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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Term: Baraboo [brief history]

Definition: Baraboo is located in Sauk County, just north of Devil's Lake in south central Wisconsin.  First settled around 1838 by Abe Wood, Baraboo grew quickly enough to become the county seat in 1846.  

Baraboo’s proximity to both the Baraboo and Wisconsin rivers made it an attractive area for settlement and the development of industry, particularly sawmills.  The Ringling Brothers called the town home, as did several other circus acts in the 19th century, earning the town the nickname “Circus City.”

Officially incorporated in 1882, Baraboo today boasts a population of over 10,000.  Notable attractions in and around Baraboo include: Circus World Museum, Devil's Lake State Park, Badger Army Ammunition Plant, the International Crane Foundation, and the Al Ringling Theatre.

[Source: WHS Library-Archives staff, 2009]

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