Albion, Dane County, Wisconsin

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Albion is a town in Dane County, Wisconsin, United States, located about 27 miles southeast of Madison on Interstate 90. The population was 1,823 at the 2000 Census.

Contents

History

Freeborn Sweet was the first settler of the Town of Albion, migrating from Oneida County, New York in August, 1841. Other settlers began arriving that fall. In 1842, the first inhabitants in what would become the hamlet of Albion arrived, and the following year they organized a Seventh Day Baptist Church, which became a prominent institution in the community.[3]

In 1844, settlement began in the northern part of the town, known as "Albion Prairie". A school was organized the same year. A Primitive Methodist Church was soon started, but burned down in the 1860s. A later building, constructed in the early 1870s, still stands near Rice Lake. In 1868, a Methodist Episcopal Church was built near the Primitive Methodist Church, but that building was demolished in the 1930s.

In the 1800s, the hamlet of Albion was a retail center for the area, with a general store, a wagon and blacksmith shop, a steam mill that manufactured wagons and sleighs, a harness shop, and a hotel.[3]

In 1854, Albion Academy was founded by the Seventh Day Baptists in the hamlet of Albion. It offered a classical education, including courses in the classics, mathematics, science, and music. It is considered one of the first co-educational colleges in Wisconsin. Among faculty members at this school were the famed Swedish-American naturalist, Thure Kumlien, and the Norwegian-American author and diplomat, Rasmus Anderson. Graduates of the college included naturalist Edward Lee Greene, Colorado governor Alva Adams, and Minnesota's U.S. Senator Knute Nelson. The last remaining building of the academy, Kumlien Hall, was destroyed by fire in the 1960s. However, it was rebuilt and a museum devoted to the academy and the early education of southern Wisconsin is now located on the Albion green. Among the treasures at the museum is the canoe paddle created by Sterling North, author of the 1963s bestseller Rascal, for the canoe that North built at his childhood home. The canoe, unfortunately, was destroyed in the 1960s fire of Kumlien Hall.[4][5]

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 35.8 square miles (92.7 km²), of which, 35.2 square miles (91.1 km²) of it is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km²) of it (1.73%) is water.

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