Fair History in Rock County

Did you know that Janesville was the site of the very first Wisconsin State Fair on October 1-2, 1851? It was held on the banks of the Rock River and sponsored by the newly-formed State Agricultural Society. There were 461 total entries with a profit of $85.45. Popular features include a 200-pound squash and a quarter-acre plowing match.

(Click photograph to enlarge text)

The fairgrounds contained 6 acres and about 10,000 people attended. The fair was held just east of Upper Courthouse Park, now a residential area in the Courthouse Hill Historic District.

You can read more about it at Hedberg Public Library.
Our Local History Database contains many references
to the Wisconsin State Fair in Janesville here.
Or, email a Reference Librarian referencedesk@hedbergpubliclibrary.org or call us during open hours at 608-758-6581.


1 comment:

  1. I think a couple of the factors in Janesville being the site of the first state fair is that Janesville was one of the largest towns in Wisconsin at the time and it had an active and distinguished agricultural society.