Middleton, Wisconsin

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The City of Middleton
Wisconsin Trade Center in Middleton at sunset
Wisconsin Trade Center in Middleton at sunset
The Good Neighbor City
Location of Middleton in Dane County, Wisconsin.
Location of Middleton in Dane County, Wisconsin.
Coordinates: 43°03′37″N 89°34′18″W / 43.06028°N 89.57167°W / 43.06028; -89.57167Coordinates: 43°03′37″N 89°34′18″W / 43.06028°N 89.57167°W / 43.06028; -89.57167
Country United States
State Wisconsin
 • TypeCity Council/Mayor
 • MayorGurdip Brar
 • City9.07 sq mi (23.49 km2)
 • Land8.94 sq mi (23.14 km2)
 • Water0.14 sq mi (0.35 km2)
 • City21,827
 • Estimate 
 • Density2,242.19/sq mi (865.73/km2)
 • Metro
561,505 (88th)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code608
FIPS code55-51575

Middleton is a city in Dane County, Wisconsin, United States, and a suburb of the state capital, Madison. Middleton's motto is "The Good Neighbor City." The population was 21,827 at the 2020 census.

In 2007, Middleton was chosen as the best place to live by CNN Money magazine.[4] CNN Money magazine praised Middleton's "small-town charm, booming economy, extensive parks and bike trails."[4] In 2009, Middleton was placed 4th, and 8th in 2011, on CNN Money magazine's list of best small towns to live in the United States.[5] In 2021, Middleton was chosen as the "Best Suburbs to Raise a Family in Dane County" by ranking and review website Niche.[6]


The first settlers were mostly of English descent, and they came to Middleton in the 1840s.[7] It was called Peatville for the large quantities of peat extracted from its soil. The village was renamed Middleton when it was separated from the town of Madison in 1848. Many German settlers arrived to Middleton in the 1850s, and after the year 1880, the population was largely of German descent.[8] The first Lutheran Church was founded in the area in 1952.[8]

Middleton incorporated as a village in 1905 and it became a city in 1963. At the suggestion of its first postmaster, Harry Barnes, it was named after a community in Vermont.[9]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.12 square miles (23.62 km2), of which 8.98 square miles (23.26 km2) is land and 0.14 square miles (0.36 km2) is water.[10] Middleton is located about 6 miles West/Northwest of Madison, the capital of the U.S. state of Wisconsin.[11]


Climate data for Middleton, Wisconsin
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 23
Average low °F (°C) 6
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.14
Source: The Weather Channel[12]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[13]

Since 1990 there has been a population increase of over 20% in the Madison metropolitan area. This has led to Middleton being considered as the western hub of a proposed, albeit controversial, 13-mile (21 km) railroad corridor connecting Middleton's Greenway Station, the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus, downtown Madison, and Madison's far east side.[15]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 17,442 people, 8,037 households, and 4,453 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,942.3 inhabitants per square mile (749.9/km2). There were 8,565 housing units at an average density of 953.8 per square mile (368.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 87.1% White, 3.5% African American, 0.3% Native American, 4.2% Asian, 2.3% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.6% of the population.

There were 8,037 households, of which 26.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.6% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 44.6% were non-families. 36.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.16 and the average family size was 2.86.

The median age in the city was 39.1 years. 21.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 29.1% were from 25 to 44; 29.3% were from 45 to 64; and 12.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.3% male and 51.7% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[16] in 2000, there were 15,770 people living in Middleton, although in 2006 that number was estimated to be as high as 16,595. The population density was 1,953.2 people per square mile (754.5/km2). There were 7,397 housing units at an average density of 916.2 per square mile (353.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.08% White, 1.97% Black or African American, 0.45% Native American, 2.66% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.27% from other races, and 1.54% from two or more races. 2.82% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

According to the census, there were 7,095 households in Middleton, out of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.5% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.9% were non-families. 34.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.90.

The age of the population of Middleton is fairly diverse. The census states that 22.7% of the citizens there were under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 33.1% from 25 to 44, 25.2% from 45 to 64, and 10.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $50,786, and the median income for a family was $71,514. Males had a median income of $41,070 versus $30,928 for females. The per capita income for the city was $29,464. About 3.1% of families and 5.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.2% of those under age 18 and 2.8% of those age 65 or over.



The largest industry sector in Middleton is manufacturing. Other major job sectors are retail trade, technology, educational services, health care, management of companies, finance and accommodations.[17] In 2019, 17% of workers were employed in the manufacturing sector with 3,037 jobs.[17] As of 2016, over 65% of Middleton residents have associate, bachelors or advanced degrees and 44.7% of residents are employed in positions which earn more than $75,000 per year.[17] Over 2,000 companies are located in Middleton, including American Girl's corporate headquarters and one of Electronic Theater Controls' worldwide offices.[18]

Top employers[edit]

As of 2019[17] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer Full-time employees Part-time employees
1 PPD, Inc 1,400 N/A
2 Electronic Theatre Controls 938 16
3 UW Medical Foundation 800 0
4 Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District 924 280
5 Spectrum Brands 448 3
6 Springs Window Fashions 550 0
7 American Girl 294 87
8 North Central Group 348 197
9 Humana 285 0
10 Fiskars 280 6
Greenway Station
The Nitty Gritty restaurant in Middleton

Tourism and retail[edit]

Greenway Station is a shopping mall and an upscale lifestyle center, one of Middleton's tourist destinations, opened in 2003.[19] There are over 25 retail stores, such as Marshalls, Michael's, DSW, Bath & Body Works, HomeGoods, Chico's, Guitar Center, J.Jill, Loft, Maurices, Sally Beauty and restaurants such as Jersey Mike's Subs, Cold Stone Creamery, McDonald's, Starbucks, Noodles & Company, Johnny's Italian Steakhouse, Ancho & Agave and Fuji Sushi & Hibachi.[20] Middleton has eight hotels, including Hilton Garden Inn and Residence Inn by Marriott which are located near the mall.[20] Greenway Station Farmers’ Market features locally grown flowers, fruits, vegetables, baked goods, cheese, jam and meats from May to October.[21]

Downtown Middleton also has several shops and restaurants. In 2015, Livability wrote that Middleton has "more than 60 independent restaurants and a large collection of downtown specialty shops provide lots of entertainment options." The Nitty Gritty is a restaurant in Middleton founded in 1968. During the 1960s and early 1970s the Nitty Gritty featured live blues music every night, and B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Charlie Musselwhite, and Cheap Trick are some of the famous musicians who performed there.[22] In 1985, the Nitty Gritty was re-branded as a birthday destination, and as of 2018, over 725,000 birthdays have been celebrated in the restaurant.[22]

Middleton has a golf course, Pleasant View Golf Course, located near Lake Mendota.[23] Skiing, biking and hiking trails are also available in the area.[23] Pleasant View Golf Course has been named the "Best Golf Course in Madison Area" four times (2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020) by Madison magazine.[24] Walter. R. Bauman Aquatic Center is an outdoor facility that offers pools, waterslides, playground and water equipment.[25]

Lake Mendota is a popular attraction among tourists and residents as it offers a variety of outdoor activities such as fishing, swimming, and other aquatic pursuits.[26] Middleton has a skate park, Quarry Skate Park and board and boats rental company, Marshall Boats. Lake Mendota County Park offers a campground, picnic area, volleyball courts, and swimming.[26]


Middleton Municipal Airport (C29) serves Middleton and the surrounding communities.

A free trolley service called Middleton Trolley runs through Middleton and has 13 stops at landmarks around Middleton.[27]

Madison's bus service Madison Metro's routes 70, 71, 72, 73, 78 and 15 all have stops throughout Middleton.

Municipal services[edit]

The City of Middleton is served by the Middleton Police Department. The Middleton Fire Department provides fire protection services to a district consisting of the city of Middleton, as well as the neighboring Town of Middleton and portions of the towns of Springfield and Westport. The Middleton Emergency Medical Services department provides paramedic level services to the City of Middleton and the neighboring townships of Middleton and Springfield. The Middleton Public Library offers books, films, music, meeting and study spaces, Wi-Fi and programs.


Middleton belongs to the Middleton-Cross Plains School District. There are seven elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school and one alternative senior high school in the district.[28] Recently, students in Blackhawk Middleton have been moved from Glacier Creek to Kromery.

Students attend either Middleton High School or Clark Street Community School.[29] In 2021, in a report by U.S. News & World Report, Middleton High School was named as the best high school in Dane County and it was also named 11th best high school out of around 540 in the state of Wisconsin.[30] The report indicated that the graduation rate at Middleton High School was 96%, and more than half of students took at least one Advanced Placement exam.[30]

Elementary schools[edit]

  • Elm Lawn Elementary School
  • Park Elementary School
  • Pope Farm Elementary School
  • Northside Elementary School
  • Sauk Trail Elementary School
  • Sunset Ridge Elementary School
  • West Middleton Elementary School

Middle schools[edit]

  • Glacier Creek Middle School
  • Kromrey Middle School

High schools[edit]


Middleton is served by Madison TV, radio, print, and other media. The Middleton Times-Tribune is a weekly community newspaper. The Middleton Review is a free community newspaper that serves the city. Middleton also serves as the community of license for several Madison based stations including country music outlet 106.3 WWQM and DTV America television station WZCK channel 8 which is dual licensed to Middleton and Madison. 97.3 W247CI an FM translator of Catholic station WHFA also broadcasts from the city on a transmitter above the Wisconsin Trade Center.


National Mustard Museum

Middleton is the home of the National Mustard Museum. It is often featured in lists of unusual museums in the United States. It was originally located in the nearby town of Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, but moved to Middleton. The museum and its curator were featured on National Public Radio's Morning Edition broadcast of July 29, 2010,[31] and Weekend Edition Saturday on February 18, 1995 (when it was located in Mount Horeb).[32][33] Middleton's second museum, Middleton Historical Museum (also known as Rowley House) offers information and donations by early settlers. Middleton Train Depot was built in 1856. It was an active passenger station until 1960 and a freight depot until 1975. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as a visitor's center.[34]

Sunflowers at the Pope Farm Conservancy in August 2015

The Pheasant Branch Creek Conservancy is a nature preserve of green space and wetland[35] with prairie hills, natural springs, and Native American burial mounds.[36][37] The creek drains on the east into Lake Mendota, and a hiking trail follows beside it through a forest, passing beside Parisi Park.[38] The Pope Farm Conservancy, opened to visitors in 2006, is a park and a nature area with walking trails, wildlife, sunflower fields, prairie and savanna restoration areas.[22]

Wisconsin Trade Center is a commercial office building made of blue glass windows and it is the tallest building in Middleton. Middleton has a garden and landscaping center called Orchids Garden Centre & Nursery.

Capital Brewery was founded in 1984 to brew German-style lager beer and has since branched to American-style ales and barrel-aged beers.[39] Capital Brewery has won over 240 awards. The Capital Brewery Bier Garten is open from April to October and it often offers live music and food vendors.[40] Hidden Cave Cidery, opened in 2021, is a local cidery that makes cider of Wisconsin apples.[41]

Good Neighbor Festival at night in 2010



Middleton has an annual Middleton Good Neighbor Festival held on the last weekend of August at Firemen's Park in Middleton.[42] The festival has been held since 1964, and "The Good Neighbor Award" has been awarded to a Middleton resident since 1980. The award is given to individuals who have made a difference in the community, and embody what it means to be a Good Neighbor.[42] The three-day festival has free live music, carnival rides, family activities, entertainment, food, parades and other activities.[43]

Sunflower Days is typically a 10-day event Pope Farm Conservancy held between July and August which features 9.5 acres of sunflowers.[44] The event was attended by 90,000 people in 2017.[44] There is no parking at Pope Farm Conservancy and the Sunflower Shuttle runs every 30 minutes.[45][46]

National Mustard Day[47] is an outdoor food festival held annually on the first Saturday of August in downtown Middleton.[48][49] The event features live music, face painting, games and entertainment, food and free mustard samplings.[50] National Mustard Museum has hosted and sponsored the event since 1991.[51]

Downtown Middleton Summer Fun series is typically held from July to August, and it features free music and entertainment on every Thursday.[52] In 2021, the event included arts and crafts table for children, picnic tables, hula hoops, free beginner harmonica lessons and other activities.[53][54]

Haunted Hustle is a Halloween-themed marathon held in October.[55] Other events in Middleton include Wine Walk, Greenway Station Farmers' Market and Prairie Chase Run/Walk.[52] Middleton-Cross Plains Area Performing Arts Center hosts plays and dances.

Merry-go-round and carnival rides at Middleton Good Neighbor Festival


Middleton is dedicated to providing and encouraging outdoor public art, including sculptures, murals and stained glass.[56] Visit Middleton's website offers a Middleton's Outdoor Public Art Trail map.[57] Middleton Arts Committee and the Middleton Community Development Authority sponsors and supports art in Middleton.[57]


Fall in Middleton.
Middleton rankings
Year Category Title Rank
2005 Best Places to Live[58][24] CNN Money 7
2007 1
2009 Best Places to Live – America's best small towns[5] 4
2011 8
2015 Top 100 Best Small Towns Livability 45
2021 Best Suburbs for Young Professionals in Wisconsin[59] Niche 7
Places with the Best Public Schools in Wisconsin[60] 4
Best Places to Live in Wisconsin[61] 9
Best Suburbs to Raise a Family in Wisconsin[62] 12
Best Places to Live in Dane County[63] 1
Best Suburbs to Raise a Family in Dane County[6] 1

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  3. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Best Places to Live 2007 - Money Magazine". money.cnn.com. Retrieved 2021-07-29.
  5. ^ a b "Best Places to Live: Money's list of America's best small towns". CNN Money. July 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-16.
  6. ^ a b "2021 Best Suburbs to Raise a Family in Dane County". Niche. Retrieved 2021-08-01.
  7. ^ "A Brief History of Middleton". Wisconsin Historical Society. 2012-08-16. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  8. ^ a b "Middleton's Roots … – Middleton Area Historical Society". middletonhistory.org. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  9. ^ "History of City". City of Middleton. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-01-25. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  11. ^ "Distance between Madison, WI and Middleton, WI". www.distance-cities.com. Retrieved 2021-08-01.
  12. ^ "Monthly Averages for Middleton, Wisconsin". Weather.com. 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-31.
  13. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  14. ^ "City and Town Population Totals: 2010-2020". Retrieved June 22, 2021.
  15. ^ "Transport 2020". Retrieved 2009-05-03.
  16. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  17. ^ a b c d "Economic Development Brochure". City of Middleton. Retrieved July 29, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ "Middleton, Wisconsin - The good neighbor city". Business View Magazine. 2020-09-19. Retrieved 2021-07-29.
  19. ^ "Commercial Space Guide - Greenway Station: Perceptions of Struggling Mall Still Linger". In Business Madison. 2010-10-01. Retrieved 2021-07-30.
  20. ^ a b "Shopping in Middleton | Clothing, Home Decor & More". Greenway Station. Retrieved 2021-07-29.
  21. ^ "Greenway Station Farmers' Market | Things to do at Greenway Station". Greenway Station. Retrieved 2021-07-30.
  22. ^ a b c "12 Best Things to Do in Middleton, Wisconsin". VacationIdea. March 17, 2021. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  23. ^ a b "Pleasant View Golf Course - Middleton, WI". www.golfpleasantview.com. Retrieved 2021-07-30.
  24. ^ a b "City's Major Awards & Recognition | Middleton, WI - Official Website". www.cityofmiddleton.us. Retrieved 2021-07-30.
  25. ^ "Aquatic Center | Middleton, WI - Official Website". www.cityofmiddleton.us. Retrieved 2021-07-30.
  26. ^ a b "How To Spend A Perfect Day In Charming Middleton, Wisconsin". TravelAwaits. 2021-04-20. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  27. ^ "Trolley - Visit Middleton". visitmiddleton.com. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  28. ^ "Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District". Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
  29. ^ "Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District". Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
  30. ^ a b Tornabene, Juliana. "Middleton High School ranked #11 best high school in the state, report finds". NBC. Retrieved 2021-07-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  31. ^ "The Mustard Museum: Passion For A Condiment". npr.org. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  32. ^ "Cutaway". npr.org. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  33. ^ "National Mustard Museum - Learn. Taste. Shop. Laugh!". mustardmuseum.com. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  34. ^ "Middleton's Historic Depot, Visitors Center". Visit Middleton. 2016-01-19. Retrieved 2021-07-30.
  35. ^ "Friends of Pheasant Branch". pheasantbranch.org. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  36. ^ "History in the Hills: Middleton's Effigy Mounds - Visit Middleton". visitmiddleton.com. 16 April 2015. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  37. ^ "Pheasant Branch Conservancy Trail - Wisconsin Trails - TrailLink.com". traillink.com. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  38. ^ "Pheasant Branch Creek Corridor Trail - Wisconsin Trails - TrailLink.com". traillink.com. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  39. ^ "Info". Capital Brewery. Retrieved 2021-07-30.
  40. ^ "Capital Brewery". Visit Middleton. 2012-01-13. Retrieved 2021-07-30.
  41. ^ "Hidden Cave Cidery". Visit Middleton. 2021-07-09. Retrieved 2021-07-30.
  42. ^ a b "History | Middleton Good Neighbor Festival". Retrieved 2021-07-29.
  43. ^ "Middleton Good Neighbor Festival". www.visitmadison.com. Retrieved 2021-07-29.
  44. ^ a b "Sunflower Days return to Pope Farm Conservancy". Channel3000.com. 2019-03-06. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  45. ^ "Sunflower Days | Town of Middleton, Wisconsin". Retrieved 2021-08-27.
  46. ^ "Town of Middleton: Sunflower Days returns this summer". NBC 15. Retrieved 2021-08-27.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  47. ^ "National Mustard Day - August 1". National Today. 2020-08-01. Retrieved 2021-08-27.
  48. ^ "Mustard Day – Mustard Museum". mustardmuseum.org. Retrieved 2021-08-27.
  49. ^ "NATIONAL MUSTARD DAY - First Saturday in August". National Day Calendar. Retrieved 2021-08-27.
  50. ^ "National Mustard Day set for Aug. 7". Visit Middleton. 2021-07-05. Retrieved 2021-08-27.
  51. ^ "National Mustard Day | National Mustard Museum". Retrieved 2021-08-27.
  52. ^ a b "Get Out and Play!". Visit Middleton. 2021-06-22. Retrieved 2021-07-29.
  53. ^ "Downtown Middleton Summer Fun". Visit Middleton. Retrieved 2021-08-27.
  54. ^ "Downtown Middleton Summer Fun | 7550 Hubbard Ave, Middleton, WI 53562-3133, United States | July 29, 2021". happeningnext.com. Retrieved 2021-08-27.
  55. ^ "Halloween Family Fun at the Haunted Hustle". Visit Middleton. 2016-10-13. Retrieved 2021-07-29.
  56. ^ "Beauty All Around — Discover Middleton's Outdoor Public Art". Visit Middleton. 2021-04-08. Retrieved 2021-07-30.
  57. ^ a b "Middleton Outdoor Public Art Map" (PDF). Visit Middleton. Retrieved July 30, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
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  59. ^ "2021 Best Suburbs for Young Professionals in Wisconsin". Niche. Retrieved 2021-08-01.
  60. ^ "2021 Places with the Best Public Schools in Wisconsin". Niche. Retrieved 2021-08-01.
  61. ^ "2021 Best Places to Live in Wisconsin". Niche. Retrieved 2021-08-01.
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  63. ^ "2021 Best Places to Live in Dane County". Niche. Retrieved 2021-08-01.
  64. ^ Ryman, Richard. "Bob Skoronski, Packers Hall of Fame tackle, dead at 84". Green Bay Press gazette. Retrieved 6 November 2018.

External links[edit]