Location in Wisconsin
|• Mayor||Jeff Scrima|
|• Total||25.07 sq mi (64.93 km2)|
|• Land||24.81 sq mi (64.26 km2)|
|• Water||0.26 sq mi (0.67 km2) 1.04%|
|• Estimate (2012)||70,920|
|• Density||2,850.4/sq mi (1,100.5/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||Central (UTC-5)|
Waukesha (// WAW-kə-shaw) is a city in and the county seat of Waukesha County, Wisconsin. The population was 70,718 at the 2010 census, making it the largest community in the county and seventh largest in the state. The city is adjacent to the Town of Waukesha.
In 2013 and 2012, Gibson Guitar Corporation designated Waukesha for their nationally acclaimed “GuitarTown” arts project. In 2012, Money magazine ranked Waukesha one of the “100 Best Places to Live,” in the United States. In 2012 and 2011, America’s Promise Alliance ranked Waukesha one of the “100 Best Communities for Young People” in the United States. In 2011, the National Recreation and Park Association granted Waukesha their “Gold Medal Award.” In 2011 the Wisconsin Library Association designated Waukesha’s Public Library as the “Wisconsin Library of the Year.”
The area that Waukesha now encompasses was first inhabited in 1834. Its first non-American-Indian settler was Morris D. Cutler.
Over the years, many believed, incorrectly, that the origin of the name of the city was an Algonquian word meaning "fox" or "little foxes," though it is actually an Anglicization of the Ojibwe proper name Waagoshag or the Potawatomi name Wau-tsha. Wau-tsha (sometimes written as Wauk-tsha or Wauke-tsha) was the leader of the local tribe at the time of the first European settlement of the area. This is confirmed by accounts of Increase A. Lapham, an early settler and historian of the region. According to Lapham, the word for "fox" was pishtaka. Cutler also told visitors about Wau-tsha, who was described as "tall and athletic, proud in his bearing, dignified and friendly."
Matthew Laflin, an early pioneer of Chicago, Illinois, provided the capital and enterprise that laid the foundation for Waukesha as a famous Wisconsin watering resort and was the proprietor of the grand resort, the Fountain Spring House. Waukesha was once known for its extremely clean and good-tasting spring water and was called a, "spa town." This earned the city the nicknames, "Spring City," and, "Saratoga of the West."
According to author Kristine Adams Wendt, in 1868, Colonel Richard Dunbar, a sufferer of diabetes, chanced upon the medicinal properties of what he later named the Bethesda Spring while viewing a parcel of land recently purchased by his sister. Testimonials found in a Dunbar brochure of 1873 proclaimed the miraculous benefits.
Wendt reports that by 1872, "area newspapers carried accounts of a community ill equipped to handle its new popularity among the suffering multitudes. The semi-weekly Wisconsin (Milwaukee) of July 31, 1872, reported 'that fully 500 visitors are quartered in hotels and scattered in private families here, seeking benefit from the marvelous waters...'"
The "healing waters" were so valued that a controversial attempt was made to build a pipeline between the city and Chicago so that they could be enjoyed by visitors to the 1893 Columbian Exposition. According to Time magazine, "[t]he scheme had been conceived by one Charles Welsh who had been given the springs by his uncle, but after several miles of pipe were laid, it was discovered that the cost was too great."
Richard W. Sears, founder of Sears and Roebuck, may have been attracted to Waukesha by the waters. In failing health, Sears retired from business in 1908 and, according to The New York Times, "spent his time on his great farm near Waukesha." In 1914, Sears died in Waukesha of Bright's disease, leaving an estate estimated at $20 million.
Over the years, the natural springs have been spoiled by pollution and a number have gone dry.
One of the most important "firsts" in American sports history occurred in Waukesha on September 5, 1906, when Carroll College (now Carroll University) hosted the football team from St. Louis University. SLU halfback Bradbury Robinson threw the first legal forward pass in football history in that game. The Carroll players and local fans were stunned. The visitors went on to win 22–0.
During the Cold War, Waukesha County was the site of three Nike Missile batteries, located in the city of Waukesha and nearby Muskego and Lannon. In the city of Waukesha, the U.S. Army and later the Wisconsin National Guard operated the command and control center from 1956 to 1970 at what is now Hillcrest Park on Davidson Road. The missile pits existed near the corner of Cleveland Avenue and Hwy 164 – first holding Ajax missiles with conventional warheads and later the nuclear equipped Hercules warhead. The Hercules provided a similar nuclear capability as that of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki in World War II. The Midwest Chapter of the Cold War Museum has promoted the preservation of the Hillcrest Park site as a local Cold War museum, honoring Cold War veterans and commemorating America's longest and costliest conflict.
Geography and climate
Waukesha is located near the center of Waukesha County in southeastern Wisconsin, 18 miles (29 km) west of Milwaukee. Waukesha is also located 59 miles (95 km) east of Madison. The city shares borders with City of Brookfield, Town of Brookfield, Genesee, New Berlin, City of Pewaukee, Village of Pewaukee, Town of Delafield and Town of Waukesha.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 25.07 square miles (64.93 km2), of which, 24.81 square miles (64.26 km2) is land and 0.26 square miles (0.67 km2) is water.
|Climate data for Waukesha, Wisconsin (1981–2010 normals)|
|Record high °F (°C)||62
|Average high °F (°C)||27.8
|Average low °F (°C)||10.7
|Record low °F (°C)||−29
|Precipitation inches (mm)||1.45
|Snowfall inches (cm)||12.3
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||9.2||7.5||7.9||10.7||11.8||10.7||9.4||9.1||8.8||9.4||8.8||9.5||112.8|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||6.8||5.1||3.5||1.0||0||0||0||0||0||.1||1.1||6.2||23.8|
|Source: U.S. Census|
As of the census of 2010, there were 70,718 people, 28,295 households, and 17,506 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,850.4 inhabitants per square mile (1,100.5 /km2). There were 29,843 housing units at an average density of 1,202.9 per square mile (464.4 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 88.1% White, 2.3% African American, 0.4% Native American, 3.5% Asian, 3.5% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.1% of the population.
There were 28,295 households of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.9% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.1% were non-families. 30.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.02.
The median age in the city was 34.2 years. 23.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 30.4% were from 25 to 44; 24.7% were from 45 to 64; and 10.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.0% male and 51.0% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 64,825 people, 25,663 households, and 16,296 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,000.5 people per square mile (1,158.8/km²). There were 26,856 housing units at an average density of 1,243.1 per square mile (480.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.22% White, 1.28% African American, 0.33% Native American, 2.17% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 3.31% from other races, and 1.65% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.58% of the population.
There were 25,663 households out of which 32.5% of households had children under age 18 living with them, 50.2% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.5% were non-families. 29.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 people and the average family size was 3.04 people.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.7% under the age of 18, 10.8% from 18 to 24, 33.6% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 10.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 95.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $50,084, and the median income for a family was $60,841. Males had a median income of $40,743 versus $29,279 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,242. About 3.0% of families and 5.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.0% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.
According to Waukesha's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|2||Waukesha Memorial Hospital||2,126|
|4||Waukesha School District||1,876|
|5||Cooper Power Systems||1,500|
|7||Generac Power Systems||1,025|
|8||Nissen Staffing Continuum||1,000|
|10||Waukesha Health System||734|
Downtown Waukesha is the site of one of the stages of the Tour of America's Dairyland cycling event, which features a criterium race, started in 1993.
Waukesha is represented by Jim Sensenbrenner (R) in the United States House of Representatives, and by Ron Johnson (R) and Tammy Baldwin (D) in the United States Senate. Paul Farrow (R) represents Waukesha in the Wisconsin State Senate, and Bill Kramer (R) and Adam Neylon (R) represent Waukesha in the Wisconsin State Assembly.
Waukesha is home to Carroll University, formerly known as Carroll College, a private Presbyterian university. Opened in 1846, it is the oldest college in the state (a title also claimed by Beloit College). As a liberal arts school, Carroll offers more than 50 areas of study, primarily at the undergraduate level. Carroll University's enrollment is roughly 2,500 students.
Located on the city's northwest side, the University of Wisconsin–Waukesha, part of the UW system, offers two-year associate degrees. Students have the option of transferring to four-year institutions to complete their undergraduate education.
Waukesha County Technical College has a campus located in the downtown area.
One of the two New Tribes Bible Institute campuses within the United States is located on a large hill in central Waukesha. Operated by New Tribes Mission, the school doubles as the first part of a four-year missionary training program, which includes field training in the U.S.
The School District of Waukesha serves the city and portions of surrounding municipalities. It operates four high schools in the city: Waukesha South High School, Waukesha West High School, Waukesha North High School, and Harvey Phillip High School, an alternative school. It also operates two charter schools; Waukesha Engineering Preparatory Academy, or WEPA, and the Waukesha Academy of Health Professions, or WAHP. It also runs three middle schools, one engineering charter middle school, 14 elementary schools, and one engineering charter elementary school.
The city is home to Waukesha County's only Catholic high school, Catholic Memorial High School. There are also two small, independent evangelical Christian schools in Waukesha: West Suburban Christian Academy, with two campuses, and Waukesha Christian Academy, a small K through 12 school located on the city's west side.
- Newspaper, Waukesha Freeman, Conley Publishing Group, established in 1859
- Newspaper, The New Perspective, Carroll University, established in 1874
- Newspaper, The Observer, University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, established in 1978
- Newspaper and online news website, Waukesha NOW, Journal Community Publishing Group, established in 2010
- Online news website, Waukesha.Patch.com, established in 2010.
- Roderick Ainsworth, Wisconsin State Assemblyman
- John Anderson, former Green Bay Packer and Milwaukee-television sports personality
- Austin Aries, professional wrestler
- William A. Barstow, Governor of Wisconsin, Union Army general
- Brad Beyer, actor
- Dick Blanchard, NFL player
- BoDeans, rock band
- Clinton S. Breese, highly-decorated U.S. Army officer
- Max Broadhurst, NFL player
- Mike Cahill, tennis player
- Tim Cahill, adventure travel writer
- Frank Caliendo, comedian
- William G. Callow, Wisconsin Supreme Court
- Eugene W. Chafin, Prohibition Party candidate for President of the United States
- Phineas Clawson, Wisconsin State Senator
- Glenn R. Davis, U.S. Representative
- J. Mac Davis jurist and legislator
- Carmen De La Paz, television personality, interior/exterior designer, wood turner, welder, and professional cook.
- Chuck DeShane, played professional football for the Detroit Lions, in the NFL
- Terry Dillon, NFL player
- Lee S. Dreyfus, Governor of Wisconsin
- David J. Eicher, editor and author
- William A. Freehoff, Wisconsin State Senator
- Donald Goerke, Inventor of SpaghettiOs
- Danny Gokey, American Idol contestant; attended school in Waukesha
- John Golemgeske, NFL player in the 1930s and '40s
- Paul Hamm, Olympic gymnastic gold medalist; attended Waukesha South High School
- Morgan Hamm, Olympic gymnastic contender attended Waukesha South High School
- Pat Harder, played professional football for the Detroit Lions and for what has become the Arizona Cardinals and was a member of the College Football Hall of Fame from UW-Madison
- Frank Harris, NFL player
- Daniel Hoan, Mayor of Milwaukee
- Kirstin Holum, speed ice skater
- Scott Jensen, speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly
- Edward Jackamonis, speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly
- Jack Kading, MLB player
- Matt Katula, NFL player for the New England Patriots
- Ken Keuper, NFL player for the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants
- Kurt Larson, NFL player for the Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers
- Mark Mallman, musician
- Lauri Merten, professional golfer and winner of the 1993 U.S. Women's Open
- Bill Miklich, NFL player for the New York Giants and the Detroit Lions
- Steve Miller, rock musician
- Ed Moy, began his political service in the George H.W. Bush administration; Moy rose to become the director of the U.S. Mint while working in the George W. Bush administration, staying until January 2011
- Mrs. Fun band members Kim Zick and Connie Grauer
- Roger P. Murphy, Wisconsin State Senator and jurist
- Elli Ochowicz Olympic Speed Skater 2002 Winter Olympics, 2006 Winter Olympics, 2010 Winter Olympics
- Leslie Osborne, member, United States women's national soccer team
- Les Paul, guitarist, pioneer of the solid-body electric guitar and multi-track recording
- Jim Pruett, MLB player
- Alexander Randall, state governor, namesake of Camp Randall Stadium
- Edwin M. Randall, Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court
- Paul F. Reilly, Judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals
- Michael Ritchie, film director
- Eleazer Root, educator and Episcopal priest
- Doug Russell, American sports media personality
- Richard W. Sears, founder of Sears and Roebuck, lived on a large farm near Waukesha, visited the local springs, and died in Waukesha.
- Lester Stevens, Olympic athlete
- Donald E. Tewes, U.S. Representative
- Vernor Vinge, science fiction author
- Marilyn Waltz, the first of two women to become a three-time Playboy Playmate
- Tim Ward, soccer player for the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer
- J.J. Watt, American football player for the Houston Texans of the National Football League
- Ray Wendland, noted petrochemist
- Viola S. Wendt, poet
- Mitchell Whitmore, Olympic athlete, national champion speedskater
- Kevin Zeitler, NFL player for the Cincinnati Bengals
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- "Americas Promise Alliance – Waukesha, Wisconsin". Americaspromise.org.
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- "Gold Medal Awards | National Recreation and Park Association". Nrpa.org.
- "Land Divisions Within Waukesha County". Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc. Retrieved 2007-04-24.
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- Wisconsin Archeological Society, The Wisconsin Archeologist, 1922, p. 71.
- Langill, Ellen D. & Jean Penn Loerke, From Farmlands to Freeways: A History of Waukesha County Wisconsin, Waukesha County Historical Society, 1984.
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