Skip to content

Jefferson History

About Jefferson

Jefferson is effectively split into three sections, with much of the town’s commercial activity clustered together along Main Street on the east bank. This district features a charming assortment of cafes, specialty shops, and other storefront businesses housed in beautiful historic buildings, forming a popular hangout for locals.

Jefferson is widely known around the region as the home of Jefferson County Fair Park, which hosts festivals, flea markets, car shows, and countless other community events in addition to the county fair itself. With a local rental market featuring a broad range of apartments, condos, and single-family homes, you’ll find terrific options available for every taste and budget.

The City of Jefferson is centrally located in Jefferson County, and is the county seat.  Located at the convergence of the Crawfish and Rock Rivers, and the intersection of two state highways (26 & 18)  Jefferson is a great place to locate your business.

On December 18, 1836, at the close of the Blackhawk War, the first settlers came to a place they later named Jefferson.  The frame of a house fashioned at Bark Mills (Hebron) was brought up the river on a scow and elevated on a piece of ground that is the present site of The Jefferson House.  In the spring of 1839, William Sanborn, one of Jefferson’s early settlers foresaw a growth pattern for Jefferson, and built a two-story frame building on Main Street to serve as a hotel.  After it burned down, a nearly identical building called the Sawyer House was built at the same location, but was razed in 1911-12 to clear the site for the present First Merit Bank.

Jefferson was incorporated from a village to a city on March 19, 1878.  At the time of its incorporation as a city, Jefferson had a population just under 3,000.  There were kerosene lamps, coal and wood stoves, barns, hitching posts, dirt streets and a horse-watering tank in the middle of Main Street.  As of 2016, Jefferson has a population of 7,900.

Early settlers to Jefferson were of English descent and came from New York and other eastern states.  Soon thereafter, immigrants came primarily from Germany and Eastern Europe.

Scroll To Top