Green County is a rural county located in Southwest Wisconsin. It is known regionally for being the home of the New Glarus and Minhas Craft Breweries. The area was originally settled by Swiss immigrants, giving the County a distinct number of unique Swiss cultural influences.
Green County sits on the eastern edge of the Driftless Zone where the flat lands near Lake Michigan transition to a more hilly region. The western portions of the County tend to be hillier and more scenic, but culturally and economically, the County is relatively homogenous.
- 1 Albany - a rural community located in the northeast portion of the County.
- 2 Brodhead - a rural community located on the Green and Rock County border.
- 3 Juda - a rural community located a few miles east of Monroe.
- 4 Monroe - the county seat and most populous city in the County.
- 5 Monticello - a rural community situated halfway between Monroe and New Glarus.
- 6 New Glarus - home of the New Glarus Brewery, the city is a small community located in the northern portion of the county and known regionally for its unique Swiss architecture.
- Edelweiss Chalet Country Club, W4764 Edelweiss Rd, New Glarus, WI (From WI 69 in New Glarus take Elmer Road south), ☏ .
- Swiss Center of North America, 507 Durst Rd, New Glarus, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- The Sugar River State Recreational Trail: A greenbelt trail alongside the Sugar River, it travels 23 miles and connects Brodhead, Albany, Monticello and New Glarus.
In the 1840s, the Swiss Glarus Canton, faced with a shortage of supplies, officially sponsored a program to encourage emigration to the United States. Two agents were dispatched with the task of finding suitable land. After a review of land in Indiana and Illinois, the agents settled on land in Green County, which had reminded them of Switzerland. The first immigrants arrived in 1845 and were followed by more immigrants in the following years.
This original Swiss immigration and later influx contributed to many of the unique architecture and local cultural characteristics in the area. Both New Glarus and Monroe have old world architecture in their downtown areas, and many local traditions include yodeling and a Swiss game called jass.
Green County is also renown in the greater southern Wisconsin area for its annual Cheese Days celebration. The event originated in 1914 when, according to the celebration's website, "...the notion that if some little town in Illinois could have a festival commemorating sauerkraut, then [the founders thought] a celebration based on cheese would be an even better idea." The annual celebration is held each year in Monroe.
The vast majority of the County speaks English as a primary language. The Midwestern accent is by far the most common accent in the County and within southwest Wisconsin. Some families may still speak German, though they would be bilingual.
Green County is a relatively rural area and is only accessible by car or by plane into Brodhead Airport. The major routes into the County include WI 11 (from Janesville or Dubuque) or WI 69 (from Madison or Freeport). WI 69 becomes IL 26 after crossing the border.
As the County is mostly rural, car is the only major method of transportation. Major routes within the County include the following:
- WI 11: A major east-west route, WI 11 enters the County in Brodhead and connects it to Monroe. The route bypasses Monroe as open freeway and heads west toward Browntown before exiting nearby.
- WI 69: A major north-south route, the route enters in Belleville (primarily in Dane County) and heads on a southwest path toward New Glarus. From there in heads due south past Monticello and is briefly contiguous with WI 11 below entering Monroe and heading directly south and exiting into Illinois.
- WI 39: An east-west route, WI 39 originates in New Glarus and connects it to the northwestern portions of the County. WI 39 ultimately connects New Glarus to Mineral Point in Iowa County.
- WI 81: An east-west route, WI 81 is primarily a thoroughfare between Beloit and Monroe. It joins WI 11 south of Brodhead and remains contiguous with it until reaching Monroe, where it splits and heads northwest toward Argyle in Lafayette County.
Green County is exceptionally safe. Travelers are advised that the area is hilly and travel may become treacherous in the winter, especially on rural roads.