Village of Wales


Click the image to learn more. Located near Wales, the Wisconsin State Tuberculosis Sanatorium opened in 1907. It closed in 1957 and reopened in 1959 as the Ethan Allen School for Boys.

The Village of Wales emerged out of a settlement of WELSH immigrants in western WAUKESHA COUNTY. The first Welsh immigrant, John Hughes, arrived in 1840.[1] Hughes and the Welshmen who followed him established farms which produced wheat, a vital cash crop that was sold and processed in Milwaukee. As intensive cultivation of wheat quickly exhausted the area’s soil, farmers increasingly dedicated their land to dairying.[2]

The construction of the CHICAGO AND NORTH WESTERN RAILROAD and the accompanying train station in 1882 spurred the development of a small commercial district. Residents built several homes, a general store, a grain elevator, a post office, and a lumberyard in the vicinity of the train station.[3] This area emerged as the center of life for the farmers in the so-called Welsh Hills by the end of WWI.[4] The Village of Wales was incorporated in 1922 to coordinate services for the developing community.[5] In 1930 the village population was approximately 132; by the end of WWII the population was 237.[6]

In the post-war period, dairy farms increasingly gave way to residential subdivisions. The village quickly transformed into a bedroom community for workers in the Milwaukee metropolitan area.[7] The construction of Interstate Highway 94 just north of the village drastically reduced commute times, while federal tax subsidies for mortgages made it easier for families to purchase new homes.[8] The Village of Wales experienced its greatest growth between 1970 and 1980, growing from 691 residents to 1,992, an increase of more than 188%.[9] After the 1990s population growth slowed significantly, but by 2010 the village had a population of 2,549.

Footnotes [+]

  1. ^ Patrick Byrne and Theodore Mesmer, The Welsh Hills of Waukesha County: A Photographic Study of Stewardship (Wales, WI: Celtic Ink, 1997), 1.
  2. ^ Byrne and Mesmer, The Welsh Hills of Waukesha County, 1.
  3. ^ Byrne and Mesmer, The Welsh Hills of Waukesha County, 3.
  4. ^ Byrne and Mesmer, The Welsh Hills of Waukesha County, 38.
  5. ^ Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, A Master Plan for the Village of Wales: 2020 Waukesha County, Wisconsin (Waukesha, WI: Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, 2004), 3.
  6. ^ Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, A Master Plan for the Village of Wales, 11.
  7. ^ Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, A Master Plan for the Village of Wales, 4.
  8. ^ Byrne and Mesmer, The Welsh Hills of Waukesha County, 80.
  9. ^ Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, A Master Plan for the Village of Wales, 11.

For Further Reading

Byrne, Patrick, and Theodore Mesmer. The Welsh Hills of Waukesha County: A Photographic Study of Stewardship. Wales, WI: Celtic Ink, 1997.

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