Textual References:

"Columbia City," WI

Carrie grew up in "Columbia City," Wisconsin. She lived in an old cottage with her parents (Chapter XII). Her father works in the flour mill (Chapter I). When walking through the Wholesale District in Chicago
Carrie recalls the stone cutter's yard in Columbia City, contrasting it with the Chicago factories (Chapter II). Carrie recalls Columbia City on several occasions throughout the text.

Waukesha, WI

The first time Drouet ever speaks with Carrie is when they are both aboard a train headed towards Chicago. As the train pulls out of Waukesha, Drouet tells Carrie: "That"..."is one of the prettiest little resorts in Wisconsin" (Chapter I).

Most of Jessica Hurstwood's male companions have left Chicago to spend the summer in Waukesha. Jessica is hoping to follow them (Chapter XX). The matter of the trip to Waukesha becomes a point of contention between Mr and Mrs Hurstwood and is the precursor to their final row (Chapter XXII).

La Crosse, WI

Drouet, works as a travelling salesman for the fictional dry goods firm Bartlett, Caryoe & Company, and he visits La Crosse, Wisconsin on business where he fares well (Chapter XIV). He also visits:
St Paul's, Minnesota, Omaha, Nebraska and New York City.

More About:

Columbia City in Wisconsin does not exist, however there is a Columbia county. There is a Columbia City in Indiana, the state in which Dreiser was born and grew up.

Wisconsin in the late 19th century.
Holidays. Fashionable holiday resorts/spa.
Dreiser and Wisconsin?
Significant historical events in Wisconsin? ie. the start of the Republican party.

Further Reading: