Columbia County

Susan M. Moll

112 E. Edgewater Street Portage WI 53901


The Columbia County Clerk’s Office issues marriage licenses; Administers the dog license fund, dog claims, and provides tags/forms to local municipal treasurers; Wood cutting requests; and Maintenance checks for veteran’s graves. The County Clerk is the Administrative Coordinator for Columbia County as well as the official clerk to the Columbia County Board of Supervisors. Responsibilities include preparation and noticing of all committee and board meeting agendas/minutes; Board of Proceedings; County Directory; Committee appointments. All County Board minutes, original resolutions and ordinances are filed in the Clerk’s Office. Additional duties include records management, historic preservation and maintenance of county documents; Overseeing property and liability insurance coverage and filing claims. The Columbia County Clerk is the chief election official for Columbia County. The Clerk’s Office conducts all federal, state, county, local, school and special elections, in coordination with the state, municipalities and school districts, to insure that the State Statutes governing elections are carried through. The Columbia County Clerk’s Office is responsible for programming elections, publishing legal notices, preparing ballots and other election materials, tabulating results and ensuring the accuracy of all County-wide elections. Columbia County utilizes the Statewide Voter Registration System (WisVote), a voter database system which enables the State of Wisconsin to comply with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The County Clerk’s Office provides WisVote service to 28 Columbia County municipalities. This office is also the “Information Hub” for county departments and the public. Services to the public include the issuance of DNR licenses; DMV auto title transfers and new license plates, temporary plates and renewal stickers.

County Information

Columbia County was organized in 1846, by some of the first settlers who had purchased land nearly ten years before, in an area where Poynette now stands.  Villages had been sprouting up at Columbus, Dekorra, and Wyocena, each of which wished to become the county seat.  But it was Fort Winnebago (Portage) that was eventually chosen.
The County’s early growth came at a time of poverty and political disturbance in Europe.  Although the majority of its settlers were from New York, Ohio, and New England, others came from overseas.  Among them were citizens of Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Norwegian, and German heritage.
The first railroad was built across Columbia County in 1857.  Other lines followed, making Portage an important railroad center. Soon state roads, and eventually interstate highways crisscrossed the county.  With its abundant waterways, Columbia County steadily developed into the region’s agricultural, industrial, and travel hub we know today.
There are in excess of 13 historical markers located throughout the Columbia County territory. The Ice Age National and State Scenic Trail is one of eight Congressionally designated National Scenic trails located throughout the United States. The Indian Agency House is located just outside of the City of Portage.  Columbia County is the home of Pulitzer Prizing winning author Zona Gale, author and educator Fredrick Jackson Turner, and renowned environmentalist John Muir. The Merrimac Ferry is the lone survivor of upwards of 500 ferries chartered by territorial and state legislatures before the turn of the century.
In addition to the Wisconsin Dells tourism attraction, Columbia County has 56 lakes, 56 miles of Wisconsin River, 49 miles of trout streams, 180 miles of groomed snowmobile trails, 20 miles of hiking trails, 165 miles of biking trails, 6+ golf courses, Cascade Mountain Ski Resort, many campgrounds, plus fine dining & spirits establishments.

County Population: 57053

Cities: 4

Towns: 21

Villages: 10