Western Wisconsin

About Western Wisconsin

Wisconsin's Third Congressional District follows the Mississippi River and spans almost the entire length of western Wisconsin, from Cuba City in the south to New Richmond in the north. According to 2008 American Community Survey estimates, the 3rd congressional district has just over 709,000 residents, with major population centers in La Crosse (population 50,879) and Eau Claire (population 65,113). At over 13,500 square miles, it is the second largest district in the state by land area, enjoys a diverse economy, and is rich in natural beauty including abundant waters, towering bluffs, and plentiful farm land.

Brief History

Since the first Europeans settled in the area now occupied by the 3rd district, western Wisconsin has been shaped by a rich history. French fur traders, whose legacy remains today in the names of many towns in the area such as Eau Claire, La Crosse, and Prairie du Chien, settled in the early 1600s to take advantage of plentiful trapping opportunities. Mining and agricultural establishments began to emerge shortly thereafter. In response to increased demand for raw materials to fuel the industrial revolution, Platteville, originally named for the nearby Platte River, was the site of a huge mining boom in the 1800’s.  This drove people to the area and helped found the teacher’s college and mining college that would become University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

Western Wisconsin was also home to a number of relevant historical figures. Laura Ingalls Wilder, for example, was born in 1867 near Pepin, Wisconsin, and went on to become one of the most celebrated authors in American history after her Little House series, and in particular Little House on the Prairie.

The 3rd District is fortunate to have such proud people within its borders, coupled by one of the richest and most vibrant histories in all of Wisconsin.