Wisconsin History Day By Day


Related Web Sites:
Madison as a place of residence

Madison as a village, 1846-1856

Milwaukee Road Historical Association


Read More About It

"Madison: A History of the Formative Years" by David Mollenhoff.

"A New Era: It was 150 Years Ago that the Future of Transportation Arrived in Madison" Wisconsin State Journal, May 23, 2004

"Visitor Here Rode First Train To Reach Madison" Wisconsin State Journal, June 1, 1924

"The Celebration" Wisconsin State Journal, May 24, 1854


Vocabulary:

passenger
locomotives
spectators


Interesting Fact:

The track leading into Madison in 1854 was built across several marshes, providing very soft and unstable ground. The trackbed and rail sank five feet in the marsh one day in June 1854.


Study Questions:

  • What was the name of the first railroad to Madison?
  • How long did it take to construct the railroad from Milwaukee to Madison?
  • What were some of the problems and obstacles for building the early railroads?


    Search these newspaper databases for additional stories about the first railroads in Wisconsin:

  • Wisconsin State Journal/The Capital Times
  • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • BadgerLink Wisconsin Newsstand
  • Wisconsin Historical Society


    U.S. historical events that occurred on May 23:

    1788: South Caroline becomes the eighth state to ratify the U.S. Constitutio.
    1934: Bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde were shot to death by police.



  • May 23

    May 23, 1854: The first passenger train arrived in Madison. The train of thirty-two cars and two locomotives carried more than 2,000 passengers and was cheered by several thousand spectators.


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