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Overview

Introduction to Portage, Wisconsin

Portage, Wisconsin, in Columbia county, is 32 miles N of Madison, Wisconsin and 85 miles NW of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Portage History

Portage was originally inhabited by Native Americans. The city was named after the Fox-Wisconsin Waterway, which ran between the Wisconsin River and the Fox River. Early French fur traders called the area "le portage." In the 1780s, traders established posts and warehouses in this area. Fort Winnebago was built in 1828 by the federal government. Portage became the county seat of Columbia County in 1851. It was incorporated as a city in 1854.

Portage and nearby Attractions

  • Northridge Mall Shopping Center
  • Silver Lake Beach
  • Fort Winnebago Surgeon's Quarters
  • Circus World Museum
  • Historic Indian Agency House
  • Devils Lake State Park

Things To Do In Portage

The Fort Winnebago Surgeon's Quarters and the Historic Indian Agency House provides insight into the area’s history. Local parks include the Blue Star Park, Riverside Park, Sunset Park, Collipp-Worden Park, Sanborn Park, Lincoln Park and Hamilton Street Park. Shopping is available at the Northridge Mall Shopping Center. Local celebrations include the Columbia County Fair, the White Feather Inter-Tribal Pow-Wow, the Festival of Flowers and YesterFest.

Portage Transportation

Dane County Regional Airport is nearby.

Portage Higher Education

The University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Madison Area Technical College are the local colleges and universities.

People

Total Population 10,232
Male Share of the Population 53.4%
Female Share of the Population 46.6%
Senior Citizens 13.4%
Employed Population 16+ 4,796
Age of the Population 37

Families

% of people married 39.5%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 14.8%
Median Earnings25+ $31,951
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $22,273
Median Earnings With High School Degree $28,364

Wealth

Median Family Income $60,858
% Above Poverty Level 84.8%
% Below Poverty Level 15.2%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 24 minutes
% Working from Home 2%
% Walking and Biking to Work 4.4%
% Using Public Transportation 0.3%

Housing

People Living Alone 34.6%
Median Gross Rent $718
Median House Value $123,400

Ancestry

Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 15.4%
US/American 0%
English 6.3%
Irish 14.2%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Portage Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 32 miles N of Madison, Wisconsin (center to center)
Nearest Large City 85 miles NW of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
County Columbia
Standard Zip Codes 53901
Phone Area Codes 608
Time Zone Central (-6 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 43.539
Longitude -89.462

Portage Climate

Nearest Weather Stations

Notes:

  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Station PORTAGE
Distance 1.5 miles
Jan Temp 6 to 25 F
Apr Temp 34 to 56 F
Jul Temp 59 to 82 F
Oct Temp 36 to 60 F
Annual Precip 34.5 inches
Station BARABOO
Distance 14.9 miles
Jan Temp 2 to 26 F
Apr Temp 30 to 57 F
Jul Temp 55 to 83 F
Oct Temp 33 to 60 F
Annual Precip 33.7 inches
Station ARLINGTON UNIV FARM
Distance 17.5 miles
Jan Temp 8 to 23 F
Apr Temp 36 to 55 F
Jul Temp 60 to 81 F
Oct Temp 40 to 59 F
Annual Precip 32.8 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Endeavor 459 $58,393
Merrimac 506 $73,333
Pardeeville 2,196 $63,009
Poynette 2,636 $72,431
Rio 1,102 $67,188

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Portage Public Libraries

Library
Portage Public Library
253 W. EDGEWATER ST.
Portage, Wisconsin
(608) 742-4959
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Portage Hospitals

DIVINE SAVIOR HLTHCARE
(Voluntary non-profit - Church)
2817 NEW PINERY RD
(608) 742-4131
Emergency Service: Yes

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Portage High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

PORTAGE HI
301 E COLLINS ST
608-742-8545
Serves 857 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 14.3

PORTAGE ACAD OF ACHIEVEMENT
2600 WOODCREST DR
608-742-1409
A Non-traditional School
A Charter School.
Serves 29 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 19.3

COLUMBIA CORRECTIONAL INST
HIGHWAY 127 RT 3
608-742-9100
A Non-traditional School
Serves 18 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 18

Study Online in Portage
Additional Resources
Info for Portage Government Officials


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