Dodgeville, Wisconsin

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This article is about the city. For the adjacent town, see Dodgeville (town), Wisconsin.
Motto: At the heart of it all
Dodgeville is located in Wisconsin
Location within the state of Wisconsin
Coordinates: 42°57′48″N 90°7′52″W / 42.96333°N 90.13111°W / 42.96333; -90.13111Coordinates: 42°57′48″N 90°7′52″W / 42.96333°N 90.13111°W / 42.96333; -90.13111
Country United States
State Wisconsin
County Iowa
 • Mayor Todd Novak
 • City 3.89 sq mi (10.08 km2)
 • Land 3.89 sq mi (10.08 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Population (2010)[2]
 • City 4,693
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 4,690
 • Density 1,206.4/sq mi (465.8/km2)
 • Metro 561,505 (88th)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code(s) 608
Looking south at the intersection of US 18 with WIS 23 in Dodgeville

Dodgeville is the most populous city and county seat of Iowa County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 4,698 at the 2010 census, making it the 9th largest city within the Madison metropolitan area. The Greater Dodgeville Area however had a population of 6,529. It is part of the Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area. Dodgeville is one of Wisconsin's oldest cities, being the sixth oldest European settlement in the state, and at a time was the largest city in Wisconsin. The city is twinned with Oakham, Rutland, United Kingdom.


Dodgeville is located at 42°57′48″N 90°7′52″W / 42.96333°N 90.13111°W / 42.96333; -90.13111 (42.963373, -90.131161).[4]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.89 square miles (10.08 km2), all of it land.[1]


2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 4,693 people, 1,965 households, and 1,229 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,206.4 inhabitants per square mile (465.8 /km2). There were 2,117 housing units at an average density of 544.2 per square mile (210.1 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.3% White, 0.5% African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 0.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.8% of the population.

There were 1,965 households of which 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.0% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.5% were non-families. 32.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.98.

The median age in the city was 37.8 years. 26.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.3% were from 25 to 44; 25.5% were from 45 to 64; and 14.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.5% male and 52.5% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 4,220 people, 1,751 households, and 1,131 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,178.5 people per square mile (455.1/km²). There were 1,831 housing units at an average density of 511.3 per square mile (197.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.06% White, 0.36% Black or African American, 0.02% Native American, 0.59% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. 0.43% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 1,751 households of which 33.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.5% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.4% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34, and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.8% under the age of 18, 6.3% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 89.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.0 males

The median income for a household in the city was $41,615, and the median income for a family was $50,755. Males had a median income of $32,738 versus $24,047 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,962. About 2.7% of families and 5.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.3% of those under age 18 and 16.0% of those age 65 or over.


In 1827, Henry Dodge, his family, and about 40 miners began what would become the city of Dodgeville.[6] Dodge made a pact with the local Winnebago Indian leaders so he could build a cabin and smelter. The original community was made up of three separate settlements: "Dodgeville", "Dirty Hollow" and "Minersville".[6]

Dodgeville, which was named after Henry Dodge,[7] grew slowly during its early years. It became a village in the 1840s. Later a small "war" was fought with Mineral Point over which community would become the county seat of Iowa County. At the time, Mineral Point was the seat, but Dodgeville residents felt they should have it. Rumor has it that a few people from Mineral Point actually fired a cannon towards Dodgeville over the issue of the county seat. Dodgeville eventually won the "war" and currently hosts the Iowa County seat in what is Wisconsin's oldest courthouse. Dodgeville then saw a population boom, and it became a powerhouse for mining. Miners from England flooded the city, and the area flourished. British and Cornish architecture is still visible in the city today. Dodgeville became the largest city in Wisconsin at the time as well as most of the Midwest north or St. Louis, and west of Cincinnati. The city's boom didn't last long though, and with the decline of mining the city was passed by rapidly growing cities like Chicago and Milwaukee. Several factors led to the decline in importance of mining, including the Black Hawk War, the California Gold Rush of 1849, the Civil War, and the emergence of farming, leading to Dodgeville's development as a business and agricultural center. Today the city is most commonly known for being the International Headquarters for the apparel company Lands' End. It also reels in tourists for its historical sites, festivals, and geographical location.[6]

Historical sites[edit]

Dodge Mining Camp Cabin

Dodge Mining Camp Cabin[edit]

This mining cabin was originally built circa 1828 and is representative of the housing constructed by lead diggers at "Dodge's Camp" - the original lead mining claim of Colonel Henry Dodge and family. The Iowa County Historical Society restored the cabin and moved it to its present location on Fountain Street. It is one of Wisconsin's oldest structures and may be the last extant mining camp cabin from the days of the "Lead Rush" of 1827-1830.[citation needed]

Sprang's Opera House[edit]

The Opera House was built in the early stages of Dodgeville's development. It was demolished during the 1990s to build a convenience store.


Downtown Dodgeville is one of the oldest districts in the state of Wisconsin. The historical buildings stretch six blocks along north and south Iowa Street. Downtown is home to cafe's, restaurants, salons, antique stores, apparel, and more. Downtown used to be larger back in the 1800s when Dodgeville was a principal city, but, many buildings were torn down to build houses and other buildings.


The foundations for the Iowa County Courthouse were laid in 1859, making it the state's oldest continuously active courthouse.[6]

The mayor of Dodgeville is Todd D. Novak.


Dodgeville was designated a "National Mainstreet Program" in 1991.

As the seat of an agricultural county, the city's economy relies on vital services for farmers. Dodgeville Agri-Service, Hennessey Implement, and Farmers' Saving Bank are several of the more important businesses in the city.

Dodgeville is home to the corporate headquarters of Lands' End, a global catalog and internet merchant of apparel and home products. In 2002, Lands' End was the world's fourth largest catalog merchant and the largest online seller of apparel. Lands' End was bought by Sears in 2002; Sears merged with K-mart in 2004. Lands' End employs 6,000 people in its Dodgeville headquarters. (Lands' End was spun off from Sears and as of 2014 is an independent company.)

Dodgeville's original Wal-Mart, the second oldest in the state, was shuttered in favor of a Super-Center on January 19, 2007. The occasion was celebrated by town and Wal-Mart officials. A small section of the University of Wisconsin Marching Band appeared on opening day to provide entertainment, and former Green Bay Packer player Santana Dotson made an appearance to sign autographs.


The Dodgeville School District serves students from Dodgeville and Ridgeway and comprises four schools - two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. One elementary school is located in Dodgeville, with the other in the village of Ridgeway. The Dodgeville school covers pre-K through 4th grade, while the Ridgeway school also has a 5th grade. The middle school serves grades 6 through 8, and the high school 9 through 12.

The Dodgeville school district sports teams are known by the name of Dodgeville Dodgers, with the letter D used as the team symbol.

St. Joseph's Catholic school serves students in Kindergarten through 8th grade.

Located downtown in the metropolitan building there are swatc adult education classes offered.


The mostly widely read daily newspaper in Dodgeville is the Wisconsin State Journal, published in Madison, and the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and Chicago Tribune are also available in the city.

Dodgeville's weekly newspaper is the Dodgeville Chronicle, published every Wednesday. With a circulation of about 5,300, the newspaper serves Dodgeville and surrounding communities such as Highland, Linden, and Mineral Point. A regular feature of the Chronicle is the "Chronicle Spotlight," a special section focusing on one local resident with a story of interest.


Military Ridge Trail[edit]

Military Ridge State Trail is a 40-mile (64 km) trail that runs from Dodgeville to Fitchburg, Wisconsin. The trail is used for hiking, bicycling, snowmobiling, and cross country skiing. It follows the former Chicago and Northwestern Railroad paths (MRT). A daily or seasonal pass must be purchased by users.

Governor Dodge State Park[edit]

One of the largest state parks in Wisconsin, Governor Dodge State Park is located on Highway 23, about 3 miles (4.8 km) north of Dodgeville. The park was named after Henry Dodge, the first governor of the Territory of Wisconsin. The Military Ridge Trail leads directly into Governor Dodge Park. Set deep in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin, the park offers many scenic bluffs, steep hills, and wildlife. When it was donated to the state in 1948, the park contained only 160 acres (0.65 km2). It quickly grew to 5,270 acres (21.3 km2). Two lakes with beach and camping areas are located in Governor Dodge Park: Twin Valley Lake and Cox Hollow.


Every summer Dodgeville holds a "Farmer Appreciation Day" featuring a parade down Dodgeville's Iowa Street and a festival in Harris Park. The event takes place the third weekend of July (n place of the Blues Fest) and serves as a way for the people of Dodgeville to show appreciation for the farmers who are the backbone of the economy. The parade features farming implements, fire trucks and ambulances, and more tractors and fire trucks from local departments, some more fire trucks and ambulances (along with some more farming equipment) and floats constructed by area churches and businesses. The festival features cold BBQ sandwiches, music, rides, tractor pulls, and fireworks.

The town at one time hosted an annual Blues Fest every July, in which local and national blues acts entertained. However it was decided in 2010 that due to the smugness of locals, that Blues Fest would not be held. But, it was announced in 2011 that the festival will continue. It is held in the back parking lot of the Iowa County Courthouse, located downtown. Blues Fest brings in hundreds of tourists each year, and contributes to the reason Dodgeville remains a touristy city. However, in 2013, the Blues Fest was once again cancelled.

Every August, Lands' End hosts a four-day clearance sale in the Harris Park pavilion, drawing visitors from far and wide in search of bargains on Lands' End products.

The Dodgeville kangaroo incident[edit]

In the winter of 2005, a kangaroo mysteriously appeared hopping around in the snow on farmland just west of Dodgeville. The story was carried in news outlets throughout the country, including the Chicago Tribune and MSNBC. No one knew where the kangaroo had come from. A few days after the kangaroo first appeared, it was captured in a barn west of town and taken to the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin. Attempts to find the owner of the kangaroo were unsuccessful, and to this day no one has any idea who owned the kangaroo and how it turned up in the snows of southwestern Wisconsin. The kangaroo still resides at the Henry Vilas Zoo.


Located in the very south of the city of Dodgeville is Upland Hills Health Center, Before the Center was created, the city had two main hospitals, St. Joseph's Hospital, and Dodgeville General Hospital. In 1974, those two hospitals merged to form Memorial Hospital and located where Upland Hills Health Center currently is. Subsequently, in 2001, Memorial Hospital changed its name to Upland Hills Health Center. After Upland Hills Health Center was established, other structures were added to the hospital, which were eventually demolished to build the much larger existing Upland Hills Health Center. The Center now comprises a clinic, rehabilitation center, nursing home, and large hospital, and is the largest hospital in southwestern Wisconsin, serving all of Iowa county.


Dodgeville Municipal Airport The Dodgeville Municipal airport was built between May–December 1967. It was originally known as the Governor Dodge Quinn airport but renamed to Dodgeville Airport. It was depicted as a public use airport. It was closed in 1989 for unknown reasons, but was reopened as a private airport.

Iowa County Taxi The Iowa county taxi is a taxi van that serves the city of Dodgeville on Wednesdays and Fridays. Taxi-fare is $1.50 each way, with 50 cents additional stops.

Bus Service Bus service from Lamers Buses provides transportation from Green Bay to Dubuque, stopping in Downtown Dodgeville.

Highways Dodgeville Expressway, U.S. Highway 151, U.S. Highway 18, Wisconsin Highway 23.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  3. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ a b c d Johnson, Cindy (August 18, 1999). "Dodgeville History". Wisconsin Local History Network. Retrieved 2009-05-01. 
  7. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 107. 

External links[edit]