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Potosi, Wisconsin
Location of Potosi in Grant County, Wisconsin.
Location of Potosi in Grant County, Wisconsin.
Country  United States
State  Wisconsin
County Grant
 • Total 1.68 sq mi (4.34 km2)
 • Land 1.66 sq mi (4.30 km2)
 • Water 0.02 sq mi (0.05 km2)
814 ft (248 m)
 • Total 688
 • Estimate 
 • Density 400.60/sq mi (154.68/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
Area code(s) 608
FIPS code 55-64650
GNIS feature ID 1583964
PotosiBrewery PotosiWI
The Potosi Brewery, a landmark at the west end of the village, operated continuously from 1852 to 1972.

Potosi is a village in Grant County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 688 at the 2010 census. The village is in the Town of Potosi.


Potosi is located where Wisconsin's lead ore belt intersects with the Mississippi. The post office (1837 to present) was originally located between Van Buren and Head of the Hollow, then at Van Buren, then at La Fayette. In 1839, the leaders of three settlements (Snake Hollow, sometimes called Head of the Hollow, Van Buren, and La Fayette) decided to combine the villages. The new, larger community was named Potosi, and the post office moved one last time, to the center of the new, merged community.

There are several explanations for the origin of the name Potosi, but the correct one is unknown. Many mining towns are named Potosi]</ref> Another explanation is that Potosi is a corruption of "Potosa," the supposed name of the wife of Julien Dubuque, an early settler in the area. No evidence exists for this theory.

Potosi was the home of the Potosi Brewing Company, makers of "Good Old Potosi Beer," from 1852 to 1972. A brewery restoration project has begun to preserve the history and tradition of the company. The National Brewery Museum opened inside the premises of the brewery in 2008. Potosi Brewery crafts and distributes a variety of beers throughout the region. Potosi Brewery's mission is to channel all profits into its markets served to support historical and educational initiatives, and charitable causes.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 1.67 square miles (4.33 km2), of which, 1.65 square miles (4.27 km2) of it is land and 0.02 square miles (0.05 km2) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 466
1900 434
1910 464 6.9%
1920 501 8.0%
1930 447 −10.8%
1940 506 13.2%
1950 556 9.9%
1960 589 5.9%
1970 713 21.1%
1980 736 3.2%
1990 654 −11.1%
2000 711 8.7%
2010 688 −3.2%
2019 (est.) 665 −3.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 688 people, 295 households, and 203 families living in the village. The population density was 417.0 inhabitants per square mile (161.0/km2). There were 322 housing units at an average density of 195.2 per square mile (75.4/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 98.7% White, 0.1% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.1% from other races, and 0.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.6% of the population.

There were 295 households, of which 26.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.3% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 31.2% were non-families. 27.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.79.

The median age in the village was 45.3 years. 21.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 19.6% were from 25 to 44; 30.9% were from 45 to 64; and 19.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the village was 48.5% male and 51.5% female.


Known as "the Catfish Capital of Wisconsin," the village holds an annual Catfish Festival and Fireman's Fish Fry, typically on the 2nd weekend of August. The event includes a truck and tractor pull, beanbag and a euchre tournament, fireworks, live music, a parade, and the fish fry. The National Brewery Museum and Library opened in the village on the site of the Potosi Brewery in 2008. The museum features historic beer and brewing memorabilia, including signs, advertisements, bottles, cans, and miscellaneous paraphernalia.

Local road signs herald Potosi's Main Street as "the longest Main Street in the world." A newspaper article traces the claim to a 1950s item in Ripley's Believe It Or Not which made the more qualified statement that it is the longest Main Street without a cross street. Current maps show a three-mile stretch, with numerous streets—including one named "Cross Street"—that drain into it and end, forming T-shaped intersections, but no street that continues across it. The stretch is divided into two portions each with a distinct street name: North Main Street and South Main Street.

Notable people

  • William Biddlecome - lawyer
  • Joshua B. Bradbury - farmer, teacher, and legislator
  • Lafayette Caskey - carpenter and legislator
  • Edward John Dorn - United States Naval Governor of Guam
  • John Lewis Dyer - Methodist circuit rider, who carried gospel to Colorado in 1860s and 1870s; mined lead near Potosi in 1840s
  • Melvin Grigsby - Union Army and Spanish–American War veteran who served as South Dakota Attorney General
  • William Hull - lawyer and legislator
  • Keith Krepfle - football player
  • William Josiah MacDonald - U.S. Representative from Michigan
  • James Wilson Seaton - lawyer and legislator
  • Fred A. Thomas - Montana State Representative
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