Rural Settlement Retains Rural Roots

© Photographed October 16, 2015
Erected by Fitchburg Agricultural Route, The City of Fitchburg,
and Dane County Parks
Fitchburg, Dane County, Wisconsin
42.962101,-89.469536
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RURAL SETTLEMENT RETAINS RURAL ROOTS
A bustling village gives way to horse farm pastures

FITCHBURG'S "BLUEGRASS" REGION
As settlement shifed again in the mid-20th century, from Old Fitchburg to the area just south of U.S. highways 12 and 14, the southern portion of Fitchburg retained its rural character. Various horse farms are now located in this part of th eCity, boarding and training horses, offering tourist lodging, and hosting equestrian-related events and lessons related to the following:

DRESSAGE: Termed "horse ballet," horse and rider perform a routine from memory.
DRIVING: Races and/or dressage utilizing a wagon with a driver pulled by the horse.
EVENTING: Jumping and dressage.
POLO: A team sport played on horseback with goals scored by driving a ball into the opposing team's goal using a long-handled mallet.
SETTLEMENT FOLLOWS THE RAILROAD
The shift of transportation from stagecoach to railroad in the mid-19th century led to a shift in settlement of Fitchburg as well. Settlement moved from the stagecoach stop at Oak Hall, at the Fish Hatchery Road-County Highway M intersection, to this spot along the Illinois Central rail line. Illinois Central established the Fitchburg Depot here in 1888, spurring development of the area that became known as Old Fitchburg.
LIFE IN OLD FITCHBURG
Old Fitchburg was a hub of commercial activity, containing a grocery store, post office, feed mill, lumber and coal yard, implement dealer, stockyard, blacksmith shop, church, and cheese factory. During Prohibition, the Purcell grocery store became known for is sale of Petuna, a cure-all tonic containing 18% alcohol. Dora Wendt took over the grocery in 1924, providing a social gathering spot for locals. The Fitchburg Depot closed in 1926 leading to a decline in settlement of the area.
FITCHBURG AGRICULTURE ROUTE
THE FAR TELLS FITCHBURG'S STORY
The City of Fitchburg Agriculture Route (FAR) consists of a 4.5-mile segment of the Badger State Trail running through the City. The FAR is part of the City's larger 19-mile Heritage Circle Route, a conceptual recreational trail encircling Fitchburg. The FAR is intregal to the story of Fitchburg's past and present, a story in which agriculture plays a prominent role.
FITCHBURG'S AGRICULTURAL "MAIN STREET"
Fitchburg is a unique city with approximately 11,000 acres of agricultural land within its borders. This "country in the city" idea is displayed in land uses along the FAR, which include areas and enterprises vital to Fitchburg's history, identity, and economy. FAR lands have many characteristics that make diverse agriculture enterprises viable, including proximity to major roads, the Badger State Trail, and urban markets, a strong agricultural heritage, and productive agricultural soils.
THE FAR'S FUTURE
The City is dedicated to working with landowners and entrepreneurs to encourage land uses along the FAR that promote, sustain, and enhance agriculture in the City, ensuring these lands continue to play a vital role in Fitchburg's future.
The marker is located on the Badger State Bike Trail, alongside Wendt Road, between County Highway M (to the south) and Adams Road (to the north), Fitchburg, Wisconsin 53575.

Fitchburg Agricultural Route

 Wendt Road in Old Fitchburg, and its lumberyard and feed mill in the early 20th century.
Apple orchards and other agricultural-related businesses are located along the FAR.

Looking southwest along the Badger State Bike Trail.

Looking northwest along the Badger State Bike Trail.

The marker is located in Fitchburg, Wisconsin.

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