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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Term: Mazomanie (Historic Marker Erected 1996)


Village Park, 39 Brodhead St., Mazomanie, Dane County

In 1850, the Milwaukee and Mississippi Rail Road Company began building a line to span the lower third of Wisconsin between Milwaukee and Prairie du Chien. Chief Engineer Edward Brodhead concluded that this area's topographical features were ideal for constructing a railroad servicing station and a commercial trading village. In 1855, he platted the village and named it "Mazomanie," an Indian name he believed to mean "Iron Horse." Mazomanie developed quickly after a dam and millrace were built to harness the water power of Black Earth Creek. The new rail-road village revitalized the lagging farm economy of the early settlers, who arrived in the 1840s under the auspices of the British Temperance Emigration Society. By the mid-1870s Mazomanie was a thriving commercial and industrial center of over 1100 people. The village eventually supported two flour mills, two creameries, a brewery, four blacksmith shops, a foundry, and factories which produced knitted goods, cabinets, carriages, wagons, and agricultural implements. Many of Mazomanie's 19th-century buildings remain in the village today.

[Source: Source: Source: McBride, Sarah Davis. History Just Ahead (Madison:WHS, 1999).]

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