Wisconsin: A Guide to the Badger State

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The highway crosses Platte River, 65.5 m., at a point where a ferry once operated. Even after the first bridge had been built the ferry continued its work, for every heavy backwater would tear the flimsy structure loose and carry it downstream or lodge it in the trees along the banks. From the crest of a ridge appear (R) the jagged blue outline of the Iowa bluffs and (L) the Platte Mounds, 10 to 15 miles distant (see Tour 12).

DICKEYVILLE, 68.7 m. (955 alt., 85 pop.) (see Tour 12), is at the junction with US 151 (see Tour 12). Between Dickeyville and the Iowa Line, 76.7 m., US 61 and US 151 are one route (see Tour 12).


Tour 12
Dodgeville -- Mineral Point -- Platteville -- Dickeyville -- (Dubuque, Iowa); US 151.

Dodgeville to Iowa Line, 51.2 m.

Oiled-gravel and concrete roadbed. Village and city accommodations; few resorts and campsites.

US 151 traverses the oldest settled region in Wisconsin, the unglaciated mining country. Here in the southwest is the only area in the State that was not covered by the great glacier (see Natural Setting), and here, too, is the only region where the invading seas of preglacial eras deposited rich veins of lead and zinc. Thousands of years later it was lead that attracted the first large group of permanent white settlers to Wisconsin and made mining the first stable industry in the State.

How early the Indians mined the lead is not known, but toward the end of the eighteenth century the more enterprising among them owned small diggings and were smelting the metal over open fires. By 1824, in spite of the hostility of the Winnebagoes, the earliest Badger mining settlements were founded at Hardscrabble, now Hazel Green (see Tour 24), and New Diggings. Three years later hundreds of lead miners came, the "Suckers" and "Badgers" from Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and southern Illinois. The former came north in early spring and retreated south in fall; the latter dug homes in the hillsides and stayed the year around. Wisconsin's nickname, the "Badger State," comes from them.

These miners settled wherever lead was found. By 1828 the three focal cities of Dodgeville, Mineral Point, and Platteville were founded, and a mining boom swept the region. Between 1832-5 the Cornish

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