the Janesville Room




Local History Database Record Detail

Folder Janesville History
Headline/Keyword Originally, the town was known as Black Hawk. However, when Janes petitioned for a post office, he was told that there was already a town named Black Hawk in the Territory. The name "Janesville" was chosen by a federal officer who perhaps felt that a man as enterprising as Henry Janes deserved to have a town named after him. As a result, Janes got his post office (which consisted of a cigar box nailed to a log) and the town got its name. By 1839, Janes had resumed his westward wanderings. The town went on growing, but it wasn't until 1853, when the population had reached 4,800, that the first election was held. Only 600 voters turned out, but, as the Janesville Gazette later reported, there would have been more if the largest hotel in town hadn't caught fire that day. Most of the populace was too busy fire-fighting to remember it was election day.
Date WISCONSIN TALES & TRAILS, Autumn, 1965, p.14

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