91 Interesting & Fun Facts About Wisconsin

Dive into the heart of the Midwest with our engaging collection of facts about Wisconsin. From its cheese-making prowess and iconic dairy industry to its rich history and lush landscapes, uncover the unique aspects that make Wisconsin a state of diverse cultures, traditions, and natural beauty.

green horizontal rectangle with white text facts about wisconsin image of wisconsin state flag in bottom left hand corner outline of state of wisconsin in bottom right hand corner

Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or culinary enthusiast, explore the fascinating details contributing to Wisconsin’s distinctive charm and character. Learning and studying facts about different states like Interesting Facts about Missouri opens a window to the diverse tapestry that forms a nation, highlighting the unique geography, culture, history, and achievements of each area.

This knowledge fosters a deeper appreciation for the country’s multifaceted nature and enhances our understanding of regional differences and commonalities, encouraging a sense of unity and curiosity.

green vertical rectangle with several facts and images depicting wisconsin with white block text in middle that reads facts about wisconsin with white text in blue rectangle at bottom that reads find more facts at frosting and glue dot com

Facts about Wisconsin

  1. The first kindergarten classes in the U.S. were held in Watertown in 1856 at the home of a German couple.
  2. Mount Horeb is full of trolls, but not the online hater kind. The town’s main street, dubbed the “Trollway,” is lined with hand-carved wooden ones. 
  3. Wisconsin drivers legally have to give livestock right-of-way on public roads.
  4. Minnesota’s official motto may be the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, but Wisconsin is not one to brag. The lake count comes in somewhere over 15,000, but the Wisconsin DNR modestly publishes a listing of 16,692 lakes.
  5. The capital city is Madison, and the state flower is a violet wood. Wisconsin’s state bird is the American robin, which gained its title back in 1949.
  6. The deadliest wildfire in U.S. history was in Wisconsin in 1871, killing around 3,000 people.
  7. Wisconsin is bordered by the states of Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, and Illinois.
  8. Yet another old law states that if you plan on parking your car for more than two hours in Milwaukee, it has to be tied to a horse.
  9. Wisconsin state is located in the Upper Midwest region of the United States. It is also part of the Great Lakes region.
  10. Wisconsin produces the entirety of ginseng grown in the United States, which accounts for roughly 10% of the world’s supply. 
  11. If you’re in St. Croix, Wisconsin, wearing red in public is technically illegal.
  12. Milwaukee is the most populous city in Wisconsin with a total population of 555,640. It is also the 31st most populous city in the whole U.S. 
  13. Wisconsin residents consume approximately 21 million gallons of ice cream per year.
  14. Milwaukee consists of 33% White people and 38.9% African Americans. There are also 7.64% of non-White Hispanics and 6.96% of White Hispanics.
  15. According to the Wisconsin Historical Society’s records, Edward C. Berner, an ice cream shop owner, served the first sundae in 1881. However, credit for the dessert’s creation actually goes to the customer who asked for chocolate sauce topping on his ice cream.
  16. During the summer, the population of Door County reaches ten times the number of year-round residents. (28,000 vs. 250,000) 
  17. Wisconsin is the only state to offer a Master Cheesemaker program. It takes three years to complete, and you need 10 years of cheese-making experience before you can even apply as a candidate.
  18. The Wisconsin-based Pleasant Company created American Girl, one of the best-selling doll lines of all time.
  19. Bodies of water in Wisconsin make up 1.13 million acres, while there are 34.8 million acres of dry land throughout the state.
  20. Wisconsin’s rivers and streams, if laid end-to-end, would stretch for 26,767 miles, which is almost 2,000 miles more than the circumference of the earth.
white horizontal rectangle with green border with text facts about wisconsin at top middle with fact listed underneath with river graphic in bottom right hand corner
  1. People have been living in Wisconsin for at least 12,000 years!
  2. The term “cheesehead” actually started as a term the German soldiers used to insult the Dutch during World War II. These days, the term is used in a bit more endearing way to describe cheese-lovin’ Wisconsites. 
  3. Wisconsin was the first to institute a statewide income tax. 
  4. A record-breaking 209,376 bratwursts were consumed in 2010 at Madison’s Brat Fest.
  5. The city of Green Bay is known as the ‘Toilet Paper Capital’ of the world.
  6. Wisconsin is 65,498 mi² (169,640 km²) in size, which makes it the 23rd biggest state in the U.S. It is between Florida and Georgia in size.
  7. The zip computer file type was also invented in the state, by Wisconsin native Phil Katz.
  8. Wisconsin prohibited the sale and use of margarine starting from 1895 to 1967. Although the ban has since been lifted, there are still some restrictions that remain on margarine.
  9. Warrens may be a tiny little village with only 400 residents, but each September it draws over 100,000 visitors to the world’s largest cranberry festival. 
  10. The name “Wisconsin” comes from a Native American language family, the Algonquian language. The word roughly translates to “River Running Through A Red Place,” which refers to the Wisconsin River.
  11. Though Christopher Latham Sholes was originally from Pennsylvania, he created his most famous invention in the Midwest. In 1867, Sholes made the typewriter.
  12. Barbie hails from the fictional town of Willows, Wisconsin. For the collector and doll aficionado, a day at the Fennimore Doll & Toy Museum may be in order.
  13. The first commercial telephone answering machine was also invented in Wisconsin, in 1949. It was called the Electronic Secretary.
  14. Wisconsin repealed its laws enforcing Prohibition in 1929, four years before the nation as a whole.
  15. The highest point in Wisconsin is Timms Hill, at 1,951 feet of elevation. 
  16. There are 72 counties within the state, and Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota border Wisconsin.
  17. If it were a country, Wisconsin would be twice as large as Austria or three times as large as Costa Rica.
  18. The first rural free delivery of mail in Wisconsin began in Watertown, Wisconsin in 1896. However, the first free rural delivery in the United States began in Charles Town, Halltown, and Uvilla in West Virginia, on October 1, 1896.
  19. The 11 federally recognized Native American tribes in Wisconsin include – the Ho-Chunk Nation, Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin, Oneida Nation, Forest County Potawatomi, Stockbridge-Munsee, Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. 
  20. Oshkosh hosts the largest experimental aviation event. With over 10,000 aircraft usually displayed each year, it’s the largest aviation event in the world.
white horizontal rectangle with green border with text facts about wisconsin at top middle with fact listed underneath with airplane graphic in bottom right hand corner
  1. Although Warrens only has 400 residents, it draws 100,000 visitors each September for the world’s largest cranberry festival. Wisconsin produces 60 percent of the nation’s cranberries!
  2. In fact, the 21st Amendment, which did away with Prohibition nationwide, was authored by Wisconsin Senator John J. Blaine.
  3. Nearly 1/3 of all Americans live within a 500-mile radius of the state of Wisconsin.
  4. Wisconsin was used as a hideaway spot for some of the most notorious gangsters, including the likes of Bugs Moran and Al Capone.
  5. The largest woolly mammal to have ever been excavated was discovered in Kenosha. Today Milwaukee Public Museum has a replica of this which you can see at any time.
  6. Wisconsin is bordered by four states – Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, and Michigan to the northeast (beside Lake Michigan).
  7. With more bikes than cars in the city, Madison is considered one of the most bicycle-friendly places in the Midwest. It was even recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as one of the top four biking cities in the country.
  8. The founders of Harley Davidson built their first motorcycle in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Today, the city is home to the Harley-Davidson Museum.
  9. The state also has copper and zinc deposits, but they haven’t been extensively mined.
  10. Wisconsin’s name comes from the Wisconsin River, which was called Meskousing by the Algonquian-speaking tribes. The name was recorded in 1673 by French explorer Jacques Marquette. Over time, the word was Anglicized into Ouisconsin, Wiskonsan, and finally into its current spelling and pronunciation.
  11. Flag Day’s first celebration was in Ozaukee County, on June 14, 1885.
  12.  A common nickname for Wisconsin is “The Badger State”. Not only did the animals thrive there, but early miners in the state dug holes in the ground to live in, just like badgers do.
  13. Famed for dairy production, Wisconsin is the number one exporter of cranberries, sweet corn, ginseng, and the second-largest exporter of whey in the United States.
  14. Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world, surrounds Wisconsin in the north. 
  15. The Milwaukee Public Museum was first chartered in 1882, and two years later, it was opened to the public. It has over 150,000 square feet of space, and its collections are divided into several exhibits across three and a half floors. 
  16. The state’s all-time highest temperature was 114°F (45.5°C) on July 13, 1936 in Wisconsin Dells, while the lowest was -55°F (-48.3°C) on February 4, 1996 in Couderay.
  17. The Onion, arguably the most famous news satire organization, was started by two University of Wisconsin-Madison students, Tim Keck and Christopher Johnson, in 1988.
  18. The Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw Festival, held in Sauk City and Prairie du Sac, is the world’s largest celebration of bovine fecal matter.
  19. Delavan is the home to the first circus to perform within the United States. 
  20. Wisconsin is also called “America’s Dairyland”, “The Dairy State”, and “The Cheese State.” It produces more cheese than any other state and the second most milk after California. 
white horizontal rectangle with green border with text facts about wisconsin at top middle with fact listed underneath with dairy graphic in bottom right hand corner
  1. Milk is the official state beverage (but the same can be said about 20 other U.S. states).
  2. Green Bay is Wisconsin’s oldest city.
  3. Oshkosh, a small town found on Lake Winnebago to the Northwest of Milwaukee, is prominent for two things: the first is its popular line of children’s clothing, and secondly, the integral place it occupies on the world’s air show circuit. 
  4. Lake Michigan, the largest freshwater lake within the U.S. territory, borders Wisconsin on the east.
  5. With 300 miles of coast, the Door County peninsula has more shoreline than any other county in the country. For that reason, it’s become known as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest.”
  6. Thirty percent of the state’s population lives in the five-county metropolitan area around Milwaukee. Visit the city to explore awe-inspiring art museums, scenic lakeshore paths, and unique restaurants perfect for nights out with friends.
  7. Barbie, the improbably proportioned doll of a million career and wardrobe changes, comes from the (fictional) town of Willows, Wisconsin.
  8. The state’s first governor was Nelson Dewey, from 1848-1852.
  9. Wausau hosts the International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival. This annual event is held in September. Events for this festival include cooking demonstrations, food and beverage sample booths, live music, area dance groups, and the Root Run 5K.
  10. The official motto of Wisconsin is “Forward”, while state tourism slogans have included “Live Like You Mean It”, “Life’s So Good”, “Escape to Wisconsin”, and “Stay Just a Little Bit Longer.”
  11. The Wisconsin Dells boasts the most number of water parks in a single area in the whole world.
  12. In 1854, a group of anti-slavery activists like Alvan E. Bovay and Horace Greeley, gathered in Ripon, Wisconsin to oppose the expansion of slavery! Hence, they proposed a new party, named the Republican Party. 
  13. Frank Lloyd Wright, a prolific architect, was a Wisconsin native. During his 70-year career, he designed 1,114 architectural works, of which over 500 were constructed. Many of the architect’s most famous designs are in his home state, including the Burnham Block and the Albert Adelman House.
  14. The most snowfall ever recorded in one season in Wisconsin happened between 1996-97 when the town of Hurley received over 295 inches—almost 25 feet! No wonder the Northwoods are so ideal for snowmobiling.
  15. The battle cry “On Wisconsin!” was first uttered at the Civil War Battle of Missionary Ridge by then-lieutenant Arthur MacArthur, Jr., whose future little boy Dougie would grow up to be five-star General Douglas MacArthur.
  16. Milwaukee is home to the first brewery, Pabst Brewery.
  17. The state’s official abbreviation is WI.
  18. Wisconsin has more than 15,000 lakes and 13,500 miles (21,700 kilometers) of navigable streams and rivers. Almost 3 percent of Wisconsin’s area—nearly a million acres (405,000 hectares)—is lakes.
  19. Wisconsin is home to over 454 bird species. Out of these, the Wisconsin Legislature declared the American Robin or the Robin Redbreast as the state bird in 1949. 
  20. Wisconsin touches two of the five Great Lakes, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. Altogether, this Midwest state has over 800 miles of shoreline.
white horizontal rectangle with green border with text facts about wisconsin at top middle with fact listed underneath with lake graphic in bottom right hand corner
  1. Freshwater surfers know Sheboygan as the “Malibu of the Midwest”, and travelers come from all around the world to try their hand at the sport and to watch the pros in action. 
  2. Confederate spy Belle Boyd, known as the “Secesh Cleopatra,” was a Virginian by birth and loyalty, but she’s become a posthumous Unionist as she died and lies buried in Wisconsin Dells.
  3. The largest cross-country ski race, American Birkebeiner, has more than 5,000 competitors within Cable.
  4. Wisconsin’s state flag features the coat of arms on a blue background, with the state name, motto, and date of joining the Union. The coat of arms has a miner with a pick and a sailor with a coil of rope, a badger, and a shield with the state’s four industries: navigation, agriculture, manufacturing, and mining.
  5. The Milwaukee Art Museum, abbreviated as MAM, contains close to 30,000 works of art and is among the largest museums to be found in the U.S. It used to be partially housed in a structure designed by Eero Saarinen in 1957 as a war memorial. 
  6. According to National Geographic, archaeologists found many mammoth bones that are at least 14,500 years old! These bones even have marks of human-made weapons, showing that humans inhabited present-day Wisconsin more than ten thousand years ago.
  7. The Miami Native Americans called the river that runs through the middle of the state “Meskonsing,” which meant “river running through a red place.”
  8. The first-ever Flag Day was celebrated in Ozaukee County.
  9. A Milwaukee newspaper editor and printer created the QWERTY keyboard.
  10. Wisconsin is the largest exporter of cranberries, sweet corn, and ginseng, and is the second-largest exporter of whey throughout the United States.
  11. Sun Prairie hosts a sweet corn festival, and it is one of the largest festivals of its kind in the United States.
vertical rectangle with green line at top with white text that reads your kids are going to love these facts underneath is an image of two cows grazing at the center underneath that is the text 91 interesting facts about wisconsin and a green line with white text that reads www dot frosting and glue dot com at the bottom

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: