski, who created the efficient chopping, liquefying, and pureeing machine in 1922.
- Wisconsinites have been shaping contemporary American and international culture as we know it for generations
Some of the most influential individuals in American history are sons and daughters of Wisconsin. See if you can recognize these names:
- Frank Lloyd Wright (born in Richland Center)– World-renowned icon in the field of architecture
- Orson Welles (born in Kenosha) – Actor, director, writer, and producer, best known for the film Citizen Kane
- Gene Wilder (born in Milwaukee) – Actor, screenwriter, and director, best known for portraying Willy Wonka
- Liberace (born Władziu Valentino Liberace in West Allis) – Pianist, singer, actor, and once the highest-paid entertainer in the world
- Les Paul (born in Waukesha) – Musician and pioneer of the solid-body electric guitar
- Laura Ingalls Wilder (born in Pepin County) – Author of the “Little House on the Prairie” series of children’s books
- Barbie (born in “Willows”) – The beloved fashion doll hails from a fictional Wisconsin city
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Do you know what a pizza farm is?
What do ice cream sundaes have in common with electric guitars?
Where is the Toilet Paper Capital of the World? And the Jump Rope Capital of the World?
Did you know that Wisconsin is home to some of the most influential people and inventions that have shaped the way people around the world live today?
The answers to these questions all have something to do with the fun and multi-faceted character of the Badger State. Learn why Wisconsin is such a wonderful and interesting place to live in this fun and informative piece.