From the time of its early settlement, residents have been committed to excellence in commerce, education, recreation, and culture. For more than 150 years, the city known as Janesville has been progressive in its outlook and growth, and responsive to the needs of residents and businesses.
Brothers Joshua and William Holmes, Jr., John Inman and George Follmer were the first permanent settlers in Janesville in 1835. Soon after, Henry F. Janes settled on the east side of the river, platted his settlement and applied for a post office. In 1836, the postmaster general assigned the name "Janesville," to the post office. Thus began Janesville's proud history.
Residents, from the earliest point of our city's history, have been employed in manufacturing, retail and agricultural commerce. Businesses, both small and large, provide a diversified economic base. A strong work ethic and well trained labor force contribute to Janesville's robust economy.
The natural beauty that first attracted settlers has been preserved and nurtured through the years. With nearly 2,000 acres of parks, Janesville is known as "Wisconsin's Park Place." The Rock River, many nearby lakes, parks, and recreational facilities offer a myriad of recreational opportunities throughout the year to residents and visitors.
There is a great interest in and dedication to the preservation of the historic character of homes and buildings in Janesville, and approximately 20% of Wisconsin's buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places are located here. A commitment to excellence in culture includes lectures, exhibits, musical and theatrical performances.
Janesville's city government has provided leadership and guidance in managing the city's growth, while preserving its character. Forward Janesville, a private, membership-driven economic development organization, is instrumental in encouraging the growth of existing businesses and attracting new industries to serve those businesses. Forward Janesville and its members take an active role in local government and the educational system. Janesville has a proud tradition of excellence which ensures a high quality of life for those who live and work here.
For more information on the history of Janesville, contact the Hedberg Public Library or the Rock County Historical Society at (608) 756-4509.