Term: Racine, Racine Co.
A community in Racine Co. at latitude 424334N and longitude 0874658W; county seat of Racine Co.
Description from John W. Hunt's 1853 Wisconsin Gazetteer:
"RACINE, City, is situated on the western shore of Lake Michigan, at the mouth of Root river, and comprises fractional sections 9 and 16 of town 3 N., of range 23 E. It was first settled in 1835, incorporated as a village in 1841, and received a city charter in 1848. The city is principally built upon a plain or table land elevated some thirty or forty feet above the waters of the lake, forming a beautiful site for a city. It is laid out in regular lots and blocks with wide streets, and is justly entitled to the appellation of "La Belle City of the Lakes." It is the county town of Racine county, situated 16 miles north of the State line, and 25 south of Milwaukee. Its beautiful and healthful location, combined with its commercial advantages, early attracted the attention of adventurers and capitalists; and it has had a rapid, continuous, and healthy growth, as will be seen by the following statement of annual enumeration of its inhabitants: In 1840 the population was 337; 1844, 1,100; 1847, 3,004; 1849, 4,002; 1850, 5,111; 1851, 5,897; and it is now supposed to be nearly 7,000. Racine has one of the best, if not the very best harbor on the western shore of the lake. Over $60,000 have been expended in its construction by the citizens, of their own means, raised by voluntary taxation. This enterprize is justly considered one of the most important ever projected and carried out to a successful completion by so small a community, and furnishes a fair index to the character of her population for enterprize. In addition to the amount raised by this means, Congress has appropriated $12,500, which has been expended, and $10,000 are now appropriated to be expended the present season. The harbor is now sufficient to accommodate the entire shipping of the lake, and being protected by the high banks of the river is entirely safe. The city of Racine is also distinguished among western towns for the number and beauty of its public buildings. Over $125,000 are now invested in them. Fourteen churches have been erected, to wit: 1 Presbyterian, 1 Congregational, 1 Baptist, 1 Freewill Baptist, 1 Episcopal, 1 Methodist, 1 Lutheran, 2 Welch, 1 German Evangelical, 1 German Lutheran, 1 Universalist, 2 Catholic,1 German and 1 Irish. Racine college, an Episcopal institution, is located at this point. ¿ The facilities afforded by the harbor and other commercial advantages of the place, have attracted a large amount of capital. There are ten warehouses in the city valued at $53,000, and two bridge piers valued at $7,000. Three shipyards are constantly employed in the building and repairing of vessels, and five new vessels are now being built in them. The citizens of the city own in whole, or in part, between thirty and forty different vessels, with a tonnage of over 4,000 tons, consisting of propellers, schooners, brigs and sloops, which are engaged in the carrying trade between the upper and lower lakes, and in the lumber trade on lake Michigan. There are now 126 mercantile stores in the various branches, 1 steam flouring mill with four run of stone, and 2 water mills just out of the limits of the corporation; there are 7 different mechanics shops, with steam engines and their furnaces. The bank of Racine is in successful operation, issuing bills and doing a general banking business. There are 3 plank roads extending into the country from the city... Speed's and O'Reilly's telegraph lines both have offices in the city, and the Racine and Rock River telegraph company have a line completed from Racine to Beloit, touching at all the intermediate villages. The Racine, Janesville, and Mississippi railroad has been surveyed and located from Racine to Beloit, and the contracts are now let for the whole distance and the work in process of construction, and will be completed by September 1854. ¿ "
The Racine fire of May 5-6, 1882, lasted from 11 p.m. until the following afternoon, produced ruins that extended over a seven block area, and was controlled only after help arrived from Chicago and Milwaukee.
View historic pictures of this community at Wisconsin Historical Images.
View newspaper clippings at Wisconsin Local History and Biography Articles.
[Source: U.S. Geographic Names Information Server]