Madison was selected as the capitol of the newly created Wisconsin Territory in November, 1836, when the city was still in the planning stages. Former federal judge James Duane Doty purchased the land earlier that year, and platted two cities on the more than one thousand acre parcel he had purchased. While Doty lobbied aggressively to have his new city selected as the capitol of the territory, it was the location of the proposed city that brought about the decision, being halfway between Milwaukee and Prairie du Chien, and central to northeastern Green Bay and the lead mining regions in the southwest. He named one of the platted cities Madison, after President James Madison who had only recently died, on June 28, 1836. He also gave the streets of Madison the names of the other 39 signers of the constitution.
The first capitol building was built in 1837. When Wisconsin became a state in 1848, Madison remained its capitol. The original capitol building was replaced in 1863, just eight years before this map was published.
The railroad arrived in Wisconsin in 1854, beginning with the Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad, later known as the Milwaukee Railroad.
It was determined in the 1840's that Wisconsin contained valuable lead reserves. This gained much attention at the time and lured many to the territory to take advantage of mining interests. Wisconsin was made a state in 1848. Many railroads built lines in Wisconsin during the 1850's including the Chicago & North-Western Railway as it moved westward.
In 1855 the Chicago, St. Paul & Fond du Lac Railroad, a subsidiary of the Chicago & North-Western Railway, completed 21 miles of track between Carey, Illinois, and Janesville, Wisconsin, and 40 miles of track from Milwaukee to the Illinois border.
This outline map of Wisconsin and parts of adjoining states was published in 1855 by W. Endicott & Co. It shows cities, waterways, and the railroad network of 1855, both completed and proposed.