As a suburb of Madison, Wisconsin, Portage is the largest city in Columbia County and is home to our nation’s beloved “Father of the National Parks”, John Muir; Muir emigrated to America in a farm just outside of the city proper. More recently, the 2010 Census counted 10,662 residents in the city which is surrounded by beautiful grasslands and prairies.
This city, whose slogan is “Where the North Begins”, got its name because of its literal geographic location as a portage between the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers. This dates back to the original times of the Menominee nation of Native Americans who called it Kahkāmohnakaneh, or “the short cut”. This name was also used by French fur traders who called it “le portage”, thus always having a history of a connection to the word portage.
Of the 10,662 residents in the 2010 Census, 4,060 households and 2,349 families constituted all measured inhabitants. The racial constituency as of 2010 was 90% Caucasian, 5% African American, 4% Latino or Hispanic, 1% Native American, less than 1% Asian, 0.7% from other races and 1.6% which denoted being of two or more races. About one third or 31% of all households had children living with them, 40.5% were married and 42% were non-families. Average family size was 2.9, or roughly 3 people per family.
Some of the educational facilities in the city include three elementary schools (John Muir, Woodridge and Rusch), a middle school (Wayne E. Bartels), a high school (Portage High School), two private schools (St. John’s Lutheran and St. Mary’s Catholic), and a technical college (Madison Area Technical College).
Interesting Landmarks and Things To Do
Constructed into a traditional grid system, the city’s downtown features shopping at boutiques and dining at restaurants. The city also has traditional, more commercial shopping in its Northridge area. Besides shopping and perusing the downtown scene, a bike path was created in 2007 which runs alongside the canal. Historical landmarks have also recently been redone at the local museum, Surgeon’s Quarters and the Indian Agency house. The city includes many historical landmarks from prominent historians, politicians, forts and more pertaining to the Revolutionary War. French-Canadian Jesuit missionaries Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet are prominently displayed in statues within this Wisconsin city’s limits.
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