Chronology of Wisconsin history since 1848
May 29, 1848: Wisconsin becomes the 30th state after President James Polk signed the statehood bill.
1848: State Legislature meets for the first time on June 5; Gov. Nelson Dewey is inaugurated on June 7; state university is incorporated; first telegram reaches the state (Milwaukee); German immigrants begin to settle in the state in large numbers.
1849: First class at the University of Wisconsin; first free, tax-supported school (Kenosha).
1850: Wisconsin census is 305,391.
1851: First railroad train in Wisconsin travels from Milwaukee to Waukesha; first State Fair is held at Janesville.
1852: School for the deaf opens in Delavan; construction of the prison at Waupun; the first women's newspaper, "Deutsche Frauenzeitung," is published by Mathilde Anneke; the first issue of the Wisconsin State Journal is printed.
1853: Capital punishment is abolished in the state.
1854: Republican Party is founded in Ripon; Joshua Glover, runaway slave, is arrested in Racine; state Supreme Court delcares Fugitive Slave Law unconstitutional; railroad is completed to Madison.
1856: Gov. William Barstow is forced to resign shortly after his inauguration due to voter fraud; first kindergarten in the United States is established in Watertown by Mrs. Carl Schurz.
1857: Railroad is completed to Prairie du Chien; first high school graduating class (Racine).
1858: Bribery investigation involving Legislature and railroad; first train accident kills fourteen near Johnson Creek.
1859: Abraham Lincoln speaks at the State Fair in Milwaukee.
1860: State votes for Lincoln; Milwaukee excursion steamer, "Lady Elgin," sinks in Lake Michigan, killing 225; Wisconsin census is 775,881.
1861: Gov. Alexander Randall calls for volunteers to serve in the Civil War; Milwaukee bank riot; the famed Iron Brigade is formed; George Drake becomes Wisconsin's first Civil War casualty.
1862: Gov. Louis Harvey drowns in the Tennessee River during a mission of mercy after the battle of Shiloh; Confederate prisoners arrive at Camp Randall.
1864: Chester Hazen starts the state's first cheese factory in Fond du Lac County.
1865: Civil war ends, Wisconsin casualties are 12,216.
1866: First state normal school opens at Platteville; creation of college of agriculture.
1869: The first class of women graduates from the University of Wisconsin.
1870: Wisconsin census is 1,054,670.
1871: Peshtigo fire burns areas of Door, Oconto, Shawano, Kewaunee, Brown and Manitowoc counties, resulting in 1,000 deaths; the first steam-powered automobile is built by Methodist minister John Carhart.
1872: Wisconsin Dairyman's Association is organized in Watertown.
1873: Invention of typewriter by C. Latham Sholes in Milwaukee; the University of Wisconsin's baseball team participates in the school's first intercollegiate sporting event; the Nelson Dewey home in Cassville is destroyed by fire.
1874: Potter Law, limiting railroad rates, enacted in Wisconsin.
1875: Women become eligible for school board elections; Wisconsin's first public library opens in Madison.
1876: Potter Law is repealed.
1877: Knotter for twine binders is perfected by John Appleby of Beloit; state law allows women to practice law in Wisconsin.
1878: The first auto race in the country takes place in Wisconsin. Participants drive from Green Bay to Madison; a soda fountain in Two Rivers serves the first ice cream sundae.
1880: Wisconsin census is 1,315,497.
1881: Wisconsin's first serious labor disturbance takes place in Eau Claire sawmill.
1882: The Wisconsin Women's Suffrage Association is organized; the first hydroelectric plant in the country begins operation in Appleton.
1883: Newhall House fire in Milwaukee kills 71. Included among the survivors is General Tom Thumb of the P.T. Barnum circus; John Michael Kohler manufactures the first enamled cast-iron plumbing fixture.
1884: The Ringling Brothers form their circus in Baraboo.
1885: Gobegic iron range east of Ashland is discovered; William Vilas is appointed U.S. Postmaster General; the first observance of Flag Day takes place in Waubeka at Stony Hill School through the efforts of Bernard Cigrand; Joseph Steinwand develops a new cheese, naming it after the nearby town of Colby.
1886: Strikes and rioting in Milwaukee focus on eight-hour work day; the Agriculture Short Course begins with 19 men enrolling for the 12-week program. The course is open, free of charge, to men intending to farm; the first successful commercial electric street railway begins operation in Appleton.
1887: Jane and Ellen Lloyd-Jones open the Hillside School outside of Spring Green; malted milk is invented in Racine by William Horlick.
1889: Bennett Law makes English compulsory in Wisconsin schools; Jeremiah Rusk becomes the first U.S. Secretary of Agriculture; Arbor Day is authorized in Wisconsin; the first successful gasoline automobile in the United States is designed by Gottfried Schloemer and Frank Toepfer of Milwaukee.
1890: Wisconsin census is 1,937,915; Stephen Babcock discovers method of determining butterfat content of milk.
1891: Kate Pier becomes the first woman to argue a case before the Wisconsin Supreme Court; Bennett Law is repealed; Franklin King develops the round silo.
1892: The University of Wisconsin develops the first extension courses offered by a state university.
1894: Forest fires in northern and central Wisconsin; the sifting and winnowing proclamation of academic freedom is issued by the university regents as they exonerate Professor Richard Ely.
1895: First vocational school in Wisconsin is built in Menomonie by James H. Stout.
1896: Wisconsin Free Library Commission organized.
1898: Wisconsin sent 5,469 men to the Spanish-American War, 134 casualties.
1899: Anti-pass law is enacted which prohibits railroads from giving public officials free rides; tax commission is created; New Richmond is destroyed by the "Circus Day Tornado," which kills 117 people.
1900: State Historical Society building is dedicated; revival of lead and zinc mining in southern Wisconsin; Wisconsin's first state park, Interstate, near St. Croix Falls is established; Wisconsin becomes the leading lumber-producing state; Wisconsin census is 2,069,042.
1901: Robert M. La Follette is inaugurated, becoming the first Wisconsin-born governor; Legislative Reference Library is established; teaching of agriculture is introduced into rural schools; Charles Hart and Charles Parr build the first successful gasoline-powered farm tractor.
1904: Primary election law is approved by state referendum; state Capitol is destroyed by fire; Arthur Oliver Smith develops the first steel automobile frame.
1905: Gov. Robert M. La Follette is elected to the U.S. Senate; state civil service is established; auto license law passes; railroad commission is created.
1907: Construction of current state Capitol is started; Milwaukee elects a Socialist administration.
1908: Income tax amendment is adopted; Otto Zachow and William Besserdich invent the four-wheel-drive automobile in Clintonville.
1909: The song "On Wisconsin!" is composed by William Purdy, Chicago. A university student, Carl Beck, persuades Purdy to dedicate the song to the University of Wisconsin football team. Purdy and Beck collaborate to write the lyrics.
1910: Eau Claire becomes the first Wisconsin city to adopt a commission form of government; John Dietz surrenders to authorities after defending the Cameron dam for four years. Dietz had battled the Chippewa Lumber & Boom Co. over dam and flowage rights on the Thornapple River; Ole Evinrude designs the first successful outboard gasoline engine for boats; Wisconsin census is 2,333,860.
1911: First income tax law; teachers' pension act passes; vocational schools are authorized.
1912: The Wisconsin woman's suffrage referendum is rejected by male voters, 227,054 to 135,736; Arthur Warner, Beloit, perfects the automobile speedometer.
1913: Workman's compensation act is enacted.
1914: Statewide building code covering public structures and places of employment is enacted.
1915: Conservation Commission, state Board of Agriculture, and the state Board of Education are created; the University of Wisconsin's radio station, 9XM, begins transmitting signals.
1917: State Capital is completed at a cost of $7,258,763; The Capital Times is established.
1918: 120,000 Wisconsin soldiers serve in World War I, 3,932 casualties; the first statewide numbering system, odd numbers for north-south highways and even numbers for east-west highways, is established.
1919: Eighteenth Amendment (prohibition) is ratified, closing nearly 10,000 Wisconsin saloons and 137 breweries; Wisconsin becomes the leading dairy state; the first complete program of standardization in the grading of fruits, vegetables, hay, honey, cheese, poultry and eggs.
1920: Wisconsin becomes the first state to ratify the 19th Amendment (women's suffrage); Wisconsin census is 2,632,067.
1921: Green Bay Packers are founded; Zona Gale receives the Pulitzer Prize for her play, "Miss Lulu Bett;" Wisconsin passes the first law eliminating all legal discrimination against women.
1922: Coldest recorded temperature in Wisconsin is record at Danbury, 54 degrees below zero on January 24. The record stands until 1996.
1924: Robert M. La Follette, Progressive Party, runs for president, carries only Wisconsin.
1925: Robert M. La Follette dies.
1929: University of Wisconsin Professor Harry Steenbock patents the process for the irradiation of milk and other foods to increase the vitamin D content; Wisconsin laws for enforcement of Prohibition are repealed.
1930: Wisconsin census is 2,939,006
1933: Dairy farmers stage a series of milk strikes to protest low prices; Wisconsin votes to repeal the 18th Amendment, 8,500 brewery employees return to work.
1934: 65 major strikes occur in Wisconsin, and several strikers are killed. The most serious strikes occur at Kohler and Milwaukee.
1935: The first automatic clothes dryer is developed in Two Rivers by the Hamilton Manufacturing Company.
1940: Wisconsin census is 3,137,587; Armistice Day storm kills duck hunters in their blinds and sailors on the Great Lakes.
1941: The UW basketball team defeats Washington State to win the NCAA championship.
1942: Governor-elect O.S. Loomis dies, state Supreme Court appoints Lt. Gov. Walter Goodland as acting governor.
1945: Wisconsin sends 375,000 soldiers to World War II, 7,980 casualties.
1946: Wisconsin Progressive Party dissolves and joins the Republicans.
1947: State Civil War debt of $1,183,700 is retired.
1948: Wisconsin celebrates its centennial.
1949: The first telephone answering machine is invented in Milwaukee by Joseph J. Zimmerman.
1950: Wisconsin sends 132,000 soldiers to the Korean conflict, 800 casualties; Joseph McCarthy begins hunt for Communists; Wisconsin census is 3,434,575.
1951: First major legislative reapportionment since 1892; Wisconsin establishes the first statewide program for acquiring and managing natural areas for scientific research, for teaching conservation and natural history, and for preserving rare or valuable plant and animal species and communities.
1953: Braves baseball team moves to Milwaukee from Boston; UW football team loses to USC, 7-0, in the Rose Bowl.
1954: Anti-McCarthy sentiment grows as the senator's witch hunt for Communists intensifies.
1957: Sen. Joseph McCarthy dies; William Proxmire replaces McCarthy in the Senate; Milwaukee Braves win the World Series, 4 games to 3, defeating the New York Yankees; Ada Deer, who was later appointed to head the Bureau of Indian Affairs, becomes the first member of the Menominee nation to graduate from the University of Wisconsin.
1958: Professor Joshua Lederberg, UW geneticist, is named the Nobel prize winner in medicine; Milwaukee Braves lose the World Series, 4 games to 3, to the New York Yankees.
1959: Circus World Museum is established in Baraboo; Frank Lloyd Wright dies; a law is enacted allowing public employees to negotiate labor conditions with their employers.
1960: Dena Smith is elected state treasurer, becoming the first woman to be elected to a statewide office in Wisconsin; UW football team loses to Washington in the Rose Bowl; Wisconsin census is 3,951,777.
1961: Menominee Indian reservation becomes Wisconsin's 72nd county.
1963: UW football team loses to USC in the Rose Bowl.
1964: Cooperative Educational Service Agencies (CESA) is created to provide regional services.
1965: School compulsory attendance age is raised to 18.
1966: Wisconsin wins the Keep America Beautiful award; Governor calls out the National Guard during civil rights demonstrations in Wauwatosa; the National Organization of Women is organized with the assistance of nine Wisconsin women. Kathryn Clarenbach is elected first chairwoman of NOW.
1967: Ban on colored oleomargarine is repealed; Milwaukee racial riots; UW demonstrations against the Vietnam War escalate; Green Bay Packers win the first Super Bowl, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs.
1968: First Wisconsin heart transplant is performed in Milwaukee; first successful bone marrow transplant at UW-Madison; Ninety black students are expelled from Wisconsin State University-Oshkosh after demonstrations; Green Bay Packers win their second consecutive Super Bowl, defeating the Oakland Raiders.
1969: Father James Groppi and welfare demonstrators take over the Assembly chambers; National Guard is ordered to control student riots at UW-Madison; Melvin Laird is appointed U.S. secretary of defense; interstate highway system is completed in Wisconsin.
1970: Sterling Hall bombing at UW-Madison kills one student; first elections to four-year terms in Wisconsin history for all constitutional officers; first Earth Day is celebrated; Wisconsin census is 4,417,933.
1971: Merger of the University of Wisconsin and the State University systems; Milwaukee Bucks win the NBA championship, defeating the Baltimore Bullets.
1972: Bill passes requiring environmental impact statement for all legislation affecting the environment.
1973: Constitutional amendment is adopted permitting bingo; Barbara Thompson becomes the first woman elected to the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
1974: Kathryn Morrison becomes the first woman elected to the state Senate; striking teachers are fired in Hortonville.
1975: Menominee Indians occupy the Alexian Brothers Novitiate, prompting the governor to call the National Guard; "Edmund Fitzgerald" sinks in Lake Superior during a storm.
1976: Milwaukee schools are ordered to integrate by U.S. District Court; ice storm in southern Wisconsin causes $50.4 million of damage; Shirley Abrahamson becomes the first woman to serve on the Wisconsin Supreme Court; Exxon discovers zinc and copper deposits in Forest County; Madison teachers strike; prisoners at Waupun State Prison take 14 hostages during a 13-hour takeover.
1977: Gov. Patrick Lucey is appointed ambassador to Mexico; state employees strike for the first time in Wisconsin history; Court of Appeals is created; no-fault divorce legislation passes.
1978: Vel Phillips is elected secretary of state, becoming the first black constitutional officer; cameras are allowed in state courtrooms.
1979: The Wisconsin Women's Network is organized.
1980: Eric Heiden wins five gold medals in speedskating at the Winter Olympics; nearly 15,000 Cuban refugees are housed temporarily at Fort McCoy; Wisconsin's census is 4,705,642.
1981: Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co., "The beer that made Milwaukee famous," closes.
1982: State unemployment figures highest since the Depression years; Milwaukee Brewers lose the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals, 4 games to 3.
1983: Prisoners at Waupun State Prison take 15 hostages during a one-day uprising.
1984: Tornado hits Barneveld, killing nine; first Wisconsin liver transplant at UW-Madison.
1985: Federal courts rule that six Chippewa bands in the state retain special off-reservation hunting, fishing and food-gathering rights in 19th century treaties that ceded millions of acres to the federal government.
1986: Drinking age is raised to 21.
1987: Parimutuel betting and the lottery are approved by state voters as constitutional amendments.
1988: Chrysler Corp. closes the automobile assembly plant in Kenosha, the nation's oldest car plant.
1989: Law passes creating the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway.
1990: More than 1,400 Wisconsin soldiers are called to serve during the Persian Gulf crisis, 11 casualties; the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act requires all federally funded museums, including the State Historical Society Museum, to return religious and burial items and items of "cultural patrimony" which belong to the tribe as a whole and are of cultural, historical or traditional importance; Wisconsin's census is 4,891,769.
1991: Jeffrey Dahmer is arrested for brutal murders in Milwaukee.
1993: Donna Shalala is appointed U.S. secretary of health and human services; Les Aspin is appointed U.S. secretary of defense; Tom Loftus is appointed ambassador to Norway; Wisconsin census goes over 5 million; UW football team beats UCLA in the Rose Bowl.
1995: Elk are reintroduced in northern Wisconsin.
1997: Green Bay Packers win their third Super Bowl, defeating the New England Patriots; Monona Terrace convention center opens 60 years after Frank Lloyd Wright unveiled the plans.
1998: UW-Madison's James Thomson is the first scientist to grow a colony of human embryonic stem cells; Green Bay Packers are defeated by the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl; Wisconsin celebrates its sesquicentennial.
1999: UW football team wins the Rose Bowl, defeating UCLA; the University of Wisconsin celebrates its sesquicentennial; Ron Dayne becomes the top rusher in NCAA history and wins the Heisman Trophy; A giant crane collapses during the construction of Miller Park in Milwaukee, killing three workers.
2000: UW football team becomes the first Big 10 team to win consecutive Rose Bowls, defeating Stanford; UW men's basketball team advances to the Final Four in the NCAA tournament;
During construction of Miller Park in Milwaukee, a 567-foot crane lifting a section of the roof
collapses, killing three ironworkers, causing $100 million in damage and delaying the opening of the
ballpark by a year; Gov. Tommy Thompson is appointed secretary of health and human services by newly-elected
president George W. Bush.
2001: The first cloned lamb in North America is born at Infigen in DeForest.
2002: The deadliest crash in Wisconsin history kills 10 people on Interstate 43 near Sheboygan.
2008: Brett Favre retires from the Green Bay Packers.