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history

Blanchardville had its beginnings in 1848 when a small group of Mormons, broken away from Brigham Young, settled on the banks of the Pecatonica at what they deemed to be their Zarahemla, “City of God”. The river was dammed and a grist mill was built where Blanchardville Historical Society stands today. In 1855 Alvin Blanchard, whose name the town carries, purchased the mill and laid the foundations for the community to grow. In 1888 the arrival of the Illinois Central Railroad turned the community into a thriving trade center. Agriculture, and more specifically dairy, grew and there were 30 cheese factories within five miles of the village by 1907. Even though it has caused the weathering of some floods, the Pecatonica River is still a key feature of this village found in the heart of four counties.

Nestled in a scenic valley in the corners of Dane, Green, Iowa and Lafayette counties, the Village of Blanchardville offers small-town living within commuting distance from Madison.

Along Blanchardville’s Main Street you’ll find stores offering cheese, gifts, arts & crafts, coffee, antiques, and hardware. Enjoy homestyle cooking or a beverage and a burger at one of the pub and grills.

Situated along the banks of the Pecatonica River is beautiful McKellar Park, featuring 9 full-service campsites, picnic area and shelters (3), walking trail, playground, swimming pool, batting cages, tennis & basketball courts, horseshoes, fishing platform and ball diamonds.

In cooperation with the DNR and FEMA, a wetlands area is being developed. If you are canoeing the Pecatonica, Blanchardville is an ideal launch or take out site. If ATV fun is more your style, the Lafayette Tri County ATV Trail from Fayette ends at Hwy 78 in the village.

Right next to the bridge over the Pecatonica is the Blanchardville Historical Society, a museum of artifacts detailing the history of Blanchardville and offering a self-guided tour of the historical buildings. The village was established in 1844 by a small group of Mormons lead by Samuel Horner, who named it Zarahemla. Horner built a water-powered gristmill which was bought by Alvin Blanchard in 1855. After the Mormon colony disappeared around 1857, the community became Blanchardville.

Annual events in Blanchardville include the Father’s Day Chicken BBQ, Cruis'n Wisconsin Car Show on the second Sunday in July, summer music in the park, and in fall a uniquely “Blanchardville” tradition of a whole community Homecoming celebration which welcomes back alumni from across the country. The festivities begin Friday night with a torchlight-parade and bonfire and then a fun, slightly wacky homecoming parade, followed by a football game and Alumni dinner on Saturday. The taverns are packed on both Friday and Saturday nights, with live music and dancing.

Other Attractions include:

  • Quaint Main Street

  • Beautiful Bicycling, canoeing and kayaking

  • Public Camping in town on the Pecatonica River

  • Public Playground in McKellar Park

  • Only eight miles from Yellowstone Lake

Living in Blanchardville

Blanchardville offers all the benefits of small-town life with the advantages of metropolitan life just minutes away. Located just 35 minutes from Madison’s west side, and approximately 20 miles from both Dodgeville and Monroe, you can be close enough to your work, while having the comfort of small town living. Blanchardville offers a large community swimming pool, grocery stores, taverns, restaurants, coffee shop, hardware store, convenience-gas station, bank, Wisconsin cheese & gift store, all building trades (commercial & residential), medical & professional services, hair salons, schools, churches, and many clubs and civic groups.

Blanchardville’s location also offers Dubuque, Freeport, Janesville, and Rockford within about an hour’s drive, Milwaukee or LaCrosse in two hours, and down-town Chicago in three hours, offering unlimited choices for day trips, short excursions, shopping, concerts, plays and other recreation.

You will not only find many extended generations of families living in Blanchardville, but also many people who have more recently moved to the Blanchardville area. In turn, they have encouraged other friends & family to call Blanchardville their home as well. It is an ideal community for children to grow up in, adults to flourish in, and seniors to retire in. In fact, Blanchardville has seen a recent influx of people relocating from Chicago and other metropolitan areas.

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