Lafayette County, Wisconsin is a wonderful place to visit year round. Driving along the miles of country roads through the rolling hills of Lafayette County, you will soon discover the bounty and rich history our southwestern Wisconsin county has to offer. Early 20th century architecture is carefully preserved in our cities and villages that were born of lead mining settlements in the 1800's. Blessed with the fertile soil of our region, farming continues as the primary enterprise of Lafayette County. We have welcomed industries that have found growth and prosperity which can be attributed to our ability to accommodate new business, and a strong work ethic.
One of the most interesting historic sites in Lafayette County is the Lafayette County Courthouse. The Lafayette County Courthouse was built between 1905 and 1907 at a total cost of $136,556.17. When Mr. Matt Murphy from Benton, Wisconsin, died in 1903, he bequested that 70% of his estate be used toward the construction of a County Courthouse. Today, Lafayette County has the distinction of having the only Courthouse still in use in the United States that was paid solely by one man. Lafayette County is also the home of Wisconsin's first State Capitol located just outside Belmont, Wisconsin. This Capitol and Supreme Court building were in use only once during the 1836 session before the Capitol moved to Madison.
INFORMATION ABOUT LAFAYETTE COUNTY
Situated in the Southwestern part of Wisconsin, Lafayette County lies within the unglaciated area of the state in the driftless region bordering the State of Illinois. With an area of 643 square miles or 411,520 acres, it has a population of 16,263 according to the 2002 final estimate.
The first settlements perfected by permanent occupation in Lafayette County were made during the year 1824 and were due to the existence of the lead mines, which led to early development and stability of the County. Lafayette County was formed in 1847 when the Legislature divided Iowa County into two separate counties. The Southern portion became Lafayette County, named after Marquis de Lafayette, hero of the Revolutionary War. Today, Lafayette County is one of the leading agricultural counties in the state, with 1,400 farms averaging 285 acres in size. Agriculture is the leading enterprise of the County.
The County is rapidly developing into a recreational area. Man-made lakes provide excellent fishing, boating, and swimming. Well developed campsites offer complete facilities for vacations. We welcome Snowmobilers, horseback riders, and ATVs along our Cheese Country Trail and other club trails.
We welcome you to our site. Please explore our county government departments and follow the various links for more information.