DeForest, Wisconsin is named after Issac De Forest because the town sits on land that he purchased along the Yahara River in the south-central part of the state in 1856. It is a small town sixteen miles north of Madison with less than 9,000 inhabitants and just seven and a half square miles of land according to the 2010 U.S. census. Although it is considered part of the wider Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area, it is an independent village. There are several denominations of churches in town, including Lutheran, Evangelical, and Catholic congregations. There is a strong Norwegian heritage in this part of Wisconsin, which is reflected in cultural aspects, place names, and building designs throughout the area.
DeForest has one high school, one middle school, four elementary schools, a half-day kindergarten, and an alternative education program. There are also a few private schools in the surrounding towns, many of which are related to churches. There are also non-religious options for private education, such as Madison County Day School. The local public library system provides a variety of services and materials to several nearby towns.
Although there is no public transit in town, DeForest is located right next to the combined routes of Interstates 39, 90, and 94 as well as U.S. Route 51. Dane County Regional Airport, which serves the city of Madison, is just 11 miles to the south. Amtrak’s Empire Builder passes through nearby Columbus, Wisconsin, 20 miles away, and offers service throughout the northern United States to large cities as close as Chicago or as far away as Seattle.
Things To Do
DeForest residents are very proud of their parks system, which consists of nine parks and seven miles of trails. Several of the parks contain playground equipment, rentable shelters, and facilities for a variety of sports. There is also a dog park and a splash pad that operates during the summer. The Yahara River provides ample opportunities for fishing and canoeing or kayaking. The Upper Yahara River Trail follows the riverbank for about three miles and is great for bird watchers, as many different species have been seen there. There are even more parks and wildlife refuges within the surrounding area. DeForest also hosts a weekly farmer’s market during the summer months and the annual Yahara Riverfest in September with live music, lots of activities, a petting zoo, and a rubber duck race.
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