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Mineral Point, Wisconsin

Mineral Point, Wisconsin

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Encyclopedia
Mineral Point is a city in Iowa County
Iowa County, Wisconsin
Iowa County is a county located in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. As of 2000, the population was 22,780. Its county seat and largest city is Dodgeville.Iowa County is part of the Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area.-Geography:According to the U.S...

, Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The population was 2,617 at the 2000 census. In 2008 the city's population had taken a decline and is currently only 2,462, but still the second most populous community in Iowa County. One of Wisconsin's oldest cities, Mineral Point was settled in 1827 and became a lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 and zinc
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

 mining center during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Today the city's historical character has made it a regional tourist destination. The city is located within the Town of Mineral Point
Mineral Point (town), Wisconsin
Mineral Point is a town in Iowa County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 867 at the 2000 census. The City of Mineral Point is located within the town.-Geography:Iowa County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 2,617 at the 2000 census...

.

Mineral Point is part of the Madison
Madison, Wisconsin
Madison is the capital of the U.S. state of Wisconsin and the county seat of Dane County. It is also home to the University of Wisconsin–Madison....

 Metropolitan Statistical Area
Madison metropolitan area
The Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Census Bureau, is an area consisting of three counties in Wisconsin, anchored by the city of Madison. As of the 2010 census, the MSA had a population of 568,593.-Definitions:...

.

History


The first European settlement at Mineral Point began in 1827. During the following year, large quantities of galena
Galena
Galena is the natural mineral form of lead sulfide. It is the most important lead ore mineral.Galena is one of the most abundant and widely distributed sulfide minerals. It crystallizes in the cubic crystal system often showing octahedral forms...

, or lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 ore, were discovered around the settlement in shallow deposits. Lead had many uses at the time, and settlers began to flock to the region hoping to make a living by extracting the easily accessible mineral. Lead deposits extended throughout an area that also included Dubuque, Iowa
Dubuque, Iowa
Dubuque is a city in and the county seat of Dubuque County, Iowa, United States, located along the Mississippi River. In 2010 its population was 57,637, making it the ninth-largest city in the state and the county's population was 93,653....

 and Galena, Illinois
Galena, Illinois
Galena is the county seat of, and largest city in, Jo Daviess County, Illinois in the United States, with a population of 3,429 in 2010. The city is a popular tourist destination known for its history, historical architecture, and ski and golf resorts. Galena was the residence of Ulysses S...

, but Mineral Point became the center of lead mining operations within the bounds of present day Wisconsin (then part of Michigan Territory
Michigan Territory
The Territory of Michigan was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from June 30, 1805, until January 26, 1837, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Michigan...

). By 1829, the region's growing population led to the creation of Iowa County
Iowa County, Wisconsin
Iowa County is a county located in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. As of 2000, the population was 22,780. Its county seat and largest city is Dodgeville.Iowa County is part of the Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area.-Geography:According to the U.S...

, which included all of the lead mining lands within the borders of Michigan Territory at the time. Mineral Point was established as the county seat
County seat
A county seat is an administrative center, or seat of government, for a county or civil parish. The term is primarily used in the United States....

 later that year. The young settlement's importance was further confirmed in 1834 when it was selected as the site of one of two federal land offices responsible for distributing public land
Public domain (land)
Public domain is a term used to describe lands that were not under private or state ownership during the 18th and 19th centuries in the United States, as the country was expanding. These lands were obtained from the 13 original colonies, from Native American tribes, or from purchase from other...

 to settlers within the area that now encompasses Wisconsin.

When Wisconsin Territory
Wisconsin Territory
The Territory of Wisconsin was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 3, 1836, until May 29, 1848, when an eastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Wisconsin...

 was created in 1836, Mineral Point hosted the inauguration
Inauguration
An inauguration is a formal ceremony to mark the beginning of a leader's term of office. An example is the ceremony in which the President of the United States officially takes the oath of office....

 of the first territorial governor, Henry Dodge
Henry Dodge
Henry Dodge was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, Territorial Governor of Wisconsin and a veteran of the Black Hawk War. His son was Augustus C. Dodge with whom he served in the U.S. Senate, the first, and so far only, father-son pair to serve concurrently....

, and the territorial secretary, John S. Horner
John S. Horner
John Scott Horner also known as Little Jack Horner was a U.S. politician, Secretary and acting Governor of Michigan Territory, 1835–1836 and Secretary of Wisconsin Territory, 1836-1837.-Early life:...

. During the ceremony, a design by Horner was officially recognized as the Great Seal of Wisconsin Territory. The seal displayed an arm holding a pickaxe
Pickaxe
A pickaxe or pick is a hand tool with a hard head attached perpendicular to the handle.Some people make the distinction that a pickaxe has a head with a pointed end and a flat end, and a pick has both ends pointed, or only one end; but most people use the words to mean the same thing.The head is...

 over a pile of lead ore, demonstrating the importance of Mineral Point's early mining economy to the new territory. A census conducted in the months after the inauguration showed that Iowa County had 5,234 inhabitants, making it the most populous county in the Wisconsin Territory east of the Mississippi River.

Mineral Point remained an important lead mining center during the 1840s. Although the most easily accessible lead deposits on the surface were being exhausted by this time, new immigrants began to arrive with more refined techniques for extracting ore. The largest group came from Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

, which had been a mining center for centuries. Experienced Cornish
Cornish people
The Cornish are a people associated with Cornwall, a county and Duchy in the south-west of the United Kingdom that is seen in some respects as distinct from England, having more in common with the other Celtic parts of the United Kingdom such as Wales, as well as with other Celtic nations in Europe...

 miners were attracted to the lead mining opportunities in Mineral Point, and by 1845 roughly half of the town's population had Cornish ancestry
Cornish American
Cornish Americans are citizens of the United States who describe themselves as having Cornish ancestry. Cornish ancestry is not recognised on the United States Census, although the Cornish people are recognised as a separate ethnic group and national identity for the United Kingdom Census...

. The original dwellings of some of these early Cornish
Cornish American
Cornish Americans are citizens of the United States who describe themselves as having Cornish ancestry. Cornish ancestry is not recognised on the United States Census, although the Cornish people are recognised as a separate ethnic group and national identity for the United Kingdom Census...

 immigrants have been restored at the Pendarvis
Pendarvis
Pendarvis is a historic site located in Mineral Point, Iowa County, Wisconsin, United States. The site, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is made up of several 19th century cabins built by Cornish immigrants who came to Mineral Point to mine lead...

 Historic Site in Mineral Point. Lead continued to be produced in abundant quantities by the Cornish
Cornish American
Cornish Americans are citizens of the United States who describe themselves as having Cornish ancestry. Cornish ancestry is not recognised on the United States Census, although the Cornish people are recognised as a separate ethnic group and national identity for the United Kingdom Census...

 miners, and in 1847, the Mineral Point Tribune reported that the town's furnaces were producing 43,800 pounds (19,900 kg) of lead each day.

Mining activity in Mineral Point began to decline in the following years. In 1848, the same year that Wisconsin achieved statehood, gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 was discovered in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

. Many experienced miners left Mineral Point to look for gold, and in all, the town lost 700 people during the California Gold Rush
California Gold Rush
The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The first to hear confirmed information of the gold rush were the people in Oregon, the Sandwich Islands , and Latin America, who were the first to start flocking to...

. While the lead industry in Mineral Point continued into the 1860s, the town never recovered its former importance. A further blow was struck in 1861 when the county seat of Iowa County was relocated to nearby Dodgeville, Wisconsin
Dodgeville, Wisconsin
Dodgeville is the most populous city and county seat of Iowa County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 4,698 at the 2010 census, making it the 9th largest city within the Madison metropolitan area. The Greater Dodgeville Area however had a population of 6,529...

, where it remains today. Afterwards there was an intense rivalry between the two cities, during which Mineral Point fired a cannon towards Dodgeville's direction.

As lead mining declined in Mineral Point, zinc
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

 mining and smelting
Smelting
Smelting is a form of extractive metallurgy; its main use is to produce a metal from its ore. This includes iron extraction from iron ore, and copper extraction and other base metals from their ores...

 became important new industries. Zinc ore was discovered with increasing frequency near the bottoms of old lead mines. The Mineral Point Zinc Company was founded in 1882, and by 1891 it was operating the largest zinc oxide
Zinc oxide
Zinc oxide is an inorganic compound with the formula ZnO. It is a white powder that is insoluble in water. The powder is widely used as an additive into numerous materials and products including plastics, ceramics, glass, cement, rubber , lubricants, paints, ointments, adhesives, sealants,...

 works in the United States at Mineral Point. Zinc mining and processing continued on a large scale until the 1920s.

Geography


Mineral Point is located at 42°51′37"N 90°10′59"W (42.860465, -90.183204).

According to the United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

, the city has a total area of 3.0 square miles (7.8 km²), all land.

Demographics


As of the census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

of 2000, there were 2,617 people, 1,092 households, and 693 families residing in the city. The population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 was 868.1 people per square mile (335.7/km²). There were 1,192 housing units at an average density of 395.4 per square mile (152.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 99.01% White, 0.19% Black or African American
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

, 0.04% Native American, 0.23% Asian, 0.15% from other races
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

, and 0.38% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.42% of the population.

There were 1,092 households of which 29.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.0% were married couples
Marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

 living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.5% were non-families. 30.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33, and the average family size was 2.91.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.5% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 28.8% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 17.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 90.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $43,182, and the median income for a family was $52,137. Males had a median income of $31,750 versus $23,396 for females. The per capita income
Per capita income
Per capita income or income per person is a measure of mean income within an economic aggregate, such as a country or city. It is calculated by taking a measure of all sources of income in the aggregate and dividing it by the total population...

 for the city was $21,097. About 3.8% of families and 4.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.5% of those under age 18 and 15.6% of those age 65 or over.

Cuisine


Mineral Point claims to serve authentic Cornish food, such as pasties
Pasty
A pasty , sometimes known as a pastie or British pasty in the United States, is a filled pastry case, associated in particular with Cornwall in Great Britain. It is made by placing the uncooked filling on a flat pastry circle, and folding it to wrap the filling, crimping the edge at the side or top...

 and figgyhobbin. However, the differences between pasties from Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

 and those from Mineral Point are stark. Cornish
Cornish people
The Cornish are a people associated with Cornwall, a county and Duchy in the south-west of the United Kingdom that is seen in some respects as distinct from England, having more in common with the other Celtic parts of the United Kingdom such as Wales, as well as with other Celtic nations in Europe...

 author Rich Smith has noted that Mineral Point pasties are served in polystyrene boxes (not bags), are presented with forks (Cornish pasties are eaten with bare hands). Smith also observed that the pasties in Mineral Point are served with chili sauce and are distinctive in taste. Smith wrote: "It wasn't so much the ingredients that were wrong; it was the texture and the taste. It was dry and quite stodgy and I almost regretted declining the chilli sauce - a difficult thing for a Cornishman to admit."

Sister city

  • Mineral Point is twinned
    Town twinning
    Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

     with Redruth
    Redruth
    Redruth is a town and civil parish traditionally in the Penwith Hundred in Cornwall, United Kingdom. It has a population of 12,352. Redruth lies approximately at the junction of the A393 and A3047 roads, on the route of the old London to Land's End trunk road , and is approximately west of...

     in Cornwall
    Cornwall
    Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

    , England
    England
    England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

    .

Notable people

  • John Catlin
    John Catlin
    John Catlin was an American lawyer, politician, public official, and officer within the railroad industry.Catlin served as acting governor of the Wisconsin Territory from June 23, 1848 until March 3, 1849, when Henry Dodge ceased to be the governor of the Wisconsin Territory, upon becoming a...

    , Acting Governor of the Wisconsin Territory
  • Samuel Crawford
    Samuel Crawford (jurist)
    Samuel Crawford was an American jurist from Wisconsin.Born in Ballybay, Ireland, Crawford moved to New York in 1840. In 1841, Crawford moved to Galena, Illinois, where his brothers lived; he studied law and was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1844. He then moved to Mineral Point, Wisconsin to...

    , Wisconsin Supreme Court
  • Amasa Cobb
    Amasa Cobb
    Amasa Cobb was a Republican Wisconsin politician and an officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War.-Biography:...

    , U.S. Representative
  • Lee Croft
    Lee Croft (American football)
    Lee Croft was a guard in the National Football League. He was a member of the Racine Legion during the 1924 NFL season.-References:...

    , NFL player
  • Bill Dyke
    William D. Dyke
    William D. Dyke is an American politician, as well as a redneck hick. He was a two-term mayor of Madison, Wisconsin from 1969 to 1973. A conservative Republican, he briefly left the party in 1976 to join Lester Maddox's American Independent Party presidential ticket as the Vice Presidential...

    , former U.S. vice presidential candidate
  • Jack Enzenroth
    Jack Enzenroth
    Clarence Herman "Jack" Enzenroth was a Major League Baseball catcher. He played college baseball at the University of Michigan from 1908 to 1910 and was captain of the team in 1910. He played parts of two seasons in the majors, and , for the St. Louis Browns and Kansas City Packers...

    , MLB player
  • David William Hutchison
    David William Hutchison
    David William Hutchison was a Major General in the United States Air Force.-Biography:Hutchison was born on May 21, 1908 in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. He died on September 24, 1982.-Career:...

    , U.S. Air Force Major General
  • Mortimer M. Jackson
    Mortimer M. Jackson
    Mortimer Melville Jackson was an American Whig politician and diplomat from Wisconsin.Born in Rensselaerville, New York, Jackson was educated in New York City, where he studied law and was admitted to the bar. He was also involved with the Whig Party...

    , jurist and diplomat
  • Allen Ludden
    Allen Ludden
    Allen Ludden was an American television personality, emcee and game show host, perhaps most well known for hosting various incarnations of the game show Password between 1961 and 1980.-Early years:...

    , host of the game show
    Game show
    A game show is a type of radio or television program in which members of the public, television personalities or celebrities, sometimes as part of a team, play a game which involves answering questions or solving puzzles usually for money and/or prizes...

    , Password
    Password (game)
    Password is an American television game show which was created by Bob Stewart for Goodson-Todman Productions. The host was Allen Ludden, who had previously been well known as the host of the G.E...

    , was born in Mineral Point.
  • James G. Monahan
    James G. Monahan
    James Gideon Monahan was a U.S. Representative from Wisconsin.Born at Willow Springs, near Darlington, Wisconsin, Monahan attended the common schools and was graduated from the Darlington High School in 1875....

    , U.S. Representative
  • Daniel B. Moore
    Daniel B. Moore
    Daniel B. Moore served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He received the Medal of Honor.Moore was born on June 12, 1838, in Mifflin, Wisconsin...

    , Medal of Honor
    Medal of Honor
    The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

     recipient
  • Ernie Ovitz
    Ernie Ovitz
    Ernest Gayhart Ovitz was a pitcher in Major League Baseball. He played for the Chicago Cubs in 1911.-External links:...

    , baseball player
  • William Thomas Rawleigh
    William Thomas Rawleigh
    -Biography:Rawleigh was born on December 3, 1870 to Charles David and Sarah Malinda Rawleigh in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. He would marry twice, first to Minnie B. Trevillian on November 16, 1890, and second to M...

    , Illinois
    Illinois
    Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

     State Representative
  • William Rudolph Smith
    William Rudolph Smith
    William Rudolph Smith was a politician in the states of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.-Biography:Smith was born on August 31, 1787 in Trappe, Pennsylvania. Eventually he would move to Mineral Point, Wisconsin. His son, John Montgomery Smith, would serve in the Wisconsin State Assembly...

    , Pennsylvania
    Pennsylvania
    The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

     State Senator, Attorney General of Wisconsin
    Wisconsin
    Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

  • Cadwallader C. Washburn
    Cadwallader C. Washburn
    Cadwallader Colden Washburn was an American businessman, politician, and soldier noted for founding what would later become General Mills and working in government for Wisconsin. He was born in Livermore, Maine, one of seven brothers that included Israel Washburn, Jr., Elihu B. Washburne, William D...

    , U.S. Representative, founder of General Mills
    General Mills
    General Mills, Inc. is an American Fortune 500 corporation, primarily concerned with food products, which is headquartered in Golden Valley, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. The company markets many well-known brands, such as Betty Crocker, Yoplait, Colombo, Totinos, Jeno's, Pillsbury, Green...

  • Alexander Wilson
    Alexander Wilson (Wisconsin politician)
    Alexander Wilson was an American lawyer.Born in Westfield, New York, Wilson graduated from Union College. Wilson then moved to Dubuque, Iowa, where he studied law and was admitted to the bar. He then moved to Mineral Point, Wisconsin to practice law. He served as district attorney of Iowa County,...

    , Attorney General of Wisconsin

Historical buildings


Practically the entire city is a historical district, with block after block of charming stone cottages and businesses crafted by the Cornish settlers
Cornish American
Cornish Americans are citizens of the United States who describe themselves as having Cornish ancestry. Cornish ancestry is not recognised on the United States Census, although the Cornish people are recognised as a separate ethnic group and national identity for the United Kingdom Census...

 in the 1800s. A more recent building is the City Hall, built in 1914, which includes the Library and the Opera House. The Opera House underwent a $2 million renovation in 2010.

Pendarvis is a historically accurate preservation of some of the original cottages, and is a state historical site, open for tours in the summer months. Shake Rag Alley contains seven historic structures, and is a community owned center for the arts, with a robust children's art program, adult classes, and an outdoor summer theatre - Alley Stage.
  • Fort Jackson
    Fort Jackson (Wisconsin)
    Fort Jackson was a frontier fort located in Mineral Point, Wisconsin and constructed during the 1832 Black Hawk War.-History:Fort Jackson was constructed in Mineral Point, Wisconsin during the 1832 Black Hawk War. The wooden stockade was constructed using logs from some of the early log cabins...

  • Walker House
  • Orchard Lawn - home of the Mineral Point Historical Society
  • Mineral Point Opera House
  • Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts

External links