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On This Day: September 30

1859 - Abraham Lincoln Speaks at State Fair

On this date Abraham Lincoln delivered an address at the Wisconsin State Fair. In his speech, he connected agriculture to education: "Every blade of grass is a study; and to produce two, where there was but one, is both a profit and a pleasure." The rising political star (who was elected the following year), also stressed the importance of free labor. This was Lincoln's last visit to Wisconsin. In 1861, after winning the presidential election, Lincoln signed the bill establishing the U.S. Department of Agriculture. [Source:]

1865 - (Civil War) 9th Wisconsin Light Artillery Musters Out

The 9th Wisconsin Light Artillery mustered out. It had spent the war in the West, moving through Colorado, New Mexico and Kansas to escort trains and U. S. Mail coaches on the Santa Fe Road. Later during the war it served in Missouri and Arkansas.

1882 - First Hydro-electric Power Plant Opens in Appleton

On this date the first commercial hydro-electric power plant in the United States opened in Appleton, Wisconsin. The small plant was used to light two paper mills and a home. [Source: America's Story from America's Library]

1891 - Devil's Island Lighthouse Lighted

On this date the beacon at Devil's Island Lighthouse near Bayfield was first lit. The lighthouse became a well known landmark to users of trans-Superior shipping lanes. It still shines across western Lake Superior. [Source: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore]