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About Racine

Racine, Wisconsin

 

 

 

 

Racine (/rəˈsn/ ruh-seen, or /ˈrsn/ ray-seen) is a city in and the county seat of Racine County, Wisconsin, United States. It is located on the shore of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Root River. Racine is centrally located betweenMilwaukee and Chicago. As of the 2013 U.S. census, the city had a population of 78,199, making it the fifth-largest city in Wisconsin. Its median home price of $103,625 makes it the least expensive city in Wisconsin to buy a home.

Racine has long been a factory town with production of J. I. Case (heavy equipment), S. C. Johnson & Son (cleaning and chemical products), Dremel Corporation, Reliance Controls Corporation, Twin Disc, and Arthur B. Modine (Heat Exchangers). It is home to various immigrant communities. Racine was home to wagon maker Mitchell & Lewis Company in the 19th century, which, at the start of the 20th century, began making motorcycles and automobiles asMitchell-Lewis Motor Company. Racine was also home to the inventor of the InSinkErator, the first garbage disposal. Architects of the city included A. Arthur Guilbert and Edmund Bailey Funston. Malted milk balls were also developed in Racine.

 

 

Racine 070611.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

History 

 

 

 


Native Americans inhabited the area of Racine as early as 10,000 BCE, but most of the artifacts that have survived, such as the burial mounds in what is now Mound Cemetery, date back only to 500 BCE or later. Historians separate the natives living in the Root watershed at that time into Woodland people, who were more common, and Hopewell people, who were more advanced. After European contact, the Miami and later the Potawatomi expanded into the area, taking part in the French fur trade.

In November of 1674, while traveling from Green Bay to the territory of the Illinois Confederation, Father Jacques Marquette and his assistants, Jacques Largillier and Pierre Porteret, camped at the mouth of the Root River.[12]These were the first Europeans known to visit what is now Racine County. Further expeditions were made in the area by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle in 1679 and by François Jolliet De Montigny and Jean Baptiste Bissot, Sieur de Vincennes in 1698. Nearly a century later, in 1791, a trading post would be established along Lake Michigan near where the Root River empties into it.

 

 

 

 

 

 
The mouth of the Root River, Racine, Wisconsin

Following the Blackhawk War, the area surrounding Racine, which had previously been off-limits, was settled by Yankees from upstate New Yorkand New England. In 1834 Captain Gilbert Knapp USRM, who was from Chatham, Massachusetts, founded the settlement of "Port Gilbert" at the place where the Root River empties into Lake Michigan. Knapp had first explored the area of the Root River valley in 1818, and returned with financial backing when the war ended. Within a year of Knapp's settlement hundreds of other settlers from New England and western New York had arrived and built log cabins in the area surrounding his own. Some of the settlers were from the town of Derby, Connecticut, and others came from the New England states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. The area was previously called "Kipi Kawi" and "Chippecotton" by the indigenous peoples, both names for the Root River. The name "Port Gilbert" was never really accepted, and in 1841 the community was incorporated as the village of Racine, after the French word for "root". After Wisconsin was admitted to the Union in 1848, the new legislature voted in August to incorporate Racine as a city.

In 1852, Racine College, an Episcopal college, was founded; it closed in 1933. Its location and many of its buildings are preserved today by the Community of St. Mary as part of the DeKoven Center.

Also in 1852, Racine High School, the first public high school in Wisconsin, opened. The high school operated until 1926, when it was torn down to make way for the new Racine County Courthouse. Washington Park High School was built to replace it.

Before the Civil War, Racine was well known for its strong opposition to slavery, with many slaves escaping to freedom via the Underground Railroad passing through the city. In 1854 Joshua Glover, an escaped slave who had made a home in Racine, was arrested by federal marshals and jailed in Milwaukee. One hundred men from Racine, and ultimately 5,000 Wisconsinites, rallied and broke into the jail to free him. He was helped to escape to Canada. Glover's rescue gave rise to many legal complications and a great deal of litigation. This eventually led to the Wisconsin Supreme Court declaring the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850unconstitutional, and later, the Wisconsin State Legislature refusing to recognize the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

 

 

 

 

Immigrant culture

Waves of immigrants, including Danes, Germans, and Czechs, began to settle in Racine between the Civil War and the First World War. African Americans started arriving in large numbers during World War I, as they did in other Midwestern industrial towns, and Mexicans migrated to Racine from roughly 1925 onward.

Unitarians, Episcopalians and Congregationalists from New England initially dominated Racine's religious life. Racine's Emmaus Lutheran Church, the oldest Danish Lutheran Church in North America, was founded on August 22, 1851. Originally a founding member of the Danish American Lutheran Church, it has subsequently been a member of the United Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (UDELCA), the American Lutheran Church (ALC), and, since 1988, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). There was also a large Catholic movement to the city, opening up churches for their own ethnicity, such as St. Stanislaus (Polish), St. Rose (Irish), Holy Name (German), St. Patrick (Irish), Sacred Heart (Italian), St. Joseph (German), St. Mary (German), Holy Trinity (Slovak), St. Casimir (Lithuanian), and others. As years passed, populations moved and St. Stanislaus, Holy Name, Holy Trinity, St. Rose, and St. Casimir merged in 1998, forming St. Richard. With new waves of people arriving, older parishes received a boost from the Hispanic community, which formed Cristo Rey, re-energizing St. Patrick's into the strong Catholic community of today.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Kringle from Racine, Wisconsin

Racine has the largest North American settlement of Danes outside of Greenland.[citation needed] The city has become known for its Danish pastries, particularly kringle. Several local bakeries have been featured on the Food Network  including O & H Bakery and Bendtsen's Bakery highlighting the pastry. In June 2010, President Barack Obama stopped at an O & H Bakery before hosting a town hall meeting on the economy and jobs later that afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

Industry

Racine was a factory town almost from the very beginning. The first industry in Racine County included the manufacture of fanning mills, machines that separate wheat grain from chaff. Racine also had its share of captains of industry, including J. I. Case (heavy equipment), S. C. Johnson & Son (cleaning and chemical products), and Arthur B. Modine (Heat Exchangers). Racine's harbor was central to the shipping industry in Wisconsin in the late 19th century. Racine was also an early car manufacturing center. One of the world's first automobiles was built there in 1871 or 1872 by Dr. J. W. Cathcart, as was the Pennington[disambiguation needed] Victoria tricycle, the Mitchell, and the Case.

In 1887, malted milk was invented in Racine by English immigrant William Horlick, and Horlicks remains a global brand. The garbage disposal was invented in 1927 by architect John Hammes of Racine, who founded the company InSinkErator, which still produces millions of garbage disposers every year in Racine. Racine is also the home of S.C. Johnson & Son, whose headquarters were designed in 1936 by Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright also designed the Wingspread Conference Center and several homes and other buildings in Racine. The city is also home to the Dremel Corporation, Reliance Controls Corporation and Twin Disc. Case New Holland’s Racine manufacturing facility, which builds two types of tractors (the New Holland T8 and the Case IH Magnum), offers public tours throughout the year.

 

 

 

 

 

Historic districts and buildings

Racine includes the Old Main Street Historic District. Historic buildings in Racine include the Badger Building, Racine Elks Club, Lodge No. 252, St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Young Men's Christian Association Building, Chauncey Hall House, Eli R. Cooley House, George Murray House, Hansen House, Racine College,McClurg Building, First Presbyterian Church, Memorial Hall, Racine Depot, United Laymen Bible Student Tabernacle, Chauncey Hall Building, Thomas P. Hardy House, and Horlick Field. The area is home to several National Register of Historic Places listed structures: National Register of Historic Places listings in Racine County, Wisconsin. The city is also home to Regency Mall.

Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built the Johnson Wax Headquarters building in Racine. The building was and still is considered a marvel of design innovation, despite its many practical annoyances such as leaks. Wright urged then-president Hib Johnson to build the structure outside of Racine, a city Wright thought of as "backwater." Johnson refused to have the Johnson Wax Headquarters sited anywhere other than Racine, and in a compromise Wright built it in Racine, but without windows.

 

 

 

 

Racine County Insane Asylum

 
Former asylum pond and grounds

The Racine County Insane Asylum was established in 1889. The asylum was destroyed in a fire in 1904 that was widely covered in the national press. The asylum was rebuilt after the fire, and a home for the county poor was added to the facility in 1918. The institution was also known as the Gatliff Asylum and was served by the Gatliff stop on the railroad. Gatliff was named after Nelson Gatliff (1813–1898), an early pioneer in Racine County that owned extensive farmland. The facility was also used as a tuberculosis sanatorium. Later it was known as High Ridge Hospitals and High Ridge Health Care Center of Racine County. It was razed circa 1980. The site is now a retail development known as High Ridge Centre, with only the old pond remaining from the former asylum.

 

 

 

 

 

Cultural notes[edit]

 

 

 


Prom

The city is known for its large prom celebration, at which students from all the high schools in the city participate in an after prom party. This was featured on the radio show This American Life in Episode #186 "Prom", which originally aired on June 8, 2001; Racine's prom tradition was also the subject of the 2006 documentary The World's Best Prom.

 

 

 

 

Water

Racine received an award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors on June 20, 2011 for having the best tasting city tap water in America. Racine's water comes fromLake Michigan. It is filtered through a system of about 120 million straws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geography 

 

 

 


Racine is located at 42°43′34″N 87°48′21″W (42.726052, -87.805873).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.68 square miles (48.38 km2), of which, 15.48 square miles (40.09 km2) is land and 3.20 square miles (8.29 km2) is water.

 

 

 

 

 

Education 

 

 

 

 


Public schools

 

 

 


Racine's public schools are administered by the Racine Unified School District, which oversees 21 elementary schools, eight middle schools, and six high schools with a combined student enrollment of around 21,000. Many of the schools in Racine provide the International Baccalaureate program, an world-wide college level program for K-12 education.

 

 

 

 

Higher education

 

 

 

 


University of Wisconsin–Parkside is located two miles (3.2 km) south of Racine in Kenosha and Somers. Prior to Parkside's creation there were state college campuses in both Racine and Kenosha, but with their proximity it was decided they would be better served by one larger campus in between the two cities. A campus of Gateway Technical College, which serves the tri-county area of the southeastern corner of Wisconsin, is located in the downtown district on Lake Michigan.

 

 

 

 

Architecture

 

 

 

 

 

Racine has several examples of Frank Lloyd Wright's work, including the Johnson Wax Headquarters, Wingspread, the Thomas P. Hardy House and the Keland House. S.C. Johnson offers free tours of its corporate campus, and receives about 9,000 visitors per year. The Research Tower, which is located on the SC Johnson campus, is one of only 2 existing high rise buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Fortaleza Hall, designed by Norman Foster, houses the "SC Johnson Gallery: Frank Lloyd Wright At Home" and a Frank Lloyd Wright library. The Johnson Wax disc-shaped Golden Rondelle Theater was originally constructed as the Johnson Wax pavilion for the 1964 New York World's Fair and then relocated to Racine.

The Racine Art Museum, designed by the Chicago architecture firm Brininstool + Lynch, is a modern reuse of an existing structure to house RAM’s permanent collection of contemporary craft. The building has an exterior façade of translucent acrylic panels that are illuminated at night, making the museum glow in the dark like a Japanese lantern.

The OS House, a private residence designed by the Milwaukee architecture firm Johnsen Schmaling Architects, was recognized in 2011 as one of the top 10 residential projects in the United States by the American Institute of Architects. The LEED Platinum-certified home was also named in 2011 as one of the top 10 green projects in the country by the AIA, and in 2012 as one of 11 national winners in the Small Projects category. The OS House has been featured in the New York Times. The house, an example of 21st century modern architecture, is located on the shore of Lake Michigan in Racine's south side historic district.

 

 

 

 

 

Buildings on the National Register of Historic Places

 
Wind Point Lighthouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racine,_Wisconsin


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