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. -4 PDF (830.0 KB)
INTRODUCTION 3 able part of Walworth County had its eastern terminus at Racine. It is true therefore that, although the five counties may not form a natural unit, they are all closely linked together and have been, from their first settlement, notably interde- pendent. A second geographic factor making for economic unity has been the fact that the region is plain-like in character. No deep valleys, separated by steep divides, have interposed bar- riers. Therefore roads and railroads have been readily ex- tended in any direction that their builders deemed expedient. The wide stretches of level or gently rolling land have made agriculture attractive and profitable. The dominantly clay Fig. 3. loam soils and the summer rainfall have combined to make dairy farming successfuL The absence of any large amount of waterpower tended to limit manufacturing to steam-driven ma- chinery; this limitation, in time, caused the notable concentra- tion of industries on the lake shore, where coal is cheapest. Consequently manufacturing was handicapped in towns away from the lake. More than 90 per cent of the manufacturing done in the five counties is done in three lake shore cities- Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha. Lake transportation is still of importance to Milwaukee be- cause it gives the city cheaper coal. It is also a large factor in making Milwaukee an important grain market; yet the indxs- tries of the city have gained such a momentum that they would, in all probability, continue to grow with little if any abatement even without the advantage of lake transportation.
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