Caleb Blogett was a New Englander who can to Wisconsin in 1836 to the home of a French fur trader named Joseph Thibeault. Thibeault and his two Indian wives had settled the area where once a great Winnebago village had stood halfway between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River. Blogett purchased land in the area that was the equivalent to ‘three looks” and included a valley and land on the Rock River. This land would be the future settlement of Beloit Wisconsin.
Many New Englanders settled the area that Blogett had purchased. Soon they were followed by many Norwegian, Danish, German, and other northern European immigrants. The progressive spirit of the town was evident by the establishment of Beloit as a way station on the Underground Railroad. Many freed African Americans settled in Beloit even before the Civil War. The diverse nature of the population in Beloit lead the famous Margaret Meade to declare Beloit was a “microcosm of America.”
Transportation was important to the life blood of Beloit. Long before the Union Pacific and Canadian Pacific rail systems arrived in Beloit the Rock River provided transportation for settler and loggers who provided the materials for one of many of Beloit’s paper mills. Business in the city built up from the humble beginnings of the Blogett family’s grist mill that was powered by the Rock River.
Beloit like many upper Midwestern cities enjoyed a very prosperous Victorian era. Loss of manufacturing jobs in the nineties left the community struggling but it has risen to the occasion with a fully restored and well utilized water front. Beloit boasts three historic areas of Victorian homes and churches many still occupied and used by a number of middle class residents.
There are many must see places in Beloit Wisconsin. The best place to get an overall feel of historic Beloit is at the Beloit Historical Society. They have changing exhibits at the Solem Musuem focusing on local area history. Local athletes are featured at the Ted Perrings Hall of Fame.
You can learn about the history of those who served in this nation’s military in the area at the Arthur Missner Veterans Gallery. The museum is located at 845 Hackett St in Beloit Wisconsin .The exhibits are open to the public Tues- Fridays 12pm to 4 pm. Visiting hours are available on Saturdays by appointment only. You can call for information about up coming events and workshops at 608-365-7835.
A great way to give your kids a taste of what life was like for the solid Victorian middle class in the upper Midwest is to visit the Hanchett Bartlett Homestead. This site features a meticulously restored 1857 homestead and a one room school house from 1873. You can visit the homestead by appointment by calling the historical society. There is an admission charged from June to September. The homestead is located at 2149 St. Lawrence Ave.
Water Works Pump House and Water Tower Park is a scenic area that features the first municipal water works in the area. The pump house and tower date back to 1885. The fully restored pump house is home to the parks service and water front preservation office. The pump house is open to the public during regular office hours.The Water Works is located 1003 Pleasant St. in Beloit.
Beloit College is located at 700 College St. in Beloit. When visiting this historic campus you will want to view the articfacts from far off lands featured at the Logan Museum of Anthropology in the old Memorial Hall built in 1869. Many of the artifacts were obtained by Roy Chapman Anderson a explorer and graduate of the college that was the model for the well known “Indiana Jones” character. The museum on the Beloit College campus is open from 11am to 4pm Tues through Sunday. You can call 608-363-2677 for information on current exhibits.
The water front in Beloit is a day outing in itself. There are many interesting and relaxing activities in Beloit Wisconsin that highlight it’s diverse history. A visit to the website; www.visitbeloit.com can give you lots of ideas for a wonderful family outing in this lovely Wisconsin city.
http://visitbeloit.com/contactus/tabid/371/Default.aspx: comprehensive guide to visiting Beloit.
http://www.greaterbeloitchamber.com/: Local chamber site with information on businesses that you may want to use on a visit to Beloit.