The Wisconsin Blue Book, 1923
Mack, John G. D.
The four Wisconsin capitols, pp. -52 PDF (4.0 MB)
THE FOUR WISCONSIN CAPITOLS By JOHN G. D. MACK Wisconsin territory was created by act of congress April 20, 1836, including under this act the area of the states of Wisconsin, Minne- sota, Iowa and the portion of the two Dakotas east of the Missouri river and its northern tributary, the White Earth river, this latter being in the northwestern corner of North Dakota. It was then known that the territory would be reduced in size at a later date. The temporary seat of the territorial government was established at Belmont, a village built for the occasion with the possible hope that it might become the capital city of the future state, a hope which was soon shattered. Belmont was located in what is now Lafayette county between Platt and Belmont Mounds, landmarks visible for twenty-five miles in every direction. The site of the village is about five and one-half miles northeast of Platteville, about one-fourth mile from the present C. & N. W. railway station Leslie. The First Capitol In anticipation of the coming of the legislature, a frame building had been erected by James Atchison from whom it was rented for the use of the legislature. This building was a two-story structure with a battlement front, twenty-five by forty feet in dimensions. The timber for the building was purchased in Pittsburgh and brought down the Ohio river and up the Mississippi by steamboat and landed at Galena from whence it was hauled thirty miles to Belmont. The interior was lathed with split oak and plastered, making a very substantial frame building for the time. The territorial legislature met in this building in a forty-six day session between October 25 and December 9, 1836. A long struggle took place during this session in both the council and house of repre- sentatives in fixing the location of the future capital city, the follow- ing locations being proposed in various motions to replace Madison which was named in the bill: Fond du Lac, DuBuque, Portage, Helena, Milwaukee, Racine, Belmont, Mineral Point, Platteville, Astor, Cass- ville, Belleview, Koshkonong, Wisconsinapolis, Peru, Wisconsin City, Burlington, City of the Four Lakes, Osceola, Prairie du Chien. Madison was finally selected, probably through the efforts of Judge James Duane Doty, later governor, who had had a survey made of the present site of Madison in anticipation of its being made the capital city. Judge Doty also had surveys of Wisconsinapolis and the City of the Four Lakes, being part owner of these sites as well as of the Madison site.
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