This room chronicles the history of Sauk County from 1872-1919. As this period began, the roar created by massive flocks of passenger pigeons winging in to roost faded away. Replacing that age-old sound was the thunder of iron wheels on iron rails as railroads came into Sauk county. During this period Baraboo became home to a busy Chicago and Northwestern railroad terminal, two circuses, and the County courthouse. These enterprises brought many artistic, skilled, and educated people to Baraboo.
During this period other Sauk County towns and villages grew, also. The Baraboo and Reedsburg woolen mills expanded, cheese factories sprang up, a wide variety of businesses and manufacturing operations expanded and/or started, and the Sauk County Teacherís College began operation in Reedsburg. What happened in Sauk County illustrates what was happening all over America: the industrial Revolution was here to stay.
No longer did the independent, isolated yeoman farmer only have to worry about the vicissitudes of the weather. People sensed powerful new forces at work in their lives, and sought to protect and educate themselves about this new world order. People banded together in fraternal and "self-help" groups Grange organizations, farmer cooperatives, and insurance groups. People started clubs like the Fortnightly Literary Club and Womenís Federated to discuss a wide variety of topics. Major social and political movements grew and strengthened, demanding changes like temperance, Womenís suffrage, and Progressive political reforms like control of monopolies and a more open electoral process.
But America was no longer a young nation with its sight focused inward. The Civil War faded from memory, and America became involved in foreign conflicts like the Spanish-American war of 1898, and then the first major foreigh war to test the nation: the conflict known ten as the "War to End All Wars." As this period ended, America was no longer a child nation.