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Evansville, Wisconsin
Location in Rock County and the state of Wisconsin.
Location in Rock County and the state of Wisconsin.
Country United States
State Wisconsin
County Rock
Area
 • Total 3.31 sq mi (8.57 km2)
 • Land 3.25 sq mi (8.42 km2)
 • Water 0.06 sq mi (0.16 km2)
Elevation
912 ft (278 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 5,012
 • Estimate 
(2012)
5,074
 • Density 1,542.2/sq mi (595.4/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
Area code(s) 608
FIPS code 55-24550
GNIS feature ID 1564732

Evansville is a city in Rock County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 5,012 at the 2010 census.

History

Evansville was first settled in the 1830s by New Englanders who were attracted to the area by its pristine wooded landscape and the placid Allen Creek. By 1855, the city recorded its first plat and was complete with homes, shops, and churches. Evansville is named for Dr. John M. Evans, a doctor and postmaster during the city's early years.

In 1863, the Chicago and North Western Railway came to Evansville, accelerating growth. At this point, Evansville's economy was based on industry and manufacturing of carriages, wagons, pumps, windmills and iron castings. The economy was also based on agriculture: dairying; farming (production of wheat and tobacco); and stock raising.

By the turn of the twentieth century Evansville had over 1900 residents, and by the 1920s, most of the buildings in Evansville's future Historic District were completed.

1918 mob attacks

On November 11, 1918, Armistice Day activities celebrating the end of World War I took an ugly turn as some Evansville citizens began rounding up townspeople who they had deemed insufficiently supportive of the war, mainly due to their refusal or inability to buy war bonds. A German minister and his wife were apprehended on their way out of town before being brought downtown and forced to kiss the American flag. Other "slackers" were made to wear sleighbells as they rode atop a car's radiator, while others were forced to dance in a snake formation around a bonfire. A 73-year-old woman who passed on participating in the "Your Share is Fair" war bond campaign was dragged from her home by the mob, placed in a large animal cage and paraded about the streets before being parked before the fire. The woman, Mary J. Shaw, had previously bought bonds and supported the Red Cross and other war relief efforts. After refusing to salute or kiss the flag she was rescued by other citizens. Her attempts to see her assailants punished were brushed aside by the local sheriff, and testimony before the state legislature was similarly disregarded.

Historic District

Home of Andrews Family in Evansville Wisconsin Circa 1890(Websize-84k)

The Evansville Historic District, which surrounds Main Street and stretches to the side streets of Garfield Avenue and Liberty Street, includes dozens of historic homes and other structures. The Wisconsin Historical Society called Evansville home to "the finest collection of 1840s to 1915 architecture of any small town in Wisconsin".

The Eager Free Public Library building was built with the bequest of a leading citizen, Almeron Eager, in 1908. Designed by the architectural firm of Claude and Starck of Madison, Wisconsin in the Prairie style, it features stained glass windows and plaster friezes just below the overhanging roof line. A 1994 addition at the rear of the original building was designed to match the original architecture, while adding much needed space and handicapped accessibility. The intersection on which the library stands also contains a Greek Revival home (now a funeral parlor), a High Victorian Gothic brick home (now housing the local Masonic Temple) and a classic Victorian "Painted Lady" home, still a private residence.

The Evansville Seminary was located near College Drive in the district. Its building was designed by architect August Kutzbock, but now functions as apartment homes.

In 1978, the historic district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Geography

Evansville is located at 42°46′48″N 89°18′01″W / 42.779917°N 89.300378°W / 42.779917; -89.300378 (42.779917, -89.300378).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.31 square miles (8.57 km2), of which, 3.25 square miles (8.42 km2) is land and 0.06 square miles (0.16 km2) is water.

Evansville is located 23 miles (37 km) south of Madison, Wisconsin, 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Janesville, Wisconsin, and 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Beloit, Wisconsin.

Lake Leota

This 18-acre (73,000 m2) lake was formed by damming Allen Creek in the 1840s as a mill pond. Because of erosion into Allen Creek from upstream farm fields and the resulting silt deposits that accumulated, Lake Leota had become shallower over the years, reaching an average depth of only one and a half feet by 2000. One major issue that faced the city in the last 30 years was how to restore the lake to its original depth. The dam was opened in September 2005 to allow the lake to drain and its bottom to dry out. There was some controversy in Evansville over the cost of dredging, so a referendum was put to the city's voters in November 2008. It passed by almost two to one, and dredging to a maximum of ten-foot depth was completed in February 2009. The dam was closed shortly thereafter, and Lake Leota was refilled slowly. A ceremony to mark the renaissance of the lake was held on July 4, 2009. Citizens can now enjoy the natural beauty of the lake, boating in non-powered craft, and fishing. Since refilling, the lake has been stocked with panfish and bass, and "fish-cribs" sunk below the lake surface to provide breeding areas and cover for small fry.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,068
1890 1,523 42.6%
1900 1,864 22.4%
1910 2,061 10.6%
1920 2,209 7.2%
1930 2,269 2.7%
1940 2,321 2.3%
1950 2,531 9.0%
1960 2,858 12.9%
1970 2,992 4.7%
1980 2,835 −5.2%
1990 3,174 12.0%
2000 4,039 27.3%
2010 5,012 24.1%
2015 (est.) 5,228 4.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 5,012 people, 1,942 households, and 1,304 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,542.2 inhabitants per square mile (595.4/km2). There were 2,067 housing units at an average density of 636.0 per square mile (245.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.0% White, 0.8% African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.6% of the population.

There were 1,942 households of which 40.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.0% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 32.9% were non-families. 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.12.

The median age in the city was 34.7 years. 29.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 30.5% were from 25 to 44; 22.6% were from 45 to 64; and 11.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.9% male and 51.1% female.

Community

Evansville has four gas stations, several banks, a full-sized grocery store, and several specialty shops and restaurants. Over the last two decades, many of the downtown buildings have been renovated in the style in which they were originally built. In addition, in 2008, three blocks of Main Street that had been covered with asphalt in the 1960s were re-paved with 1900-era paving bricks, adding to the "old time" feel of Main Street. The re-paving took place when major utility improvements were made to the city's downtown infrastructure.

Evansville shares a fire department with several surrounding rural towns. A new fire station was built in 2008 on Water Street. The police department then moved into the remodeled former fire department building on Church Street. The Evansville EMS is housed separate from the fire department and is located on Church Street as well.

The community has a large central park, Leonard Park, named after Korey Krueger's grandpa Leonard Krueger, on the shore of Lake Leota. Amenities include a baseball diamond with night lighting, a softball diamond, two tennis courts, a basketball court, a swimming pool, picnic shelters, and playgrounds. A skateboard facility was installed in 2006. In addition, there are several smaller community parks, Countryside, Franklin, and Brzenski. In 2008, a new large park was opened on Evansville's west side to accommodate the new subdivisions being built there. The development of this park will take place over a number of years, but two full-size soccer fields and an extensive children's playground are in place. Plans include baseball diamonds, basketball courts and picnic shelters.

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