Land Acquisition - Why Here?
Preparation of industrial facilities like Badger Ordnance Works began in the late 1930s when the War Department began purchasing and warehousing specific manufacturing equipment. At this same time they started the process to locate and acquire appropriate sites for these manufacturing facilities. One of those sites was the north east part of the Sauk Prairie located in Sauk County Wisconsin.
Criteria for site location included:
Rural location away from large metropolitan areas
Close to large volume water supply
Good source of Electrical energy
Access to rail and highway transportation
250 miles from the nearest border (for security)
Soil base able to support the heavy equipment and buildings
Available labor force
The site on the Sauk Prairie met all of these criteria except the last one. To expect a large available labor force in a rural area away from a metropolitan area proved not very realistic.
In the fall of 1941 word came to the Sauk Prairie that this was to be the site of the largest ammunition plant in the world. The farmers whose farms were to be taken, organized to protest and implore the Government to consider other suitable sites and spare this area of some of the best farm land in the state of Wisconsin. People from other locations that wanted the proposed plant, and government officials joined in the effort to get the plant built at a different location. Their efforts were for nothing as the decision had been made and was not going to be changed. The area of interest was 10,500 acres located in Sumpter and Merrimack Townships bounded on the west by U. S. Hwy 12/State Hwy 13, on the north by the Baraboo Bluffs, on the east by farm land and Lake Wisconsin, and on the south by farm land. State Hwy 78 crossed the area on the east side away from planned production areas and was not affected.