|— City —|
|Nickname(s): The Belle City of the Lakes|
|• Mayor||John Dickert|
|• Total||18.68 sq mi (48.38 km2)|
|• Land||15.48 sq mi (40.09 km2)|
|• Water||3.20 sq mi (8.29 km2)|
|Elevation||618 ft (188 m)|
|• Estimate (2011)||78,853|
|• Density||5,094.3/sq mi (1,966.9/km2)|
|Time zone||CST (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||1572015|
Racine is a city in and the county seat of Racine County, Wisconsin, United States. It is located on the shore of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Root River. As of the 2010 U.S. census, the city had a population of 78,860, making it the fifth-largest city in Wisconsin,
On October 10, 1699, a fleet of eight canoes bearing a party of French explorers entered the mouth of Root River. These were the first Europeans known to visit what is now Racine County. Led by Jonathan Paradise, they established a trading post in the area that eventually became a small settlement on Lake Michigan near where the Root River empties into Lake Michigan. "Racine" is French for "root".
In 1832, just after the Blackhawk War, the area surrounding Racine was settled by Yankees from upstate New York. In 1834 Captain Gilbert Knapp, USRM founded the settlement of Port Gilbert at the place where the Root River empties into Lake Michigan. The area was previously called Kipi Kawi and Chippecotton by the indigenous peoples, both names for the Root River. The name "Port Gilbert" was never really accepted, and in 1841 the community was incorporated as the village of Racine. After Wisconsin was admitted to the Union in 1848, the new legislature voted in August to incorporate Racine as a city.
Before the Civil War, Racine was well known for its strong opposition to slavery, with many slaves escaping to freedom via the Underground Railroad passing through the city. In 1854 Joshua Glover, an escaped slave who had made a home in Racine, was arrested by federal marshals and jailed in Milwaukee. One hundred men from Racine, and ultimately 5,000 Wisconsinites, rallied and broke into the jail to free him. He was helped to escape to Canada. Glover's rescue gave rise to many legal complications and a great deal of litigation. This eventually led to the Wisconsin Supreme Court declaring the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 unconstitutional, and later, the Wisconsin State Legislature refusing to recognize the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Waves of immigrants, including Danes, Germans, and Czechs, began to settle in Racine between the Civil War and the First World War. African Americans started arriving in large numbers during World War I, as they did in other Midwestern industrial towns, and Mexicans migrated to Racine from roughly 1925 onward.
Unitarians from New England initially dominated Racine's religious life. Racine's Emmaus Lutheran Church, the oldest Danish Lutheran Church in North America, was founded on August 22, 1851. Originally a founding member of the Danish American Lutheran Church, it has subsequently been a member of the United Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (UDELCA), the American Lutheran Church (ALC), and, since 1988, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). There was also a large Catholic movement to the city, opening up churches for their own ethnicity, such as St. Stanislaus (Polish), St. Rose (Irish), Holy Name (German), St. Patrick (Irish), Sacred Heart (Italian), St. Joseph (German), St. Mary (German), Holy Trinity (Slovak), St. Casimir (Lithuanian), and others. As years passed, populations moved and St. Stanislaus, Holy Name, Holy Trinity, St. Rose, and St. Casimir merged in 1998, forming St. Richard. With new waves of people arriving, older parishes received a boost from the Hispanic community, which formed Cristo Rey, re-energizing St. Patrick's into the strong Catholic community of today.
Racine was a factory town almost from the very beginning. The first industry in Racine County included the manufacture of fanning mills, machines that separate wheat grain from chaff. Racine also had its share of captains of industry, including J. I. Case (heavy equipment), S. C. Johnson & Son (cleaning and chemical products), and Arthur B. Modine (Heat Exchangers). Racine's harbor was central to the shipping industry in Wisconsin in the late 19th century. Racine was also an early car manufacturing center. One of the world's first automobiles was built there in 1871 or 1872 by Dr. J. W. Cathcart, as was the Pennington[disambiguation needed] Victoria tricycle, the Mitchell, and the Case.
In 1887, malted milk was invented in Racine by English immigrant William Horlick, and Horlicks remains a global brand. The garbage disposal was invented in 1927 by architect John Hammes of Racine, who founded the company InSinkErator, which still produces millions of garbage disposers a year. In addition, Racine is the home of S.C. Johnson & Son, whose headquarters was designed in 1936 by Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright also designed the Wingspread Conference Center and several homes and other buildings in Racine. The city is also home to the Dremel Corporation, Reliance Controls Corporation and Twin Disc.
Racine has the largest North American settlement of Danes outside of Greenland. The city is particularly known for its Danish pastries, especially kringle. Several local bakeries have been featured on the Food Network.
Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built the Johnson Wax Headquarters building in Racine. The building was and still is considered a marvel of design innovation, despite its many practical annoyances such as leaks. Wright urged then-president Hib Johnson to build the structure outside of Racine, a city Wright thought of as "backwater." Johnson refused to have the Johnson Wax Headquarters sited anywhere other than Racine, and in a compromise Wright built it in Racine, but without windows.
The city is known for its large prom celebration, at which students from all the high schools in the city participate in an after prom party. This was featured on the radio show This American Life in Episode #186 "Prom", which originally aired on June 8, 2001; Racine's prom tradition was also the subject of the 2006 documentary The World's Best Prom.
Racine received an award the U.S. Conference of Mayors on June 20, 2011 for having the best tasting city water in America.
Racine is located at (42.726052, -87.805873).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.68 square miles (48.38 km2), of which, 15.48 square miles (40.09 km2) is land and 3.20 square miles (8.29 km2) is water.
As of 2000 the median income for a household in the city was $37,164, and the median income for a family was $45,150. Males had a median income of $35,079 versus $24,279 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,705. About 10.8% of families and 13.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.6% of those under age 18 and 6.6% of those aged 65 or over.
As of the census of 2010, there were 78,860 people, 30,530 households, and 19,222 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,094.3 inhabitants per square mile (1,966.9 /km2). There were 33,887 housing units at an average density of 2,189.1 per square mile (845.2 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 61.8% White, 22.6% African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 10.3% from other races, and 4.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 20.7% of the population.
There were 30,530 households out of which 35.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.5% were married couples living together, 20.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.0% were non-families. 30.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.17.
The median age in the city was 33 years. 27.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.6% were from 25 to 44; 23.8% were from 45 to 64; and 10.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.8% male and 51.2% female.
Racine has a mayor-council form of government. The mayor is the chief executive, elected for a term of four years. The mayor appoints commissioners and other officials who oversee the departments, subject to Common Council approval.
Racine's other citywide elected official is the Municipal Judge. The city council, the legislative branch, is made up of 15 aldermen, one elected from each district in the city. The council enacts local ordinances and approves the city budget. Government priorities and activities are established in a budget ordinance usually adopted each November.
Racine is represented by Paul Ryan (R) in the United States House of Representatives, and by Ron Johnson (R) and Tammy Baldwin (D) in the United States Senate. Robert Wirch (D) and John Lehman (D) represent Racine in the Wisconsin State Senate, and Tom Weatherston (R), Peter Barca (D), and Cory Mason (D) represent Racine in the Wisconsin State Assembly.
Racine's public schools are administered by the Racine Unified School District, which oversees 21 elementary schools, eight middle schools, and six high schools with a combined student enrollment of around 21,000.
The Racine County Insane Asylum was established in 1889. The asylum was destroyed in a fire in 1904 that was widely covered in the national press. The asylum was rebuilt after the fire, and a home for the county poor was added to the facility in 1918. The institution was also known as the Gatliff Asylum and was served by the Gatliff stop on the railroad. Gatliff was named after Nelson Gatliff (1813–1898), an early pioneer in Racine County that owned extensive farmland. The facility was also used as a tuberculosis sanatorium. Later it was known as High Ridge Hospitals and High Ridge Health Care Center of Racine County. It was razed circa 1980. The site is now a retail development known as High Ridge Centre, with only the old pond remaining from the former asylum.
Racine is served by the daily newspaper The Journal Times, which is the namesake (but not current owner) of radio station WRJN (1400). The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel formerly published a Racine-specific page on Thursdays and a Racine County section on Sundays, but dropped those in a series of downsizings that began in 2007. The Insider News covers issues specific to the African-American community. Racinenews.org offers web-based coverage for Racine, as did news website Racinepost.com before they decided to shut down. In March 2010, Wisconsin Internet News. was created, as another news source for the Racine/Kenosha area. In August 2009, a source for news that started out as a simple blog about animal abuse at a local shelter, The city has one television station owned by Weigel Broadcasting, WMLW-TV (Channel 49), an independent station which airs syndicated product, and had its analog transmitter just north of the Milwaukee County line in Oak Creek. For all intents and purposes the station serves all of southeastern Wisconsin, with the station offices located in West Allis and the station's current transmitter is located on the Weigel tower in Milwaukee's Lincoln Park. WMLW airs a Saturday morning public affairs program called Racine & Me, which is produced and hosted by CBS 58 Anchor Jessica Tighe and is devoted to topics of interest to Racine residents.
Radio stations serving the area are adult contemporary WEZY-FM (92.1) and urban contemporary WKKV-FM (100.7). WEZY specifically targets Racine and Kenosha and is locally-owned, while WKKV is a station owned by Clear Channel Communications that, although licensed to Racine and having a transmitter in north-central Racine County, is targeted towards Milwaukee audiences and has its offices in Greenfield. Sturtevant-licensed WDDW-FM (104.7) broadcasts a traditional Mexican music format targeting the metro area's Mexican-American population.
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