Fulton Street in downtown Edgerton
|Motto: "Tobacco City U.S.A."|
Location in Rock County and the state of Wisconsin.
|• Total||4.14 sq mi (10.72 km2)|
|• Land||4.14 sq mi (10.72 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Elevation||817 ft (249 m)|
|• Estimate (2012)||5,503|
|• Density||1,319.1/sq mi (509.3/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||1564443|
Edgerton is a city in Rock County and partly in Dane County in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. The population was 5,461 at the 2010 census. Of this, 5,364 were in Rock County, and 97 were in Dane County. Known locally as "Tobacco City U.S.A.," because of the importance of tobacco growing in the region, Edgerton continues to be a center for the declining tobacco industry in the area.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Edgerton was the center of the tobacco industry in southern Wisconsin. At one time, there were as many as 52 tobacco warehouses dotting the streets of Edgerton. Queen Anne style mansions along Edgerton's Washington Street testify to the wealth and prominence some merchants once had. The 1890s Carlton Hotel, once located on Henry Street, also once served as an additional reminder of the tobacco industry's influence. Although built by a brewing firm, the hotel (which burned to the ground in the 1990s) was frequented by tobacco buyers and sellers.
Edgerton Bible Case
In 1886, Catholic parents in Edgerton protested the reading of the King James Bible in the village schools because they considered the Douay version the correct translation. The school board argued that Catholic children could ignore the Bible readings or sit in the cloak room while the rest of the children listened to the reading of a Protestant version of the Bible. Because the school board refused to change its policy, several families brought suit on the grounds that the schools' practice conflicted with the Wisconsin Constitution, which forbade sectarian instruction in the public schools.
The circuit court rejected their argument, deciding in 1888 that the readings were not sectarian because both translations were of the same work. The parents appealed their case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which on March 18, 1890, overruled the circuit court, concluding that reading the Bible did, in fact, constitute sectarian instruction, and thus illegally united the functions of church and state.
Edgerton is located at  According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.14 square miles (10.72 km2), all of it land. None of the area is covered with water, except for Saunders Creek, although the city is within a five-minute drive of Lake Koshkonong. Lake Koshkonong is the third largest lake in Wisconsin, and though very shallow, provides a place for water sports. Skiing, tubing, and fishing are common activities on the lake or the Rock River, which feeds it. The Rock River runs all the way to the Mississippi.(42.836108, -89.072919).
As of the census of 2010, there were 5,461 people, 2,227 households, and 1,426 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,319.1 inhabitants per square mile (509.3/km2). There were 2,410 housing units at an average density of 582.1 per square mile (224.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.9% White, 0.9% African American, 0.8% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 1.4% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.1% of the population.
There were 2,227 households of which 34.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.2% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.0% were non-families. 29.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 12% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.01.
The median age in the city was 35.7 years. 26% of residents were under the age of 18; 7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 29.4% were from 25 to 44; 24.8% were from 45 to 64; and 12.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.8% male and 51.2% female.
Arts and culture
Annual cultural events
Because Edgerton was once the center of the tobacco growing region in Wisconsin, the community's annual celebration is called Tobacco Days. The community celebration includes live music, food, family entertainment, a craft fair, an open-air market, living history events and demonstrations, tobacco demonstrations, citywide rummage sales, a men's slow pitch softball tournament, book sales, a parade, and a car show.
The Sterling North Home and Museum is the childhood home of authors Sterling North and Jessica Nelson North MacDonald. North's most famous book, Rascal was set in Edgerton and he used the town as the setting for several of his books, referring to it as "Brailsford Junction."
The Pomeroy and Pelton Tobacco Warehouse, known as the T. W. Dickinson & Son Tobacco Warehouse after it was purchased by Weetman Dickinson, is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the oldest free-standing brick warehouse in Wisconsin.
Edgerton is also known for its association with Pauline Jacobus. Jacobus and her husband, Oscar Jacobus, were responsible for the first artistic pottery created in Chicago in the mid-1880s. By 1888 the couple had moved their business to Edgerton. Although Oscar's death and an economic depression disrupted the business in the 1890s, Pauline Jacobus continued making pottery in Edgerton until the early 1900s' fire that destroyed her rural Edgerton home, "The Bogart". Much admired and sought-after as an American art form, "Pauline Pottery" is recognized in antique and art galleries throughout the world. A log cabin from the old Bogart site and the factory warehouse where Pauline Pottery was first made in Edgerton still survive.
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