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Beaver Dam
City
Looking east at downtown Beaver Dam
Looking east at downtown Beaver Dam
Location of Beaver Dam in Dodge County, Wisconsin.
Location of Beaver Dam in Dodge County, Wisconsin.
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Coordinates: 43°27′35″N 88°50′9″W / 43.45972°N 88.83583°W / 43.45972; -88.83583Coordinates: 43°27′35″N 88°50′9″W / 43.45972°N 88.83583°W / 43.45972; -88.83583
Country United States of America
State Wisconsin
County Dodge County
Settled 1852
Area
 • City 8.70 sq mi (22.52 km2)
 • Land 7.31 sq mi (18.94 km2)
 • Water 1.38 sq mi (3.59 km2)  16.89%
Population
 (2010)
 • City 16,214
 • Estimate 
(2019)
16,403
 • Density 2,242.99/sq mi (866.07/km2)
 • Metro
88,489
Time zone Central
Area code(s) 920
FIPS code 55-05900

Beaver Dam is a city in Dodge County, Wisconsin, United States, along Beaver Dam Lake and the Beaver Dam River. The population was 16,214 at the 2010 census, making it the largest city primarily located in Dodge County. It is the principal city of the Beaver Dam Micropolitan Statistical area. The city is adjacent to the Town of Beaver Dam.

History

Beaver Dam was first settled by Thomas Mackie and Joseph Goetschius in 1841, and by 1843 had a population of almost 100. The city was named for an old beaver dam located in a stream flowing into Beaver Dam River. The area had also been known as Okwaanim, Chippewa for beaver dam. The community was incorporated as a city on March 18, 1856. That same year the Milwaukee Railroad reached the area, encouraging further growth.

Beaver Dam hosted a World War II POW camp called Camp Beaver Dam in the summer of 1944. The camp held 300 German prisoners of war in a tent city encampment where the Wayland Academy field house now stands.

Beaver Dam is also home to the Williams Free Library, the first public library in the United States to have open stacks.

Geography and climate

Beaver Dam is located at 43°27′35″N 88°50′9″W / 43.45972°N 88.83583°W / 43.45972; -88.83583 (43.459967, −88.836066).

Beaver Dam WI water tower
Water tower in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.17 square miles (21.16 km2), of which, 6.79 square miles (17.59 km2) is land and 1.38 square miles (3.57 km2) is water.

Since 1996, the average annual snowfall in Beaver Dam has been 61.7 inches (157 cm). The 2007–2008 winter season was the snowiest on record with 119.7 inches (304 cm).

Normal climate 1981-2010

Normal temperatures

(NWS climate station)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
Max °F 26.4 30.6 42.5 57.0 68.0 78.2 81.8 79.7 72.3 60.0 44.4 30.6 56.0
Min °F 9.3 12.5 23.5 35.5 46.1 56.0 60.3 58.9 50.0 38.3 27.0 14.3 36.0

Normal precipitation

(NWS climate station)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
Inch 1.35 1.36 2.08 3.34 3.57 4.61 4.56 3.62 3.50 2.72 2.41 1.66 34.78

Snowfall

(NWS climate station)
Year 1996–
1997
1997–
1998
1998–
1999
1999–
2000
2000–
2001
2001–
2002
2002–
2003
2003–
2004
2004–
2005
2005–
2006
2006–
2007
2007–
2008
2008–
2009
2009–
2010
2010–
2011
2011–
2012
2012–
2013
2013–
2014
2014–
2015
2015–
2016
2016–
2017
Annual Avg. 10 yr Running Avg.
Inch 80.0 60.0 49.5 42.3 62.5 40.7 35.5 30.4 53.3 51.3 61.5 119.7 85.9 64.0 96.3 47.2 97.4 67.5 35.1 54.5 44.5 61.7 72.9

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 2,765
1870 3,265 18.1%
1880 3,416 4.6%
1890 4,222 23.6%
1900 5,128 21.5%
1910 6,758 31.8%
1920 7,992 18.3%
1930 9,867 23.5%
1940 10,356 5.0%
1950 11,867 14.6%
1960 13,118 10.5%
1970 14,265 8.7%
1980 14,149 −0.8%
1990 14,196 0.3%
2000 15,169 6.9%
2010 16,214 6.9%
2019 (est.) 16,403 1.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
Glacial features near Beaver Dam Lake, Wisconsin
Drumlins near Beaver Dam city and lake, Wisconsin, in one of the largest drumlin fields in the world

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 16,214 people, 6,819 households, and 4,113 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,387.9 inhabitants per square mile (922.0/km2). There were 7,326 housing units at an average density of 1,078.9 per square mile (416.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 93.0% White, 0.8% African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 3.4% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.5% of the population.

There were 6,819 households, of which 30.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.1% were married couples living together, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 39.7% were non-families. 33.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.95.

The median age in the city was 37.7 years. 25.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.1% were from 25 to 44; 25% were from 45 to 64; and 16.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.4% male and 51.6% female.

Events

The following events are held each year in Beaver Dam, WI:

January:

  • Cabin Fever Fest – 4th Sunday

March:

  • Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast – 1st Sunday

April:

  • Rotary Casino Night – 1st Saturday
  • Beaver Dam Area Orchestra Annual Spring Concert – 3rd Saturday

May:

  • Race Into Summer Festival – Sunday of Memorial Day weekend
  • Memorial Day Parade – Memorial Day

June:

  • Taste of Wisconsin (beer & cheese tasting) – Saturday before Father's Day
  • Swan City Classic Car Show – Father's Day

July:

  • Lake Days / Swan Park Craft Fair – 2nd weekend

August:

  • Corn Roast – 1st Thursday
  • Dodge County Fair – 3rd Wednesday through the following Sunday

November:

  • Midwest Cream Cheese Competition – Saturday of opening of deer hunting
  • Economic Update Luncheon – 3rd Wednesday

December:

  • Christmas Parade – 1st Saturday

Education

The Beaver Dam Unified School District provides public education in the area.

Primary education

MoraineParkTechnicalCollegeBeaverDam
Moraine Park Technical College campus in Beaver Dam
Beaver Dam WI water tower
Water tower in Beaver Dam

Beaver Dam's six public primary schools for K to 5th grades are: Jefferson Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Prairie View Elementary, South Beaver Dam Elementary, Washington Elementary, and Wilson Elementary.

There are two parochial primary schools: St. Katharine Drexel (grades: pre-K to 8th), and St. Stephen's Evangelical Lutheran (grades: K to 8th).

Middle school

Beaver Dam Middle School is the local public middle school teaching 6th through 8th grades.

Secondary education

Beaver Dam High School is the local public high school; its mascot is The Golden Beaver. An alternative school, the Don Smith Learning Academy, is part of the Beaver Dam Unified School District. The city is also home to Wayland Academy, a private school.

Post-secondary education

The Beaver Dam campus of Moraine Park Technical College is located in the city.

Beaver Dam Wisconsin Municipal Building
The Beaver Dam Municipal Building
Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre Wisconsin
Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre

Notable people

Government

  • Claire B. Bird, Wisconsin State Senator
  • Mark Born, Wisconsin state legislator
  • Samuel D. Burchard, U.S. Representative
  • Michael E. Burke, U.S. Representative
  • Jesse A. Canniff. Wisconsin state legislator, farmer, businessman
  • Columbus Germain, Wisconsin legislator
  • David C. Gowdey, member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
  • Charles M. Hambright, Wisconsin State Representative
  • Michael A. Jacobs, Wisconsin State Senator
  • Andre Jacque, member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
  • William Jones, member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
  • Robert Kastenmeier, U.S. Representative
  • Daniel E. La Bar, Wisconsin State Representative
  • Walter J. LaBuy, U.S. District Court Judge in Illinois
  • Silas W. Lamoreaux, lawyer and politician
  • Henry W. Lander, Wisconsin State Senator and Mayor of Beaver Dam
  • Edward C. McFetridge, mayor of Beaver Dam
  • George F. Merrill, Wisconsin State Senator
  • Eric Oemig, former Washington State Senator
  • Charles Pettibone, Wisconsin State Senator
  • Dick Pabich, LGBTQ activist and campaign manager of Harvey Milk
  • John Samuel Rowell, politician, agricultural inventor, and pioneer manufacturer
  • Benjamin Sherman, Wisconsin legislator
  • A. Scott Sloan, U.S. Representative
  • John Mellen Thurston, U.S. Senator from Nebraska, Thurston County, Nebraska is named after him.
  • Philip J. Zink, Wisconsin legislator

Professional sports

  • Paul Cloyd, professional basketball player
  • Pink Hawley, major league baseball player
  • Addie Joss, MLB player, member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Lyman Linde, MLB player
  • Doug Lloyd, professional football player
  • Jason Maas, professional football player
  • David Maley, NHL player
  • Bill Rentmeester, NFL/UFL player
  • Elmer Rhenstrom, NFL player
  • Gil Sterr, NFL player
  • Barney Traynor, NFL player

Business

  • Frederick Douglas Underwood, President of Erie Railroad, Director of Wells Fargo
  • Lina Trivedi, co-creator of (Beanie Babies)

Science, media, and the arts

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