University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Whitbeck, R. H., 1871-1939 (Ray Hughes) / The geography and economic development of southeastern Wisconsin

The geography and economic development of southeastern Wisconsin. Chapter I. Introduction,   pp. [1]-4 PDF (830.0 KB)

Page [1]

The five counties* with which this bulletin deals can scarcely
be regarded as forming a natural or geographic unit. The
three counties, Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha, owe much of
their industrial eminence to two geographical advantages which
they possess in common, namely, their frontage on Lake Michi-
gan and their nearness to Chicago. All five of the counties
lie in the Chicago industrial district, and this gives them a de-
zree of economic unity.
(1 A  The most influential factor in the industrial development of
Wisconsin has been its frontage on Lake Michigan. Along this
water front the niost important group of cities in the state
has grown up. From these cities the chief lines of transporta-
tion have been built into the interior, and so the lake ports
hecame the commercial gateways of the state.
During the first quarter century of Wisconsin's statehood,
the region for 100 miles inland from the lake was very cloealy
connected in a business way with these lake shore cities.
Nearly all of the main highways and railways led to them; one
road (C. & N. W.), in the Rock River Valley, led to Chicago,
but the others terminated at Wisconsin ports. For many
years, wheat, wool, lead, and other products were hauled by
teams scores of miles from the interior to markets on the shore
of Lake Michigan; and lumber, shingles, salt, machinery, and
general merchandise were hauled back.
From the beginning, Waukesha County has been closely
linked up with Milwaukee; and Walworth County, for a long
time, was directly tributary to Milwaukee, Racine, and Ke-
nosha. The only early railroad line traversing any consider-
*Milwaukee, Kenosha, Racine, Walworth and Waukesha.

Go up to Top of Page