Waukesha County

About Waukesha County

Thank you for visiting Waukesha County's website! Our county, the state's 3rd largest, is located in southeastern Wisconsin. It includes 37 municipalities within 576 square miles of suburban and rural areas. From beautiful park space and pristine lakes to exceptional roadways and renowned public safety infrastructure, Waukesha County government is a critical component to ensuring and maintaining the high quality of life that our residents expect and visitors enjoy.
- Paul Farrow, County Executive
Situated in beautiful southeast Wisconsin, Waukesha County offers something for everyone. Whether you are looking for a new place to live, a new job, or great recreation, Waukesha County is the place for you.
Waukesha County is conveniently located 15 miles west of the city of Milwaukee, 60 miles east of the city of Madison, and 100 miles north-west of Chicago. Its location and proximity to I-94 and I-43 provide quick access to the outlying areas, business and retail opportunities, and numerous recreational opportunities.

The 2010 US Census identified 389,891 residents in Waukesha County. One of Wisconsin's fastest growing counties, the population of Waukesha County increased by nearly 30,000 residents in the last decade.

Waukesha County experiences a broad range of highs and lows in temperature and precipitation during the course of a year. Average daily high temperature range from a low of 24.3 degrees in January to a high of 82.6 degrees in July. The yearly average for precipitation is 30.9 inches. Average snowfall is 38.1 inches.

There are over 12,000 employers in Waukesha County employing more than 218,000 workers. Manufacturing (26%), services (25%), and retail trade (16%) represents the largest employment sectors in Waukesha County. Economic growth and associated employment opportunities continue to be strong. To be sure, Waukesha County consistently registers one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state.

Recreation opportunities abound in Waukesha County. They include:

  • 77 lakes offering fishing, swimming, and boating
  • 21,000 acres of public parks (state, county, and municipal)
  • 129 miles of hiking and biking trailsover 70 miles of cross country ski trails nearly 200 miles of snowmobile trails.
  • 10 campgrounds
  • 20 challenging public golf courses

For more information about Waukesha County, explore our website or contact us. Come experience Waukesha County!

Waukesha County Climate

Waukesha County is ablaze with color in autumn. You will enjoy a moderate climate with temperatures reaching the 70s throughout September and October, but by the end of November, you’ll feel winter’s chill with 30° days and the first frost. Precipitation averages a little over 8 inches for the season, but it is not unheard of for the little ones to Trick or Treat in the snow.

Winter in Waukesha County is moderate. There have been years where it snows 40-50 inches for the season, and other years as little as 4-1/2 inches. The record for December, January and February is an unbelievable 90 inches. Keep that shovel handy! Despite this, on average, only one Christmas out of every three is a white one. The coldest recorded day was –26° F. Brrr! Fortunately, the average temperature is in the 30s.

Spring is always a favorite time in Waukesha County, bringing warmer temperatures that range from 40° to 70°. Temperature and precipitation are the most variable during this season, which leads to a lot of instability in the weather. Precipitation of 8 to 9 inches is normal, and thunderstorms are very common. The best advice is to keep your winter boots, umbrella and sunscreen handy during Spring.

Summer in Waukesha County is usually sunny and warm. Daytime temperatures are in the 80s, but the evenings usually cool down to the 60s and 70s. Although precipitation averages 10 inches, some years bring near-drought conditions, as in 1988 when we had only a few inches of rain. But, the area still had plenty of its traditional beer to deal with the drought. The summer weather is definitely a most pleasant experience here.

Generally, Waukesha County is a great place to be any time of year!

Waukesha County History

The Waukesha County Historical Society & Museum is an educational not-for-profit organization established to preserve, promote and interpret the history of Waukesha County. The historical information below was provided by the agency for use on the Waukesha County Website. For information about the Waukesha County Historical Society & Museum or to locate historical information about the region, please contact:

Waukesha County Historical Society & Museum
101 W. Main Street
Waukesha, WI 53186
Phone: (262) 521-2859
Fax: (262) 521-2865
E-mail: [email protected]

General Historical Information:
A drive through Waukesha County uncovers evidence of the great glaciers that once covered the area. Lush rolling hills, abundant lakes and limestone quarries are just some of the natural wonders. Many of Waukesha County's parks feature the lakes and hills created by the glacier.

Waukesha County was home to prehistoric Indians, including the Effigy Mound Builders and Potawatomi people, and was prized by fur traders in the 1700's. When settlers from the east arrived in the mid-1800's, they found four to six foot earthen mounds in the shape of birds and turtles, along with conical and linear mounds. Three conical mounds are visible today in front of the City of Waukesha Library. Increase Lapham, considered founder of the U.S. Weather Bureau, surveyed the mounds. The highest point in Waukesha County is named for him.

As far back as the 1700's, the native people told fur traders about the area's mineral springs. In 1868 Col. Richard Dunbar promoted what he believed were healing properties of Waukesha's water, which launched Waukesha County's “Springs Era”. Through 1910, people traveled cross-country to drink the water. Accounts tell us that up to 25 passenger trains arrived daily. Elaborate “springhouses” were built above the natural springs. Today's visitors can see the last of the original springhouses on the Moor Downs Golf Course, Frame Park and Springs Park.

In the late 1800's, many cities experienced devastating fires that destroyed early wood frame buildings. Waukesha County's quarries provided the stone for rebuilding, and railroads transported the stone to Chicago and other cities with fire damage.

Some of the famous people that called Waukesha County home include Les Paul, the inventor of the electric guitar, and 1930's Broadway stars Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne.

Once dubbed “Cow County USA”, Waukesha County has developed a diverse industrial base. Some of the world's leading manufacturers and businesses have corporate facilities located in the area.


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