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Sheboygan, Wisconsin facts for kids

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City and county seat
City of Sheboygan
Sheboygan County Courthouse
Sheboygan County Courthouse
Official seal of Sheboygan
"Malibu of the Midwest",
"Bratwurst Capital of the World",
"The City of Cheese, Chairs, Children & Churches"
Location of Sheboygan in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin.
Location of Sheboygan in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin.
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Country United States
State Wisconsin
Counties Sheboygan
Settled 1780s
Incorporated (city) 1846
 • Type Mayor–council
 • Body Common Council
 • City and county seat 15.83 sq mi (41.00 km2)
 • Land 15.64 sq mi (40.51 km2)
 • Water 0.19 sq mi (0.49 km2)
 • City and county seat 49,929
 • Density 3,066.82/sq mi (1,184.14/km2)
 • Metro
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (Central)
ZIP Codes
Area codes 920
FIPS code 55-72975
Interstates I-43 (WI).svg
State Highways WIS 23.svg WIS 42.svg WIS 28.svg

Sheboygan is a city in and the county seat of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 49,929 at the 2020 census. It is the principal city of the Sheboygan, Wisconsin Metropolitan Statistical Area, which has a population of 118,034. The city is located on the western shore of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Sheboygan River, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) 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%
2020 49,929 1.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
2020 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.

Hmong community

Further information: Hmong in Wisconsin

In 1976, the first three Hmong families settled in Sheboygan with the help of local refugee agencies such as the Grace Episcopal 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 2006, the Sheboygan Hmong Memorial was installed in the lakefront Deland 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.



Downtown 8th Street
Sheboygan Transit
Shoreline Metro transfer point
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/Sauk Trail Road 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 Trunk Highway DL and the decommissioned CTH LS to the north; County Trunk Highways J, O, PP, and EE to the west; and CTH KK to the south.

For addressing purposes, the city's north-south zero point is Pennsylvania Avenue (increasing from 500 past that line in both directions), while west addressing zeroes out at the extreme eastern point of Superior Avenue at Lake Michigan (Sheboygan and Sheboygan County have no east addresses, and the little land existing northeast of that point stretches out the six '100 blocks' northward with xx50-xx90 numbers not otherwise used in most other addresses in Sheboygan).

Public transit

Shoreline Metro provides public bus 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 an Amtrak Thruway connection to the Milwaukee Intermodal Station) and Green Bay.


Historically the city was connected to Milwaukee, Chicago and Green Bay via the Milwaukee Interurban Lines, the Chicago & North Western Railroad and the Milwaukee Road. These railroads' passenger services were abandoned during the mid-20th century but in 2008 the Wisconsin Department of Transportation proposed to reestablish passenger service to Milwaukee and Green Bay via Fond du Lac and the cities along Lake Winnebago's west shore, though political complications in the 2010s have since mothballed rail expansion in Wisconsin.


Sheboygan is served by the county-owned non-commercial Sheboygan County Memorial Airport (KSBM) 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.


Aurora Sheboygan Medical Center
  • Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center
  • St. Nicholas Hospital

In the early 2020s, Aurora Health Care will open a replacement hospital for Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center on Union Avenue east of I-43 on Kohler village land north of the Acuity Insurance campus otherwise inaccessible from Kohler proper itself without going through Sheboygan.


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.


Points of interest

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.


Sheboygan Mead Public Library
Mead Public Library

Sheboygan public schools are administered by the Sheboygan Area School District.

High schools

High schools within the city include:

  • Sheboygan North High School
  • Sheboygan South High School
  • Sheboygan Area Lutheran High School
  • George D. Warriner High School
  • Sheboygan Christian School
  • Étude High School
  • Sheboygan Central High School

The school district was the first in Wisconsin to operate an FM radio station, WSHS (91.7). Since 1996, Sheboygan has had a high school program, Rockets for Schools, where students build and launch 8-and-20-foot-tall (2.4 and 6.1 m) rockets.


Notable people

  • Peter Bartzen, Wisconsin State Representative
  • James Baumgart, Wisconsin state senator
  • Theodore Benfey, Wisconsin state senator
  • Thomas M. Blackstock, politician and businessman
  • Archie Bleyer, music director
  • Helen Boatwright, opera singer and educator
  • Vernon R. Boeckmann, Wisconsin State Representative and sheriff
  • Ray Buivid, football player
  • Charles Burhop, politician
  • Elijah Fox Cook, Wisconsin state senator
  • The Chordettes, singing quartet
  • Valentine Detling, Wisconsin State Representative and businessman
  • Sam Dekker, professional basketball player
  • Ambrose Delos DeLand, Wisconsin legislator
  • Fred A. Dennett, Wisconsin state senator
  • John M. Detling, Wisconsin State Representative
  • Theodore Dieckmann, Wisconsin legislator
  • John Dittrich, NFL player
  • Jerry Donohue, major contributor toward DNA identification
  • Bill Dwyre, editor and columnist, Los Angeles Times
  • John W. Eber, Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly
  • Simon Gillen, Wisconsin State Representative and jurist
  • Bernard O. Gruenke, artist
  • Fred C. Haack, one of two first Socialist candidates (with August Mohr) elected to office in America
  • Lorenzo D. Harvey, Superintendent of Public Instruction of Wisconsin
  • Timothy Hasenstein, painter
  • Joe Hauser, Major League Baseball player
  • Herman Heinecke, Wisconsin state assembly
  • Henry A. Hillemann, Wisconsin State Representative and lawyer
  • Harrison Carroll Hobart, Union Army general
  • William E. Hoehle, Wisconsin State Representative
  • Curt W. Janke, Wisconsin State Representative
  • Marvin John Jensen, U.S. Navy admiral
  • John H. Jones, Wisconsin state senator
  • Jacob Jung, Wisconsin State Representative and businessman
  • William G. Kaufmann, politician and businessman
  • Edward J. Kempf, Wisconsin State Representative
  • Ernest Keppler, politician and jurist
  • John J. Koepsell, Wisconsin State Representative and businessman
  • John Michael Kohler, industrialist, founder of Kohler Company and mayor of Sheboygan
  • Terry Jodok Kohler, industrialist
  • Walter J. Kohler, Jr., Governor of Wisconsin
  • Walter J. Kohler, Sr., Governor of Wisconsin
  • Conrad Krez, Union Army general, Wisconsin State Representative
  • Frederick W. Krez, Wisconsin State Representative
  • Eloise Kummer, actress
  • Wesley Lau, actor
  • Joe Leibham, lobbyist and former Wisconsin State Senator
  • Debbie Lesko, U.S. Representative from Arizona
  • Frank J. Lingelbach, Wisconsin State Representative
  • Rick Majerus, NCAA and NBA basketball coach
  • Anthony Martin, escape artist
  • Jackie Mason, comedian and actor
  • Pat Matzdorf, high jump world record holder
  • Don McNeill, radio host of "The Breakfast Club"
  • Doxie Moore, former NBA head coach for the Sheboygan Red Skins
  • Charles E. Morris, Wisconsin State Representative
  • Martha Nause, golfer
  • Otto C. Neumeister, Wisconsin State Representative
  • Fred E. Nuernberg, Wisconsin State Representative
  • William J. Nuss, Wisconsin State Representative
  • Carl Otte, Wisconsin legislator
  • Dennis T. Phalen, Wisconsin state senator
  • Roy Pirrung, marathon runner and motivational speaker
  • Calvin Potter, Wisconsin state senator
  • Valentine P. Rath, Wisconsin State Representative
  • Henry Otto Reinnoldt, Wisconsin State Representative
  • Wilbur M. Root, Wisconsin State Representative
  • George Sauer, Jr., NFL player
  • John Schneider, Jr., Wisconsin State Representative
  • Bill Schroeder, football player (wide receiver)
  • Bill Schroeder, professional football player (halfback)
  • Carl Schuette, NFL player
  • David N. Senty, U.S. Air Force Major General
  • James McMillan Shafter, jurist and legislator
  • E. E. Smith, science fiction author
  • Horatio N. Smith, Wisconsin state senator
  • Ernest A. Sonnemann, Wisconsin State Representative
  • Adolphus Frederic St. Sure, judge
  • David Taylor, judge
  • Joseph M. Theisen, Wisconsin State Representative
  • Michelle Tuzee, ABC news anchor, Los Angeles
  • William Te Winkle, Wisconsin state senator
  • Edward Voigt, U.S. Representative
  • Jacob Vollrath, industrialist
  • Joseph Wedig, Wisconsin State Representative
  • Gustavis A. Willard, Wisconsin State Representative
  • George W. Wolff, Wisconsin State Representative and senator
  • Helen Sumner Woodbury Economist, academic, historian and public official.
  • Carl Zillier, Wisconsin State Representative

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