Portage Wisconsin Info Site!
With a population of approximately 9,500. Portage Wisconsin is the eastern point of the imaginary triangle formed by Wisconsin Dells to the west, Baraboo to the south and Portage to the east.
The city of Portage is named for the Fox River and Wisconsin River and the "portage," from the French "le portage" (from porter: to carry), that had to be made between the Fox River and the Wisconsin River. The area was noted by Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet during their exploration for a route to the Mississippi River in 1673. The portage was necessary because the two rivers were separated by a narrow area of land and in order to get from one river to the other it was necessary to carry the canoe. The Fox River flowed north and eventually the waterway connected to Green Bay, Lake Michigan and then to the Atlantic Ocean through the St. Lawrence. The Wisconsin River connects to the Mississippi River and then onto the Gulf of Mexico. This narrow strip of land in Portage Wisconsin was the one small barrier to a water route from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico.
Marquette and Louis Joliet portaged here on June 14, 1673, on their way to exploring and mapping the upper Mississippi River.
In 1792, Laurant Barth arrived and proceeded to build a trading post and saw that there could be a profit in transporting canoes and bateaux from one river to the other.
Fort Winnebago was built in 1828 to protect the settlers, preserve the peace and assure fair business practices. A young man, from West Point, was assinged to cut the logs needed for building the barracks for the Fort. He floated the logs down the Wisconsin River and then used ox teams to haul the logs to the fort. The young man's name was Jefferson Davis. The was the same Jefferson Davis who later was the President of the Confederacy during the Civil war.
A canal was eventually dug between the rivers but, by then, the railroad was becoming more and more popular as a means of transportation and the canal never did realize the anticipated value of its builders. The canal was closed because of lack of use in 1951.
The city has 14 city parks, a swimming lake as well as an indoor swimming pool. Portage has many natural, historic and wildlife walking trails. There is also a scenic walking trail located on the newly constructed Wisconsin River Levee.
Outdoors enthusiasts will love the more than 30,000 acres of waterways and wildlife areas surrounding the Portage area. There are an unlimited hunting and fishing opportunities
Visitors can stay at these Portage motels:
Best Western Resort Hotel & Conference Center
Cascade Country Motel
Lamp Lite Motel
Ridge Motor Inn
Super 8 Motel
Portage Police and Fire Departments:
117 West Pleasant Street
Portage, WI 53901
Columbus Community Hospital Inc
1515 Park Ave
Columbus, WI 53925