Sheboygan, Wisconsin facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
See also: Cheboygan (disambiguation)
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,
The City of Cheese, Chairs, Children & Churches
Country  United States of America
State  Wisconsin
Counties Sheboygan
Settled 1780s
Incorporated (city) 1846
 • 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

Sheboygan is a city in and the county seat of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, United States. 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.


Prior to settlement by European Americans, the Sheboygan area was home to Native Americans, including members of the Potawatomi, Chippewa, Ottawa, Winnebago, and Menominee tribes. 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." 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. Much of the town was platted in 1836, when property investors laid out more than 1,000 lots.

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." Between 1840 and 1890, Protestant Dutch immigrants also settled in areas of Wisconsin, including Sheboygan. 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 Social Democratic Party candidates to be elected to public office in the United States. Haack had originally been elected in 1897 as a member of the Populist Party, but joined the Social Democrats after they had organized locally. Haack served as an alderman for sixteen years before moving to 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.

In the early 20th century, many Slavonic Catholics and Lithuanians immigrated to Sheboygan. In the late 20th century, Hmong immigrants from Laos and Southeast Asia were helped to settle in the city, beginning with men who had worked 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 settled in Sheboygan with the help of local refugee agencies such as the Grace Lutheran Church and Trinity Lutheran Church. They were refugees from Laos. By 1990, the city had 2,000 residents of Hmong descent. By December 1999, there were around 5,000 Hmong and Hmong American residents in Sheboygan, 65% of whom were under the age of 18.

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."

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.

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). The 2010 U.S. Census showed the number of Hmong citizens to be around 4,100 people, putting it fourth in Wisconsin for Hmong populations.


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


Sheboygan has a warm-summer humid continental climate typical of Wisconsin. In spite of its position on Lake Michigan there are vast temperature differences between seasons, although it is 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
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.3
Source: Weatherbase


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 4,262
1870 5,310 24.6%
1880 7,314 37.7%
1890 16,359 123.7%
1900 22,962 40.4%
1910 26,398 15.0%
1920 30,955 17.3%
1930 39,251 26.8%
1940 40,638 3.5%
1950 42,365 4.2%
1960 45,747 8.0%
1970 49,246 7.6%
1980 48,085 −2.4%
1990 49,718 3.4%
2000 50,792 2.2%
2010 49,288 −3.0%
Est. 2015 48,797 −1.0%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census 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.


Downtown 8th Street
Downtown Sheboygan
Edgewater Plant
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


Interstate 43 is the primary north-south transportation route into Sheboygan, and forms the west boundary of the city. U.S. Route 141 was the primary north-south route into Sheboygan before Interstate 43 was built, and its former route is a major north-south route through the center of the city that is referred to as Calumet Drive coming into the city from the north, and South Business Drive from the south; between Superior and Georgia Avenues, the highway is known as 14th Street. Four-lane 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 (KSBM), which is located three miles northwest of 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.


Beach near downtown Sheboygan Wisconsin
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. A 2016 project added a trail along the Taylor Drive corridor, and improvements to the south to allow connection to the Ozaukee Interurban Trail are proposed for a future date.

Bratwurst Days

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

Dairyland Surf Classic

Sheboygan hosts the annual Dairyland Surf Classic, the largest lake surfing competition in the world.


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


  • The Chordettes, 1950s female group
  • Morbid Saint, thrash metal band

Points of interest

  • Mead Public Library
  • Plaza 8 (defunct)
  • Above & Beyond Children's Museum
  • Blue Harbor Resort
  • Bookworm Gardens
  • Ellwood H. May Environmental Park
  • Sheboygan Indian Mound Park
  • John Michael Kohler Arts Center
  • Sheboygan County Historical Museum
  • Sheboygan Hmong Memorial
  • Sheboygan Municipal Auditorium and Armory
  • Stefanie H. Weill Center for the Performing Arts
  • In April 1894, the schooner Lottie Cooper was wrecked just off Sheboygan in a gale. The wreckage was found buried in the harbor during the construction of the Harbor Centre Marina and is now on display in DeLand Park, on Sheboygan's lakefront. The free display is the only one of its kind on the Great Lakes.

Sister cities

Sheboygan's sister cities are:

Sheboygan has student exchanges with both cities.


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

Images for kids

Images for kids

Sheboygan, Wisconsin Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.