A little off the beaten path, the Jefferson County Area has many historic and picturesque “Heritage Communities,” each of which offer a chance to discover local secrets and explore chic to antique.
Somewhere between 900-1200 AD an ancient Middle Mississippian village and ceremonial complex thrived. Prior to the arrival of the settlers, Aztalan was a site colonized by the mound builder Indians. Now considered by experts to be one of the nation’s premier archaeological sites, Aztalan is a quiet town filled with history.
Abraham Lincoln was granted an honorable discharge from the US Army on July 10, 1832 in Cold Spring. Ready to begin the journey home, Lincoln discovered his horse had been stolen and was forced to walk an agonizing 250 miles. Today in Cold Spring a historical marker marks the site of Lincoln’s fateful discovery.
Since the beginning of time, Concord’s roots have been in agriculture. A farming community since its creation in 1846, Concord is the town that books are written about. Concord was home to the family of well-known children’s author Laura Ingalls Wilder. Today Concord remains as beautiful and natural as it was in Wilder’s day.
Established in 1848, much of Farmington’s known history is about Harriet Esselestein, who taught children basic school instruction in a log house one mile west of the creek. Farmington plays host to many of the county’s youth baseball games on Saturdays throughout the summer.
Hebron was born from election. The annual spring floods had created such hardship for residents that many were unable to get to the polls to vote. So the Legislature passed an act in 1946 dividing the Bark River Township into two parts, the portion north of the river became known as the Hebron.
Named in honor of founder Ortiges Bullwinkel’s love for his wife Helen, the community is home to the oldest parochial school in the state. St. Peters Evangelical Lutheran School was established in 1851 and still serves families of the area today.
Ixonia is a flourishing community with beautiful parks and country charm to live and work. Its unique name has quite a history. To settle a dispute in the naming of town 8, young Mary Piper drew letters of the alphabet until a name could be formed. As the result, “Ixonia” was the name given in 1846, and remains the only town bearing this name in the United States.
According to legend, Koshkonong, once referred to as Finch, was the home of the Fighting Finches. This gang of wild horse thieves was rumored to have stolen horses throughout the county. Ultimately the Fighting Finches were driven out of the Koshkonong area and today it remains a peaceful scenic area.
Pipersville was named after its first settler, Benjamin Piper, who was well noted for assisting his fellow neighbors in getting their crops to the Milwaukee market place in the mid 1800’s. Today Pipersville is a sleepy hamlet with that same neighbors-helping-neighbors charm.
The Bark River was the lifeline of the early settlement of Rome. It supported nearly all-early industries for growth and sustenance. In 1842, settlers Myron Smith and S.D. Tenney dammed the river creating Rome Mill Pond, the largest in the state at that time. Today, Rome is a nature lover’s paradise offering canoeing, hunting, angling and bird watching.
Stores, taverns, and many tool and trade businesses sprung up overnight as the railroad caused a building boom. Today, Sullivan has changed very little. A quaint village with all daily necessities within reach, Sullivan is a wholesome place to live, work or visit.
Tour the Countryside
Enjoy a relaxing tour of the countryside and discover many other heritage communities including Busseyville, Grelton, Hoopers Mill, Hubbleton, Kroghville, Lac La Belle, London, Milford, Oak Hill, Oakland Center, and Portland. These are all friendly communities, where the locals will gladly direct you to their favorite haunts just off the beaten path.