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Sheboygan, Wisconsin

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]
Sheboygan is located in Wisconsin
Location within Wisconsin
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 James Amodeo
 • City Clerk Susan Richards
 • 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 (2012) 48,895
Time zone Central (UTC−6)
 • Summer (DST) Central (UTC−5)
ZIP Codes 53081, 53082, 53083
Area codes 920
Website .gov.sheboyganwiwww

Sheboygan is a city in and the county seat of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, United States.[3] The population was 49,288 at the 2010 census. It is the principal city of the Sheboygan, Wisconsin Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city is located on the western shore of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Sheboygan River, about 50 mi (81 km) north of Milwaukee and 64 mi (103 km) south of Green Bay.


  • History 1
    • Hmong community 1.1
  • Geography 2
  • Climate 3
  • Demographics 4
    • 2010 census 4.1
  • Government 5
    • Local government 5.1
    • State and federal representation 5.2
  • Education 6
    • High schools 6.1
    • Colleges 6.2
  • Transportation 7
    • Roads 7.1
    • Commuter transit 7.2
    • Rail 7.3
    • Airport 7.4
    • Water 7.5
  • Media 8
  • Hospitals 9
  • Recreation 10
    • Trails 10.1
    • Bratwurst Days 10.2
    • Dairyland Surf Classic 10.3
    • Space 10.4
    • Music 10.5
    • Points of interest 10.6
  • Sister cities 11
  • Recognition 12
  • Notable natives and residents 13
  • Images 14
  • See also 15
  • References 16
  • Further reading 17
  • External links 18


Migrants from New York, Michigan, and New England were among the pioneers to this area in the 1830s. One very early settler remarked "Nearly all the settlers were from the New England states and New York."[4] Lumbering was the first major industry, as trees were harvested and shipped to eastern markets through the Great Lakes. Sheboygan was officially founded in 1846.[5]

By 1849 the community was known for its German population, as it became a destination of a wave of German middle-class liberal immigrants, who reached the United States after the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states. On June 26, 1849 William Williams wrote, "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."[6] Between 1840 and 1890, Protestant Dutch immigrants also settled in areas of Wisconsin, including Sheboygan.[7] Dutch and Irish immigrants also came during this period, the Irish because of the Great Famine. Settlers of both English and German ancestry were overwhelmingly opposed to slavery.

In the spring of 1898 Sheboygan elected Fred C. Haack and August L. Mohr as aldermen, making them the first two Milwaukee and being elected as a Socialist alderman there. At the Socialist Party's 1932 convention Haack received recognition as the first Socialist officeholder in America.[8][9]

In the early 20th century, many Slavonic Catholics and Lithuanians immigrated to Sheboygan. In the late 20th century, numerous Hmong immigrants from Laos and Southeast Asia were helped to settle in the city, beginning with men who had fought for the CIA in the Secret War.

Hmong community

2010 Hmong New Year celebration at North High School

In 1976, the first three Hmong families were settled in Sheboygan with the help of refugee agencies. They were refugees from Laos, where communists had taken over the government and targeted the Hmong as allies of the US. By 1990, the city had 2,000 residents of Hmong decent. The people have struggled to gain a place in the US, as they were isolated by language and lack of a written language tradition. Through the 1990s, gang crime among this group began to increase, reflecting social problems in the community.[10] By December 1999, there were around 5,000 Hmong and Hmong American residents in Sheboygan, 65% of whom were under the age of 18.[10]

In December 1999, Robert L. Kaiser of the Chicago Tribune wrote,

"Sheboygan, like many heavily Hmong small towns in Wisconsin, has few readily apparent signs that such a large Hmong population is indeed there", as there were very few Hmong-owned businesses and "[m]any Hmong residents tend to keep to themselves."[10]

At that time, he reported that many Hmong residents still worked in jobs that did not require significant English fluency, such as automotive parts plants and other factories.[10]

In 2006, a Sheboygan Hmong Memorial was installed in a city park to honor Hmong military and civilian contributions to the Secret War in Laos (particularly from 1961-1975).


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.[11] It is located at latitude 43°45' north, longitude 87°44' west.


Sheboygan has a warm-summer humid continental climate[12] typical of Wisconsin. In spite of its position on Lake Michigan there are vast temperature differences between seasons, although its 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 [13]


2010 census

As of the census[16] 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.


Local government

Sheboygan City Hall

Sheboygan has a mayor–council form of government. The mayor is elected by 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. The chief administrative officer, or city administrator, oversees the day-to-day administration of the city and is appointed by the Common Council.

The Sheboygan Police Department is the law enforcement agency in the city. Civil and criminal law cases are heard in the Sheboygan County Circuit Court. The Sheboygan Fire Department provides fire suppression and emergency medical services, operating out of five fire stations.

State and federal representation

Sheboygan is represented in the Wisconsin State Assembly as part of both the 26th and 27th districts, whose boundaries split the city along Geele Ave. from the the west until 18th St., then Superior Ave. from 18th St. to Lake Michigan. The city is also represented in the State Senate as part of the 9th district.

Sheboygan is represented in the United States House of Representatives as part of the 6th District of Wisconsin.


Mead Public Library

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

High schools

High schools within the city include:

Since 1996, Sheboygan has had a high school program, Rockets for Schools,[17] where students build and launch 8-and-20-foot-tall (2.4 and 6.1 m) rockets.



Downtown 8th Street
Downtown Sheboygan
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


Highway 23 is the primary west route into the city, and leads into the city up to North 25th Street as a freeway. Other state highways in the city include Highway 42, Highway 28, which both run mostly along the former inner-city routing of 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 transit

Shoreline Metro provides public transit throughout the city, as well as 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 Green Bay.


The Chicago & North Western built a rail line connecting Milwaukee and Green Bay. Sheboygan had a stop on the line that also served the Milwaukee Road. There are proposals to reestablish passenger service between Milwaukee and Green Bay that would include a stop at Sheboygan.


Sheboygan is served by the Sheboygan County Memorial Airport, which is located several miles from the city.


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

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 within 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 within one radio market, and several stations serve the area. Midwest Communications owns four stations within the county, including talk station WHBL (1330); country station WBFM (93.7); CHR/Top 40 WXER (104.5 from Plymouth, with a translator station on 96.1 in Sheboygan); and active rock Sheboygan Falls-licensed WHBZ (106.5). Fox Sports Radio affiliate WCLB (950) also serves the city, along with the Sheboygan Area School District's WSHS (91.7), a member of the Wisconsin Public Radio Ideas Network, and Plymouth's WJUB (1420), a standards station.

Various religious stations originating from Milwaukee and north of Green Bay and a translator for Kiel's WSTM (91.3), and NOAA Weather Radio station WWG91 broadcast from a tower in Sheboygan. WYVM acts as a full-power relay of Suring's WRVN (102.7), which has a religious teaching format.

The city is served by Charter Communications and AT&T U-verse, with public-access television cable TV programming provided to both systems from "WSCS". The city at one time had a television station, WPVS-LP, which went off the air following the digital switchover.[18]


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


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 that uses dedicated paths and bike lanes. A 2013 project created a north-south trail using the former Chicago & Northwestern Railroad right-of-way, with future expansion planned. Other plans include paths along the Taylor Drive corridor, and improvements to the south to allow connection to the Ozaukee Interurban Trail.

Bratwurst Days

Sheboygan County is well known for its bratwurst.[19] The Sheboygan Jaycees sponsor Bratwurst Days, an annual fund-raising festival that includes the Johnsonville World Bratwurst Eating Championship.[20][21]

Dairyland Surf Classic

Sheboygan hosts the annual Dairyland Surf Classic, the largest lake surfing competition in the world.[22][23]


Sheboygan is the site of a proposed new spaceport called Spaceport Sheboygan.[24]


Points of interest

Sister cities

Sheboygan's sister cities are:

Sheboygan has student exchanges with both cities.[27]


  • Sheboygan was recognized by Reader's Digest as "The Best Place to Raise a Family" in the United States in 1997.[28]

Notable natives and residents


See also


  1. ^ "Brat Capital of the World". Sheboygan County Chamber Tourism. Retrieved 2015-01-22. 
  2. ^ Hampson, Rich. "Welcome to City of Cheese, Chairs, Children and Churches". AP. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ Carl Zillier. History of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, Past and Present. Vol. 1, p. 129.
  5. ^ J. E. Leberman. One Hundred Years of Sheboygan, 1846–1946. Sheboygan, Wis., 1946.
  6. ^ William Williams. "Major William Williams' Journal of a Trip to Iowa in 1849", Annals of Iowa vol. 12, no. 4 (1920): 242-281.
  7. ^ Wisconsin's Cultural Resource Study Units. Wisconsin Historical Society Retrieved 13 April 2014. 
  8. ^ Elmer A. Beck. The Sewer Socialists. Fennimore, Wis.: Westburg Associates, 1982, p. 20.
  9. ^ "Former Sheboygan Alderman is Laid to Rest", Sheboygan Press, August 4, 1944.
  10. ^ a b c d Kaiser, Robert L. "After 25 Years In U.S., Hmong Still Feel Isolated", Chicago Tribune, December 27, 1999. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
  11. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010".  
  12. ^ "Sheboygan, Wisconsin climate summary". Weatherbase. Retrieved 9 August 2015. 
  13. ^ "Sheboygan, Wisconsin Temperature Averages". Retrieved August 9, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  16. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  17. ^ "Rockets for Schools". 
  18. ^ FCC Internet Services Staff. "FCC record of deleted station WHBL-TV". Retrieved 2013-08-27. 
  19. ^ "Sheboygan County Registrar of Deeds". 
  20. ^ "History". Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce. 
  21. ^ LaRose, Eric (2006-03-01). "City asked to abolish brat-eating contest". The Sheboygan Press. 
  22. ^ "Dairyland Surf Classic". Wisconsin Department of Tourism. 
  23. ^ "Dairyland Surf Classic". 
  24. ^ Marley, Patrick (2005-11-28). "Bill envisions liftoff for Sheboygan". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2006-12-19. Retrieved 2007-01-11. 
  25. ^ "Significant Chronology for the Lottie Cooper". 
  26. ^ "Detailed Information for Lottie Cooper". Wisconsin's Maritime Trails. Wisconsin Historical Society. 
  27. ^ "Hungry still get their fill at Taste of Sheboygan". Sheboygan Press. 2007-03-05. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  28. ^ "The Sheboygan Press". Gannett. 
  29. ^ "John Dittrich NFL & AFL Football Statistics". 1933-05-07. Retrieved 2013-08-27. 
  30. ^ "Joe Hauser Statistics and History". Retrieved 2013-08-27. 
  31. ^ Knot, Eldon; Associated Press (1996-08-05). "`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 (Journal Sentinel Inc.). 
  32. ^ "George Sauer NFL & AFL Football Statistics". 1943-11-10. Retrieved 2013-08-27. 
  33. ^ "Carl Schuette NFL Football Statistics". Retrieved 2013-08-27. 

Further reading

  • 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

  • City of Sheboygan
  • Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce
  • Sanborn fire insurance maps: 1884 1887 1891 1903
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