Wisconsin Historical Marker: The Point of Beginning

After leaving Potosi, I continued on the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail heading south. Nearly this entire section is on pavement and much is running through farmlands – still scenic if you like rural midwestern scenery, but nothing epic to write home about. Thankfully the sun rays and partially cloudy skies made up for otherwise dull spring landscapes.

The conclusion of the trail is at Historical Marker #172 which is titled “Point of Beginning.” This is where surveying for what we know now as the state of Wisconsin started back in the 1830’s. Full text of the sign:

Late in 1831, when Wisconsin was still in Michigan Territory, Lucius Lyon, U. S. Commissioner on the survey of the northern boundary of the State of Illinois, set a post and erected a mound of earth 6 feet square at the base and 6 feet high, at a point 1/2 mile east of here to mark the intersection of that boundary and the 4th Principal Meridian. The Wisconsin public land surveys were begun here in 1832 and were completed “up north” in 1867. Lyon surveyed 16 townships in S. W. Wisconsin in 1832-33, which opened this Territory for settlement. In 1833 Michigan Territory honored this veteran surveyor by electing him their Delegate to Congress. The post and mound he erected at this point were obliterated by fence and power line construction long ago, but the point is now preserved by a new concrete surveyor’s monument. Every section corner monument in the state; the boundaries of each county, city, village, township, farm and lot; the position of roads, lakes and streams, all were surveyed and mapped from this Point of Beginning.

On each side of the marker are educational signs. One is labeled “Creating a Patchwork Quilt” and covers the surveying aspect, the other is titled “Lead Fever” and discusses the lead mining boom in this region, whic his ultimately what led to the survey. Did you ever wonder why Wisconsin has a badger as it’s mascot when you don’t really see a bunch of badgers roaming around? From the sign:

Many of the first miners simply dug, like the animal the badger, into the side of a hill and called it home. That’s how Wisconsin got it’s nickname “The Badger State.”

If you turn away from the sign and look south on WI-80, you’ll spot the “Welcome to Illinois” sign.

Sunlight is starting to fade away. I only have a little longer before darkness sets in for the night. But rather than head straight back to camp, I decided to press on into Iowa and squeeze out as much adventure as I can.

GPS Driving Data

As you can see it isn’t very far from Potosi to the sign in Hazel Green. It’s not a bad drive but again it’s almost entirely on pavement through farmlands that you can find almost anywhere in the region. Nice little drive but not much to write home about.

Just under 30 miles for this section with minimal elevation change. Just lots of rural backroads.

GaiaGPS driving data @ Potosi to Hazel Green section of the T.W.A.T.
GaiaGPS driving data @ Potosi to Hazel Green section of the T.W.A.T.
Lat = 42.5078163 , Long = -90.4365463 -- Show at Google Maps

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