Wisconsin Facts

Michael Bryan

Michael Bryan

Published: 25 Jan 2022

Wisconsin welcomes you sign

For many people, Wisconsin is a great place for recreational activities since it offers a lot of water and land attractions. Moreover, if you like your favorite produce fresh, such as cranberries and corn, Wisconsin is also the place to have them. The state’s celebrations, often held at the lakes, are also worth experiencing because of the locals who are truly welcoming! Isn’t Wisconsin the perfect place to be? Check out our list of Wisconsin facts that prove this to be true.

  1. You can find Wisconsin in the region called Great Lakes.
  2. Wisconsin achieved statehood on May 29, 1848.
  3. People also called Wisconsin the Badger State.
  4. You can use Wisconsinites as a term to call people who are from this state.
  5. About 5.8 million people are living in this state.
  1. The state ranks 20th in terms of population.
  2. It also held 23rd place in terms of surface area.
  3. Madison is the current capital of Wisconsin.
  4. Milwaukee claimed the title as the largest city in the state.
  5. The state took the word, Forward, as its motto.
  6. Wisconsin became the 30th state to join the union in 1848.
  7. WI is the abbreviation of Wisconsin.
  8. France owned Wisconsin once.
  9. Ripon, Wisconsin gave birth to the Republican Party on March 20, 1854.
  10. The state has margarine between 1895 to 1967.
  1. Scientists have excavated the largest Wolly Mammoth in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
  2. Green Bay City is the oldest city in the state.
  3. Restaurants can’t serve margarine unless requested.
  4. Abraham Lincoln stayed in a house (now a landmark) in Janesville for two nights.
  5. The state’s biggest university has a badger as its mascot.
Table of Contents

The state’s schoolchildren chose the wood violet as its official flower.

You would think that it was too carefree for them to let children decide what the state official flower should be in 1809, but it shouldn’t be denied that the wood violet suited the scenic beauty Wisconsin provided. In addition, people use wood violet to treat common colds and headaches. This flower is also an official symbol in other states, namely Illinois, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.

wood violet, wisconsin facts
Image source: Pixabay

Third graders proposed to have the honeybees as Wisconsin’s official insect.

This is what you get when adults let third graders study the legislative process – they make things happen! These third graders in Holy Family School in Marinette took the lesson hands-on and proposed to the legislators in choosing the honey bees as the state’s official insect. Other schools proposed other insects too, with most of them choosing the monarch butterfly, dragonfly, ladybug, and mosquito, however, the honey bee successfully took the title.

Sugar Maple is the state’s tree symbol.

The Sugar Maple Tree took the title as the state tree in 1949. The legislators have chosen Sugar Maple despite the efforts of the White Pine advocates. The tree is highly adaptable and attracts wildlife. It also produces one of the best syrups that you can find. Additionally, Sugar Maple Trees are ancient since they can live up to 300 years.

Anglers would take 50 hours to catch a legal muskie.

Locals are very familiar with the name muskie since it is their official state fish. Formally called muskellunge, these tubed-shaped fish are very ferocious. The state considers this fish of the pike family as a trophy fish, and would make a regular angler struggle for 50 hours just to catch one. The Muskie became Wisconsin’s state fish in 1955.

The Badger appears in the state’s coat of arms, flag, and seal.

You guess it right! Wisconsin has chosen the badger as the state animal in 1957. The badger would appear in the state’s coat of arms, flag, and seal. The official song of the state also mentions badgers. However, badgers are not the direct reason why the state got its nickname, so keep on reading to find out why. Moreover, badgers spend most of their time in dens and will go out when the sun is down.

The state recognizes the Dairy Cow as its official domesticated animal.

People of Wisconsin love their milk so much that they even took it as their official beverage, thus making the Dairy Cow the state’s symbol for a domesticated animal. The dairy industry has been an important driver for Wisconsin’s economy and cows play an important role to keep its supply available throughout the country.

You can find 15,000 lakes in Wisconsin.

The lakes in Wisconsin feature bountiful wildlife and sceneries that will leave you in awe. Fishing is one of the best things you can do at the lake. Swimming, or just relaxing in its captivating atmosphere, is also not a bad idea. Meanwhile, Minnesota lands in second place with its equally breathtaking 14,444 lakes.

Devil's lake wisconsin
Image from Adobe Stock

Lake Winnebago is the largest in the state.

The freshwater lake covers 30 miles long and 10 miles wide, making it the largest lake within the state of Wisconsin. Not only that, but the lake itself has 88 miles of shoreline and has a maximum depth of 21 ft. Lake Winnebago also plays an important role in the state’s fishery. You can catch muskies, panfishes, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pikes, walleye, sturgeons, and catfishes in there.

Waukesha, Wisconsin was once home to many natural springs.

A lot of tourists from different places would flock to the town just to drink spring water. People gave the town the reputation of being the Saragota of the West in the late 1800s. They believed that the water from the springs can heal them from diabetes and depression. Sadly, most of the springs now have dried up and are contaminated with radium and salt.

The state is also home to the highest number of water parks in a single area.

The Wisconsin Dells is one of the places where locals and tourists alike spend a fun-filled day with their families and friends. The city features a lot of water parks in a single area, including the Noah’s Ark Water Park and Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park. You can also do overnight camping in Mirror Lake State Park.

Wisconsin Dells
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The state does not have a lot of heights.

Timms Hill stands as the highest natural point in Wisconsin at 1,951 feet. You can find this by visiting Timms Hill County Park where it is open to the public from 7:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. from May to October. Aside from going to the observation tower, people spend their time there fishing, grilling, hiking, swimming, and going on trails.

People do freshwater surfing in Sheboygan.

People are now calling Sheboygan, Wisconsin as the Malibu of the Midwest ever since it became the capital of freshwater surfing. The wind coming from Lake Michigan causes huge waves to form which attract surfers from different places every year. You would probably mistakingly think that it’s an ocean, although it’s not a surprise since the Great Lakes have ocean-like properties anyway.

The US calls Wisconsin America’s Dairyland or the Cheese State.

Wisconsin takes the best spot as the nation’s leading producer of dairy products since 1915. It also holds the title of being the largest cheese-producing state in the US since 1910. According to an article from New York Times, cheese is “the state’s history, its pride, its self-deprecating, sometimes goofy, cheesehead approach to life.” You will enjoy your stay in the state if you’re an avid dairy food lover.

Rosedale Dairy Farm has 8,400 milking cows.

Picket, Wisconsin is home to Rosedale Dairy Farm, known to be the largest dairy farm in the state. It produces an astounding 78,000 gallons of milk every day. Wisconsin holds Rosedale Dairy Farm as one of the most important dairy farms for milk production. Jim Ostrom, John Vosters, and Todd Willer co-founded the farm in 1999.

Ed Bermers made the first-ever ice cream sundae.

Ed Bermers owned a soda fountain shop when he created the first ice cream sundae in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Serving soda on a Sunday was illegal back then, so he tried serving ice cream and added the sauce commonly for ice cream sodas as a topping. People liked the sundae and it immediately became a hit.

Wisconsinites consume almost 21 million gallons of ice cream per year.

Ice cream has never been absent from most Wisconsinites’ diets. In fact, 86% of households in America purchase ice cream every year and Wisconsin ranks 3rd among the states. It is an accessible food that can get you through both heartaches and happy occasions. The coldness and the sweetness from ice cream never fail to bring satisfaction not only for children, but also for adults.

Mark Ruffalo is from Wisconsin.

Mark Alan Ruffalo was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin on November 22, 1967. Even before his most famous role as Bruce Banner or the Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he has already appeared in more than 50 movies. Mark was consecutively nominated for a Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2014 and 2015.

Wisconsin produces all the ginseng in the US.

Ginseng production is very prominent in the state. In actuality, Wisconsin is accountable for 95% of the cultivated ginseng in the United States. Wisconsin farmers are known not only for the quantity of their ginseng products, but also for the quality. Marathon County, Wisconsin took the bragging rights in being the ginseng capital of the world.

The state is home to the first-ever kindergarten in the US.

Watertown, Wisconsin housed the country’s first-ever kindergarten in 1856. In 1972, it was added to The National Register of Historic Places for being a hallmark in American education history. Margarethe Schurz founded the children’s institution for her daughter and four cousins. She taught German in her classes, making other families want the same for their children.

First Kindergarten school in the US, Wisconsin facts
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The state is the biggest exporter of some fresh produce.

Wisconsin is not only famous for its dairy products, but it is also the country’s exporting giant of cranberries, sweetcorn, and whey. These little red berries compose 60% of the country’s crops. The state has also proclaimed cranberries as their official fruit, bearing heavy not only in its size, but also in its economic value.

You can find the toilet paper capital in Wisconsin.

Green Bay, Wisconsin has produced the first splinter-free toilet paper in 1935, and up until now, it is still one of the biggest employers in the area. Toilet paper production has a rich and fascinating history. Without it, most people would still use weird stuff to wipe their butts, such as corn cobs, rags, sponges, and of course, their hands.

The Milwaukee Art Museum contains 30,000 artworks.

The Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) showcases 30,000 artworks and welcomes 400,000 visitors in a year. It takes pride in its size that reaches 341,000 sq ft. The museum offers outstanding artworks from different prominent artists, and preserves an estimate of 125 years of art collection.

Les Paul Guitar manufacturer, Les Paul, was from Wisconsin.

Born to George and Evelyn Polsfussin in June 1915, Les Paul has paved the way in changing the popular music industry to what it is now. He invented the Gibson Les Paul electric guitar, and has inspired recording studios through his innovative ways. People from Waukesha, Wisconsin take pride in his incredible guitar skills that gave him the nickname, the Wizard of Waukesha.

The founders of Harley Davidson built their first-ever motorcycle in Milwaukee.

William Harley and the Davidson brothers founded Harley Davidson, an American company famous for its motorcycle production. Who would have thought that this successful business came from selling motorcycles in a backyard in Milwaukee, Wisconsin? They truly made it from a rough beginning to one of the most renowned motorcycle companies in the world.

Fox River in Appleton houses the first-ever hydroelectric plant in the world.

The hydroelectric power plant began its operation on September 30, 1882. It holds the record as the first-ever hydroelectric power plant, not only in the United States, but in the world. Hydroelectric power plants use turbines moved by the flow of water, converting it to electricity. These plants are usually made with dams from a body of water that makes a reservoir.

The state holds the largest experimental aviation event in the world.

The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture welcomes more than 800,000 people from different places. People look forward to seeing the show, not only for entertainment, but also for educational purposes. This fly-in started with 100 spectators in the state in September 1953, but it became so popular to a lot of people that it turned into one of the greatest aviation-related events.

You can see many effigy mounds in Wisconsin.

The Native American tribes in Wisconsin are believed to have built more than an outstanding number of effigy mounds compared to other places in North America. These so-called mound builders have erected more than 15,000 to 20,000 mounds, 4000 of which remain today. These sculpted earth are usually in the shape of a human figure or an animal.

Millions of visitors come to Milwaukee every year.

The Guinness Book of Record has officially recognized Milwaukee Summerfests as the largest music festival in the whole world. Located at the 75-acre Henry Maier Festival Park, this festival attracts more than 1 million visitors every year just to attend and enjoy the gathering of the best and aspiring performers from different places.

The tallest lighthouse still stands on the Great Lakes.

Located in the northern part of Racine Harbor, Wind Point Lighthouse stands at 112 ft high. Designed by Orlando Metcalfe Poe, a former Brigadier General in the Civil War, its construction started in 1880. It is one of the tallest still-operating lighthouses on the Great Lakes. The National Register of Historic Places has included the lighthouse on their list in 1984.

Wind Point Lighthouse
Image source: Flickr

A white buffalo was born on a Wisconsin farm.

A farm in Janesville, Wisconsin became a center of attraction in 1994 after a white buffalo was born. Owners Dave and Valerie Heider have been breeding buffalo since 1989 but they never had one like Miracle, a rare, non-albino white buffalo. The Lakota Sioux nation believed that Miracle was a part of an ancient prophecy that bring forth peace after a series of calamities.

Sun Prairie holds the world’s biggest sweetcorn festival.

The sweetcorn festival in Sun Prairie came from a very humble beginning. Back in 1953, the corn-eating festival was generally shared by 6,000 people. Today, the annual event has attracted more than 100,000 corn enthusiasts who want to enjoy all the steamed buttered sweetcorn they want.

Christopher Latham Sholes created the first functioning typewriter.

Many of the younger generation probably won’t relate, but the typewriter is undeniably one of the greatest inventions in human history. The device has helped a lot of authors pour their stories into publications, enabling them to reach readers and create an ever-evolving culture. Christopher Latham Sholes fathered the first functioning typewriter in Wisconsin. He also invented the QWERTY keyboard that we still use even today.

A big-name gangster has a hideaway in Wisconsin.

Al Capone purchased a property in Wisconsin that became his vacation home. He chose the state as a hideaway since there were no police departments in the area. He only needed to pay off sheriff deputies to prevent them from snooping around his properties. There were other big-name gangsters, like Bugs Moran for example, who saw Wisconsin as a safe place to be.

A Wisconsin architect gained popularity.

Frank Lloyd Wright has designed more than 1,000 structures for 70 years. He follows organic architecture on most of his works that have gained popularity, not only in Wisconsin where he was born, but also in the entire United States. His notable works include the Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, the Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona, the Robie House in Chicago, Illinois, and the Hollyhock House in Los Angeles, California.

Barbie hails from the fictional town of Willows.

Barbie hails from the fictional town of Willows, Wisconsin where she keeps a fashionable lifestyle. She made her first appearance during the International Toy Fair in 1959. Her launch was met with a lukewarm response, with many pointing out to how inappropriate it was for a toy to have a curvaceous body. This led to many toy stores not adding her to their collection.

Barbie doll
Image source: Pixabay

Milwaukee contains 30% of the state’s population.

Milwaukee caters 587, 721 people in Wisconsin as of 2021. That means it contains 30% of the state’s population. It also holds the 30th seat as one of the largest cities in the United States. People who reside in Milwaukee are divided into the five-county metropolitan area that surrounds the city. However, the city records a high number of children born in poverty, according to the 2016 census.

Ozaukee County celebrates the first-ever Flag Day.

There are many firsts that have happened in Wisconsin, and one of them is the Flag Day, which has been first celebrated in Ozaukee County in 1855. Dr. Bernard J. Cigrand, together with his class in Stony Hill School, was formally recognized in celebrating the observance of Flag Day yearly. His efforts led to the persuasion of President Woodrow Wilson to proclaim it as an official celebration in the US.

Arthur MacArthur, Jr cried “On, Wisconsin!” during the Civil War.

Arthur cried “On, Wisconsin!” as he and his regiment headed to the battle in Chattanooga at Missionary Ridge. Who would have thought that Arthur MacArthur Jr.’s battle cry would be used in the fight song for Wisconsin Badgers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. This fight song is also the official song of the state with just a little bit of adjustments done by a few people.

The state’s nickname is not directly taken from badgers.

The state’s official animal is not the reason why Wisconsin has a nickname the Badger State. In fact, Wisconsin took the nickname because of lead miners who would dig holes into the ground, not only to make deep tunnels, but also to keep themselves warm when they sleep in the 1820s. And, yes, just like a badger.

Wally Mohrman invented the jump rope.

Wally Mohrman has specifically invented the jump rope to create a winter activity for kids. He took a single rope and invited children from Grade 1 to middle school to see who could get most jumps in a rope for 10 seconds. The game became a super hit for children and adults alike. From then on, Wisconsin gained the reputation as the world’s jumping rope capital.

Wisconsin has a museum for children to explore their creativity.

The Children’s Museum of Eau Claire provides interactive exhibitions and plays for children to explore their creativity. The museum boasts not only an environment that encourages children to think and understand how the physical world works, but it also showcases fun and enjoyable activities for them, such as face painting and planetarium shows.

A businessman from WI built the Douville House.

A local businessman from Wisconsin, Antoine Douville, specifically built the house as a wedding gift for his son in the 1880s. It still stands as one of the oldest structures in Wisconsin and is currently used as a nursing home. Anton Douville, on the other hand, has many occupations, all of which are not limited to being a photographer, bookstore owner, insurance, and real estate agent.

Brookfield offers outstanding golf courses for golfers.

Golfers in the United States would definitely prefer Brookfield since it offers not only outstanding golf courses, but also exceptional food and sceneries. It would look like a walk in the park, but the golf courses here are perfect for tournaments. Currently, Brookfield holds two golf courses, but you can also find 69 golf courses within 20 miles of the city.

Cheese lovers celebrate Cheese Days in Green County, Monroe.

Green County Cheese Days have always been one of the most venerated celebrations for cheese in the United States. Cheese lovers and enthusiasts would flock together in the 3rd week of September to participate or just enjoy the cheese Green Country can offer. The county itself has been referred to as the epicenter of cheesemaking.

Trilobite is the state’s fossil.

Trilobites are not commonly found in the state, but they have still made it into the state’s official fossil symbol. These prehistoric animals are more comparable to insects than crabs because of their exoskeletons and compound eyes. Moreover, these marine animals existed about 542 years ago at the beginning of the Cambrian Period.

Geneva Lake still practiced the Mail Jumping Delivery System.

In this place, the mail jumper does not usually traditionally deliver your mails since the main means of transportation is by boat. The boat runs at a pace of about 5 mph, while the mail jumper jumps off to the dock. They then deliver mails to more than 60 houses. Apparently, the US Postal Service only hires mail jumpers yearly.

The Rhinelander Hodag became one of the state’s cryptic creatures.

Eugene Shepard claimed that he caught one in Wisconsin and placed it on display at the 1896 Oneida County Fair. This caught the attention of a lot of people as the beast looks like a spiky demon with frog-headed, sabertooth, and tiger-like fangs. Although Eugene has admitted he just made it all up, it still didn’t stop the people from including it as an inspirational topic in folktales.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie style inspired Olbrich Botanical Gardens.

You can stroll in their 16-acre field with different gardens, two of which are the 2-acre Rose Garden and the Bolz Conservatory that features exotic plants, flowers, orchids, birds, and a waterfall. Frank Lloyd Wright inspired the garden to adopt prairie-style structures. This style encourages the emphasis on nature, craftsmanship, and simplicity.

Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Wisconsin provides some of the weirdest laws.

If you think your state has some crazy laws, then you should check what they have in Wisconsin. In St. Croix, women are not allowed to wear red in public. Meanwhile, you should not also disturb a squirrel in La Crosse. And you cannot even throw snowballs in Wausau. Lastly, it is illegal to not base business hours on central time in WI.

Wisconsin proclaimed Polka as its official state dance.

Back in 1993, the state officially chose Polka because of a request sent by a second-grade class from Charles Lindbergh Elementary School in Madison. The grade-schoolers gained a lot of support from different groups, such as the Wisconsin Polka Boosters Inc., and the Wisconsin Folk Museum. Polka is also a symbol of the county’s rich German heritage.