Introduction to Racine, Wisconsin
Racine is situated near Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Root River in Racine County. The headquarters of the prominent Johnson Wax company is located in the city. Their building was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The town has one of the largest populations of Danes in North America and is well known for its Danish pastry.
Around 1700, French explorers were the first group of non-natives to arrive in the region. They established a trading post which grew into a settlement along Lake Michigan. Racine translates from the French as "root." In 1832 settlers from upstate New York arrived and the population significantly increased. Before the Civil War began, Racine was recognized as being against slavery. A large number of slaves utilizing the Underground Railroad passed through the city. A vast amount of immigrants arrived after the Civil War was over and the large influx of newcomers continued all the way up to the First World War. The immigration included a substantial number of African-Americans. Beginning with the founding of Racine, factories were prominent for the economy. During the late 1800's the harbor was important to the shipping industry. Car manufacturing was located in the city during the early stages of the industry.
- The Wind Point Lighthouse is included in the National Register of Historic Places.
- Historic Horlick Field.
- S.C. Johnson and Son Administration Building and Research Tower is part of the National Register of Historic Places.
- Racine Zoological Gardens.
- Reefpoint Marina and Festival Hall offers excellent views of the shoreline and numerous festivals.
- Racine Art Museum.
- Wustum Art Museum.
- Lakefront Trolleys offers rides in the historic downtown area.
- Mound Cemetery features historic native burial mounds.
- Racine Heritage Museum.
- Harborfest is a popular music festival.
Lake Michigan provides opportunities for a variety of activities and offers beautiful vistas. Numerous parks and trails are situated along the Root River. The Lighthouse Run, the dragon boat races and a professional volleyball tournament provide entertainment. Excellent fishing opportunities are located at Horlick Dam, Island Park and Lincoln Park. The Root River is popular for fishing, hiking and kayaking. Quarry Lake Park is a popular place for swimming. Formerly a limestone quarry, it had been converted into one of the best outdoor swimming locations in the Midwest. The River Bend Nature Center, situated along the Root River offers an extensive amount of trails. The Big Fish Bash is a notable fishing tournament and festival.
The University of Wisconsin-Parkside and Gateway Technical College are located in the area.