Stoughton is a city of a little more than 10,000 people that lies about 20 miles from the Wisconsin capital of Madison. Located in Dane County along the Yahara River, the city is considered part of the Madison Metropolitan Area and is known for its Norwegian culture and its long-standing ties to Norway.
History of the City
While the city is known for its connection to Norway and Norwegians, it was actually founded by an Englishman named Luke Stoughton in 1847. In the later part of the 19th century, like in nearby Mount Horeb, Norwegian immigrants settled there. At one time, it was also one of the most important manufacturing centers in Wisconsin. The coffee break is said to have originated there when women working at various tobacco factories did so only on the condition that they would get coffee breaks in the morning and in the afternoon.
There are a little more than 5,000 households in the city, including about 3,300 families. About 33% of households have children under the ages of 18. The average family size is 3, and the median age of the population is a slightly more than 39. Nearly 53% of the city are women.
The main transportation hub in the city is U.S. Highway 51. This road further connects with I-39 and I-90 about a half-dozen miles outside of town. There is also small airport a few miles away called Matson Field.
The largest employer in the city is Stoughton Trailers, which manufactures semi-trailers in a nearly 700,000-square-foot facility. It is one of the biggest truck trailer manufacturers in the country, and it is also the only company in the United States that continues to manufacture 53-foot freight containers used for shipping food products overseas.
Other major employers in the city include Uniroyal Engineered Products, which manufactures Naugahyde, and North American Fur Auctions. The city also operates its own utility that provides water, electricity and sewage services to the residents of the city.
Things To Do
The city hosts the Stoughton Opera House, which is located on the second floor of City Hall. This 500-seat theater annually hosts about 30 musicals, comedies and other shows.
Every year, the city hosts the Stoughton Coffee Break Festival, which celebrates the break’s origination there with a parade. They also hold the Victorian Holiday Weekend every December. This event features the following:
- A holiday ball
- A performance of the Nutcracker Ballet
- Carriage rides
- Multiple parades
Finally, every May the city holds its Syttende Mai festival, which celebrates Norwegian Constitution Day. This event includes:
- Norwegian dance performances
- An art fair
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