Racine, Wisconsin is a historic community on the shores of Lake Michigan, approximately 70 miles north of Chicago, 25 miles south of Milwaukee and 100 miles east of Madison. Its proximity to the Chicago-Milwaukee area places it near the third largest metropolitan area in the United States.
Racine’s location made it an important port and manufacturing center since it was incorporated in 1841. The city flourished throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, eventually becoming the home to major corporations.
Besides the well-known SC Johnson products like Windex and Pledge, other surprising items were invented in Racine, such as malted milk, the blender, the blow dryer, and the portable vacuum cleaner. Racine’s shipping legacy continues today as it maintains a large harbor for recreational boats with an adjacent park that hosts festivals throughout the year.
Home to the Johnson family that founded S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. in 1886, Racine has a history of architectural patronage. When Herbert Fisk Johnson, Jr. hired Frank Lloyd Wright to design and build the SC Johnson Administration Building in 1939, it was the beginning of a collaborative relationship that changed the area.
Racine’s commitment to architecture continues to this day, as the city features exciting structures such as the Racine Art Museum—designed by Brininstool + Lynch—and the Johnson Financial Group building, which houses more than 500 Johnson International employees.