Sheboygan, Wisconsin

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City of Sheboygan
Downtown Sheboygan, with U.S. Bank Building in background
Downtown Sheboygan, with U.S. Bank Building in background
Official seal of Sheboygan
Nickname(s): Bratwurst Capital of the World,[1]
The City of Cheese, Chairs, Children & Churches[2]
Location of Sheboygan in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin.
Location of Sheboygan in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin.
Sheboygan is located in Wisconsin
Location within Wisconsin
Coordinates: 43°45′0″N 87°43′30″W / 43.75000°N 87.72500°W / 43.75000; -87.72500Coordinates: 43°45′0″N 87°43′30″W / 43.75000°N 87.72500°W / 43.75000; -87.72500
Country  United States of America
State  Wisconsin
Counties Sheboygan
Settled 1780s
Incorporated (city) 1846
 • Type Mayor–council
 • Body Common Council
 • Mayor Mike Vandersteen (NP)
 • City Administrator Darrell Hofland
 • City Clerk Meredith DeBruin
 • Total 14.11 sq mi (36.5 km2)
 • Land 13.97 sq mi (36.2 km2)
 • Water 0.14 sq mi (0.4 km2)
Population (2010)
 • Total 49,288
 • Estimate (2016)[3] 48,686
Time zone Central (UTC−6)
 • Summer (DST) Central (UTC−5)
ZIP Codes 53081, 53082, 53083
Area codes 920
FIPS code 55-72975

Sheboygan is a city in and the county seat of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, United States.[4] The population was 49,288 at the 2010 census. It is the principal city of the Sheboygan, Wisconsin Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city is situated on the western shore of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Sheboygan River.


Before its settlement by European Americans, the Sheboygan area was home to Native Americans, including members of the Potawatomi, Chippewa, Ottawa, Winnebago, and Menominee tribes.[5][self-published source] Migrants from New York, Michigan, and New England were among the pioneers to this area in the 1830s. One early settler remarked: "Nearly all the settlers were from the New England states and New York."[6] Lumbering was the first major industry, as trees were harvested and shipped to eastern markets through the Great Lakes.

Much of the area was platted in 1836, when property investors laid out more than one thousand lots.[7] Sheboygan was incorporated as a village in 1846.[8]

By 1849, a wave of liberal, middle-class immigration triggered by the revolutions of 1848 had made the community known for its German population. As William Williams[disambiguation needed] wrote on June 26, 1849: "Arrived at Sheboigin [sic] on the Wisconsin side, a small town, population purhaps [sic] from 700 to 1000. This is a promising place. There are a great many best class of Germans settling around it. 'Tis all along this Lake so far quite an interesting country."[9] Between 1840 and 1890, Protestant Dutch immigrants also settled in the area,[10] as did Irish refugees fleeing the Great Famine.

In the spring of 1898, Sheboygan elected Fred C. Haack and August L. Mohr as aldermen, making them the first two Social Democratic Party candidates to be elected to public office in the United States.[citation needed] Haack had originally been elected in 1897 as a member of the Populist Party, but joined the Social Democrats after they organized locally. Haack served as alderman for 16 years before moving to Milwaukee and being elected as a Socialist alderman there. At the 1932 Socialist Party convention, Haack received recognition as the first Socialist officeholder in America.[11][12]

In the early 20th century, many Catholic Slavs and Lithuanians immigrated to Sheboygan. In the late 20th century, Hmong refugees from Laos and Southeast Asia settled there, led by men who had collaborated with the CIA during the Secret War.[citation needed]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.11 square miles (36.54 km2), of which, 13.97 square miles (36.18 km2) is land and 0.14 square miles (0.36 km2) is water.[13] It is located at latitude 43°45' north, longitude 87°44' west.


Sheboygan has a warm-summer humid continental climate[14] typical of Wisconsin. In spite of its position on Lake Michigan there are vast temperature differences between seasons, although it is somewhat moderated compared with areas further inland.

Climate data for Sheboygan
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 62
Average high °F (°C) 26.7
Daily mean °F (°C) 19.1
Average low °F (°C) 11.5
Record low °F (°C) −25
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.3
Source: Weatherbase[15]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201648,686[3]−1.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[16]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[17] of 2010, there were 49,288 people, 20,308 households, and 12,219 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,528.1 inhabitants per square mile (1,362.2/km2). There were 22,339 housing units at an average density of 1,599.1 per square mile (617.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 82.5% White, 1.8% African American, 0.5% Native American, 9.0% Asian, 3.6% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.9% of the population.

There were 20,308 households of which 30.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.4% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 39.8% were non-families. Of all households 33.4% were made up of individuals and 12.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.06.

The median age in the city was 36.2 years. 25.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.2% were from 25 to 44; 24.8% were from 45 to 64; and 13.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.5% male and 50.5% female.

Hmong community[edit]

In 1976, the first three Hmong families settled in Sheboygan with the help of local refugee agencies such as the Grace Lutheran Church and Trinity Lutheran Church. They were refugees from Laos. By 1990, the city had 2,000 residents of Hmong descent. By December 1999, there were around 5,000 Hmong and Hmong American residents in Sheboygan, 65% of whom were under the age of 18.[18]

In 2006, the Sheboygan Hmong Memorial was installed in the lakefront Deland Park to honor Hmong military and civilian contributions to the Secret War in Laos. The 2010 U.S. Census showed the number of Hmong citizens to be around 4,100 people.[19]


Local government[edit]

Front monument sign of Sheboygan City Hall

Sheboygan has a council - manager form of government. The mayor is elected in a non-partisan general election for a term of four years, with no term limits. The common council consists of 16 alderpersons representing the city's eight aldermanic districts, with a council president and vice-president presiding over them. The city administrator, who is appointed by the common council, oversees the day-to-day administration of the city.

Sheboygan's 1916-built city hall is being renovated and will reopen in summer 2019.[20]

The Sheboygan Police Department is the law enforcement agency in the city. Civil and criminal law cases are heard in Sheboygan County Circuit Court, with municipal citations for Sheboygan and Kohler handled in the city's municipal court.[21] The Sheboygan Fire Department provides fire suppression and emergency medical services, operating out of five fire stations throughout the city.

State and federal representation[edit]

Sheboygan is represented in the Wisconsin State Assembly as part of both the 26th (Terry Katsma, R-Oostburg) and 27th (Tyler Vorpagel, R-Plymouth) districts. The city is also represented in the State Senate as part of the 9th district (Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg).

Sheboygan is in the 6th congressional district of Wisconsin, which is represented by Republican Glenn Grothman.


Mead Public Library

Sheboygan public schools are administered by the Sheboygan Area School District.

High schools[edit]

High schools within the city include:



Downtown 8th Street
Shoreline Metro transfer point
Alliant Energy's Edgewater Generation Station, a coal-fired power plant on the city's south side, with the city's wastewater treatment plant in the foreground


Interstate 43 is the primary north-south transportation route into Sheboygan, and forms the west boundary of the city. U.S. Route 141 was the primary north-south route into Sheboygan before Interstate 43 was built, and its former route is a major north-south route through the center of the city that is referred to as Calumet Drive coming into the city from the north, and South Business Drive from the south; between Superior and Georgia Avenues, the highway is known as 14th Street. Four-lane Highway 23 is the primary west route into the city. Other state highways in the city include Highway 42, Highway 28, which both run mostly along the former U.S. 141. Secondary county highways include County LS to the north; Counties J, O, PP, and EE to the west; and County KK to the south.

Commuter bus transit[edit]

Shoreline Metro provides public bus transit in the city and in Kohler and Sheboygan Falls. All routes depart from the Metro Center, more commonly known as the "Transfer Point" located in the downtown.

Jefferson Lines and Indian Trails serve Sheboygan at the Metro Center, providing transportation to Milwaukee (and an Amtrak Thruway connection to the Milwaukee Intermodal Station) and Green Bay.


Historically the city was connected to Milwaukee, Chicago and Green Bay via the Milwaukee Interurban Lines, the Chicago & North Western Railroad and the Milwaukee Road. These railroads' passenger services were abandoned during the mid-20th century.[22]


Sheboygan is served by the Sheboygan County Memorial Airport (KSBM), located three miles northwest of the city. No commercial airlines fly into the airport.


Sheboygan is bounded on the east by Lake Michigan. The city has no active port in the 21st century. Blue Harbor Resort is situated on a peninsula between the lake and the Sheboygan River. This site was formerly used as the headquarters of the C. Reiss Coal Company (now a Koch Industries division).[citation needed] It was their base of operations for ships to load and unload coal for delivery along the peninsula.[citation needed]

The Sheboygan River passes through the city, but dams in Sheboygan Falls prevent navigation upriver. Tall-masted boats are confined to the river downstream of the Pennsylvania Avenue bridge. Commercial charter fishing boats dock near the mouth of the river.


The city's daily newspaper is The Sheboygan Press, which has been published since 1907. The free papers The Sheboygan Sun and The Beacon are mailed weekly to area residents and feature classified ads and other local content.

The city is served by television and radio stations in Green Bay and Milwaukee. A. C. Nielsen's television division places Sheboygan in the Milwaukee market, although Green Bay stations also report news, events, and weather warnings pertaining to Sheboygan and target the city with advertising.

Nielsen Audio places Sheboygan and Sheboygan County in one radio market, and several stations serve the area. Midwest Communications owns four stations in the county, including talk station WHBL; country station WBFM; CHR/Top 40 WXER; and active rock Sheboygan Falls-licensed WHBZ, Fox Sports Radio affiliate WCLB, Sheboygan Area School District's WSHS, a member of the Wisconsin Public Radio Ideas Network, and Plymouth's WGXI, a standards station. Religious stations originating in Milwaukee and north of Green Bay and a translator for Kiel's WSTM, and NOAA Weather Radio station WWG91 broadcast from towers in the city.

The city is served by Spectrum and AT&T U-verse, with public-access television cable TV programming provided to both systems from WSCS. The city's television station, WPVS-LP, went off the air following the digital switchover.[23]

Health care[edit]

Aurora Sheboygan Medical Center
  • Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center
  • St. Nicholas Hospital

In the early 2020s, Aurora Health Care will open a replacement hospital for Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center.[24]


This public beach on Lake Michigan is located north and east of downtown Sheboygan.


The city has one trail along the Highway 23 corridor leading to the Old Plank Road Trail to the west of Sheboygan, with dedicated paths and bike lanes. A north-south trail uses the former Chicago & Northwestern Railroad right-of-way, with future expansion planned. A 2016 project added a trail along the Taylor Drive corridor, and improvements to the south to allow connection to the Ozaukee Interurban Trail are proposed for a future date.

Bratwurst Days[edit]

Sheboygan County is known for its bratwurst.[25][dead link] The Sheboygan Jaycees sponsor Bratwurst Days, an annual fund-raising festival that includes the Johnsonville World Bratwurst Eating Championship.[26][27]

Dairyland Surf Classic[edit]

Sheboygan hosts the annual Dairyland Surf Classic, the largest lake surfing competition in the world.[28][29]


Sheboygan is the site of the proposed spaceport, Spaceport Sheboygan.[30][needs update]


Points of interest[edit]

King Park Pavilion

In April 1894, the schooner Lottie Cooper wrecked just off Sheboygan in a gale.[32] The wreckage was found buried in the harbor during the construction of the Harbor Centre Marina and is now on display in DeLand Park, on Sheboygan's lakefront. The display is the only one of its kind on the Great Lakes.[33]

Sister cities[edit]

Sheboygan's sister cities are:

Sheboygan has student exchanges with both cities.[34]


Notable natives and residents[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Brat Capital of the World". Sheboygan County Chamber Tourism. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  2. ^ Hampson, Rich. "Welcome to City of Cheese, Chairs, Children and Churches". Associated Press. 
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  5. ^ Buchanan, Gustave (1944). Historic Sheboygan County. p. 37. 
  6. ^ Carl Zillier, ed. (1912). History of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, Past and Present. Vol. 1. Chicago: S. J. Clarke. p. 129. 
  7. ^ "Speculation! Speculation!". Rutland Herald. May 17, 1836. 
  8. ^ J. E. Leberman (1946). One Hundred Years of Sheboygan, 1846–1946. Sheboygan, Wis. 
  9. ^ William Williams. "Major William Williams' Journal of a Trip to Iowa in 1849". Annals of Iowa, vol. 12, no. 4 (1920): 242-281.
  10. ^ "Wisconsin's Cultural Resource Study Units". Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved April 13, 2014. 
  11. ^ Elmer A. Beck (1982). The Sewer Socialists. Fennimore, Wis.: Westburg Associates. p. 20. 
  12. ^ "Former Sheboygan Alderman is Laid to Rest". The Sheboygan Press. August 4, 1944. 
  13. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 24, 2012. Retrieved November 18, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Sheboygan, Wisconsin climate summary". Weatherbase. Retrieved August 9, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Sheboygan, Wisconsin Temperature Averages". Retrieved August 9, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  17. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 18, 2012. 
  18. ^ Kaiser, Robert L. "After 25 Years In U.S., Hmong Still Feel Isolated". Chicago Tribune, December 27, 1999. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
  19. ^ "History program spotlights Sheboygan's Hmong community". The Sheboygan Press. Retrieved January 21, 2017. 
  20. ^ Bennett, McLean (June 7, 2018). "Sheboygan City Hall $10.5 million renovation a long time coming". The Sheboygan Press. Retrieved July 7, 2018. 
  21. ^ "Municipal Court". City of Sheboygan. Retrieved February 11, 2018. 
  22. ^ Titletown Corridor – Milwaukee to Green Bay
  23. ^ FCC Internet Services Staff. "FCC record of deleted station WHBL-TV". Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Aurora Begins Process to Build Replacement Hospital, Outpatient Surgery Center and Medical Office Building in Eastern Sheboygan County" (Press release). Aurora Health Care. April 11, 2017. Retrieved December 20, 2017. 
  25. ^ "Sheboygan County Register of Deeds". 
  26. ^ "History". Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce. 
  27. ^ LaRose, Eric (March 1, 2006). "City asked to abolish brat-eating contest". The Sheboygan Press. Archived from the original on June 12, 2006. 
  28. ^ "Dairyland Surf Classic". Wisconsin Department of Tourism. 
  29. ^ "Dairyland Surf Classic". Archived from the original on March 9, 2008. 
  30. ^ Marley, Patrick (November 28, 2005). "Bill envisions liftoff for Sheboygan". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on December 19, 2006. Retrieved January 11, 2007. 
  31. ^ "Parks and Shelters". City of Sheboygan. 
  32. ^ "Significant Chronology for the Lottie Cooper". 
  33. ^ "Lottie Cooper (1876)". Wisconsin Shipwrecks. Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved May 14, 2018. 
  34. ^ "Hungry still get their fill at Taste of Sheboygan". The Sheboygan Press. March 5, 2007. Retrieved April 11, 2007. 
  35. ^ "The Sheboygan Press". Gannett. 
  36. ^ "Archie Bleyer, 79, Music Director, Dies". The New York Times, March 21, 1989.
  37. ^ "John Dittrich NFL & AFL Football Statistics". May 7, 1933. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  38. ^ "Joe Hauser Statistics and History". Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  39. ^ Knot, Eldon (August 5, 1996). "Breakfast Club' host Don McNeill dies Radio legend, who grew up in Sheboygan, once was fired for seeking $3 raise at Milwaukee station". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Associated Press. 
  40. ^ "Las Vegas gunman's father born in Sheboygan, on FBI Most Wanted List in '60s". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved October 3, 2017. 
  41. ^ "George Sauer NFL & AFL Football Statistics". November 10, 1943. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  42. ^ "Carl Schuette NFL Football Statistics". Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  43. ^ Colleen Fitzpatrick, "The dead horse investigation – update", Identifinders, 26 November 2010.

Further reading[edit]

  • Legacies of Firefighting: A History of the Sheboygan Fire Department, 1846–1998. Sheboygan, Wis.: Sheboygan Fire Department History Book Committee, 1998.
  • Sheboygan. Charleston, S.C: Arcadia Pub, 2012.

External links[edit]