Home Featured News The tiny village that was Wisconsin’s first capital

The tiny village that was Wisconsin’s first capital

by Jan Schroder

There are less than 1,000 people living in town now, but when Wisconsin was first made into a territory, it chose the village of Belmont as its capital.

Located in southwestern Wisconsin, Belmont owes its claim to fame thanks to John Atchison, a businessman who built four public buildings in Belmont to attract legislators. He was good friends with Wisconsin’s first Territorial Governer Henry Dodge, and Dodge named Atchison’s village as the territorial capital in 1836.

The naming of Belmont as capital drew criticism, and eventually it moved to Burlington in 1837, then Madison in 1838. It’ll always have started in Belmont, though.

– Staff Reports, The 100 Companies

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