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Wisconsin Climate and Health

The climate of Wisconsin is similar to that of the interior and western counties of New York. The winters for the past four years have for the most been mild, and without much snow. The mean temperature of nine different localities in the State, in 1851, was 45° 54'. Mr. Lapham, in the work above referred to, says:

The celebrity of the climate, the purity of the atmosphere, and of the water, which is usually obtained from copious living springs; the coolness and short duration of summer, and the dryness of the air during winter, all conspire to render Wisconsin one of the most healthy portions of the United States. The wet meadows, marshes and swamps, are constantly supplied with pure water from springs; and as they are not exposed during summer to a burning heat, they do not send forth those noxious and deleterious qualities so much dreaded in more southern and less favored latitudes. Many of our most flourishing towns and settlements are in the immediate vicinity of large swamps, and partially overflown meadows, yet no injurious effects upon the general health are produced by them.

It has usually been found, in making new settlements in the western wilderness, that as the forests are cleared away and the surface thereby exposed to the direct influence of the sun and winds, a deleterious effect is produced on the general health, the decaying vegetable matter being thus suddenly made to send forth its malarious qualities. But in Wisconsin no such result is apprehended, or can be produced, for a large proportion of the country consists of oak opening and prairie, and may therefore be considered as already cleared. The removal of the few remaining "burr oaks" cannot have the same effect upon the soil as the cutting down of the dense forests of the other States. And besides this, the fires that have annually raged over the surface, often kindled purposely by the Indians, on their hunting excursions, have prevented that rapid accumulation of vegetable matter which is always found in deep shady woods where the fires do not so often penetrate.

It is believed that the facts here stated will be sufficient to satisfy the reader of the truth of the opinion expressed by our most intelligent physicians, that "Wisconsin is, and will continue to be, one of the most healthy places in the world."

Source: Wisconsin Gazetteer,  By John Warren Hunt. Madison: Beriah Brown, Printer, 1853

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