Wisconsin is known as the "Badger State" because of the lead miners who first settled there in the 1820s and 1830s. These miners often lived in tunnels burrowed into hillsides, much like badgers.

Vernon County, located in southwestern Wisconsin, has a rich history that spans thousands of years. The area was originally home to Native American tribes, including the Dakota, Fox, and Ho-Chunk tribes. These tribes relied on the region's fertile soils for agriculture and the abundant wildlife for sustenance.

European settlement in Vernon County began in the early 1800s, with the arrival of fur traders and explorers. The first permanent settlers arrived in the 1840s, primarily of German, Irish, and Norwegian origin. These settlers established farms and communities, taking advantage of the natural resources and establishing a strong agricultural presence.

In the late 1800s, the railroad was introduced to Vernon County, bringing with it new opportunities for trade and transportation. The growth of the railroad led to the development of towns such as Viroqua and Hillsboro, which became important commercial and social centers for the region.

Throughout its history, Vernon County has experienced periods of prosperity and times of hardship. The Great Depression of the 1930s hit the area hard, with many farmers struggling to make ends meet. However, the county rebounded in the post-war years, with technological advancements in agriculture leading to increased productivity and economic growth.

Today, Vernon County remains a thriving agricultural community, known for its beautiful natural landscapes and strong sense of community. The county's rich history is celebrated through local museums and historical landmarks, which offer residents and visitors a glimpse into the past and the development of the region over time.

  • 1836 - Vernon County established as part of Wisconsin Territory
  • 1851 - First permanent settlement in the county
  • 1852 - County government organized
  • 1856 - First courthouse built in Viroqua
  • 1862-1865 - Several residents from Vernon County serve in the Civil War
  • Late 1800s - Agriculture becomes the major economic activity in the county
  • 1898 - Vernon County Agricultural Society formed
  • 1930s - Great Depression hits, leading to economic hardships in the county
  • 1950s-1960s - Dairy farming and cheese production flourish in the area
  • 1970s - Outdoor recreational activities become popular in Vernon County
  • 1980s - Amish migration to the county begins
  • 1992 - Flood disaster causes significant damage in the area
  • 2000s - Tourism industry grows, attracting visitors to the county's natural beauty