"Wisconsin Gazetteer"

by John Warren Hunt

©1853 Beriah Brown, Printer, Madison.


p. 249


Courtesy of Lori

JANESVILLE, City, is located on section 1, of town of same name, in Rock
county. It is pleasantly situated on both sides of Rock river, 14 miles north of the State line, and about midway between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi river; 40 miles southeast of Madison, and 90 from Chicago, Ill. It was organized into a city government in April, 1853. It is the county seat of Rock county, has two extensive water powers which are but partially developed, and is surrounded by a fertile and farming dairy country, with which it has an extensive trade. Its steady and rapid increase in population and wealth will appear from the following statistics: The first families settled upon the spot where the city now stands in the year 1836. A village was laid out in 1839. In 1843, the population was 333; in 1845, 857; in 1847, 1,458; in 1849, 1,812; in 1850, 3,100; in 1853, about 5,000. Rail roads from Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Chicago, Beloit, Dubuque, Madison, and Fond du Lac, are projected to this city; the first already completed, and the others are under contract to be finished in one or two years. There are 4 flouring mills, within the limits of the corporation, having 10 run of stones; 3 saw mills, 1 woolen factory, 1 mill for manufacturing water lime, and grinding coarse feed for cattle, swine &c., to which is to be added an oil mill, two foundries, a mill for sawing stone and turning wood, with a large number of mechanic shops of all descriptions; 12 dry good, 17 grocery, 2 hardware, 2 book, 3 drug, several clothing, show and variety stores; 2 banks (Badger State and Central Wisconsin); 5 hotels, and a sixth being erected, of very large dimensions, on the ruins of one recently burnt down; 4 printing presses, 3 weekly and 1 monthly newspaper, and 1 book bindery. The State Institution for the Blind is located at Janesville, a portion of the buildings are completed in which several children are receiving instruction. Besides the public schools, Janesville has an academy and a female seminary, both excellent institutions; also 6 large churches erected, built of brick or stone.

©2003 ALHN-Rock County, Wisconsin

Site Coordinator: Lori Niemuth