Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Madison in Dane County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

This city was planned in 1836

The Madison Heritage Series

 
 
This city was planned in 1836 Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, July 9, 2010
1. This city was planned in 1836 Marker
Inscription. It was future Wisconsin Governor James Doty who first envisioned a city on this site, after passing through the area and glimpsing its potential in 1829.

In April 1836, Doty purchased land on this isthmus between two lakes. That November, he lobbied the legislature of the newly created Wisconsin Territory to locate its capital city here. Doty’s street plan for Madison, drafted on his way to the legislature, was inspired by Washington, D.C. This influence is apparent in Capitol Square, which radiates spoke-like streets.

Madison had some advantages over the other 18 capital contenders. It boasted natural beauty, a central location and patriotic appeal: The name honored the late president James Madison and, unlike any other American town, most streets were named for signers of the Constitution. After some savvy promotion, Doty’s “capital idea” became a reality.

Sidebar:

James Doty’s original plat map of Madison included plans for a canal, which had great commercial appeal due to the success of the Erie Canal in 1825. Doty’s location proved impractical. Later, developer Leonard Farwell modified the idea by straightening the Yahara River.

In succeeding decades city officials gradually refined Doty’s plan by adopting improvements suggested by others including the pioneering urban planner
This city was planned in 1836 Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, July 9, 2010
2. This city was planned in 1836 Marker
Closeup of the plat map on the marker.
John Nolen.
 
Erected 2006 by City of Madison.
 
Location. 43° 4.415′ N, 89° 22.967′ W. Marker is in Madison, Wisconsin, in Dane County. Marker is on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard 0.1 miles south of West Main Street, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. The marker is near the southeast corner of the M&I Bank building at 1 West Main Street. Marker is in this post office area: Madison WI 53703, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. David James Schaefer (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); U.S. Post Office and Courthouse (about 400 feet away); Hans Christian Heg (about 400 feet away); John A. Urich (about 400 feet away); Wisconsin State Capitol (about 500 feet away); Jackman Building (about 500 feet away); Smith and Lamb Block (about 500 feet away); Madison is an Indian mound capital (about 500 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Madison.
 
More about this marker. This marker is part of the The Madison Heritage Series, Sharing Our Legacy, created for Madison's sesquicentennial. The marker was sponsored by the Madison Community Foundation and Kraft Foods/Oscar Mayer.
 
Also see . . .
1. How Madison Became the Capital
This city was planned in 1836 Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, July 9, 2010
3. This city was planned in 1836 Marker
The marker is in the lower center with the State Capitol in the background. Vendors set up for the Art Fair On the Square on the streets.
. Essay from the Wisconsin Historical Society elaborating on what the marker euphemistically referred to as "savvy promotion" (and what some might call bribery). (Submitted on July 11, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin.) 

2. Movers & Shapers. Article naming Doty as one of the 10 most influential people in Madison history. (Submitted on July 12, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin.) 
 
Categories. PoliticsSettlements & Settlers
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 485 times since then and 14 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Paid Advertisement