Though Fitchburg may be thought of as a new city or a recently developed suburb of Madison, it has a long and rich history of its own.
In fact, the area of Fitchburg was one of the earliest areas of Wisconsin to be settled. John Stoner began farming in the area of Fitch-burg in 1837. Since Stoner worked the farm during the week and returned to Madison where he lived weekends with his family, the title of first permanent settlers goes to the Vroman brothers--William, George and Joseph. They built a residence in Fitchburg in 1839.
In 1846, the territorial legislature created a three township area called Rome, which included the areas of the Towns of Fitchburg, Oregon and Dunn. Fitchburg separated and became the Town of Greenfield in 1847. Joseph Vroman was elected the first town chairman in 1847. Greenfield's name changed to Fitchburg in 1853 due to postal confusion with Greenfield in Milwaukee County.
Fitchburg incorporated as a city on April 26, 1983.
Agriculture played a major role in Fitchburg's early development. Many of the Irish and German families that came to Fitchburg settled here because the lands were reminiscent of the farms they had left behind.
Several areas of settlement grew up in Fitchburg largely influenced by early stagecoach routes and railroad stops. In addition to a settlement at Fish Hatchery and County Highway "M", called Oak Hall, there was also Lake View, Dogtown, Syene, Swan Creek, Stoner's Prairie and Fitchburg Village. In each of these areas, remnants of the settlements may yet remain--a schoolhouse, a stone foundation, a stagecoach stop converted to a home.
The City's Landmarks Preservation Commission oversees the administration of the Historic Preservation ordinance, including the designation of local landmarks. The City has ten locally designated landmarks with five total landmarks listed on the National Register of Historic Places*.
In December 2014 the Fitchburg Landmarks Preservation Commission produced the Historic Properties of Fitchburg book and distributed it to designated historic property owners, WI State Historical Society and the Fitchburg Historical Society. A copy of the book is available for viewing at the Fitchburg Public Library or at Fitchburg City Hall. Historic property information was provided by Patricia Delker, formerly of the City of Fitchburg Planning Department. Additional information was provided by "Fitchburg: A History" by Connie Darling and Jene O'Brien and "Irish Settlers of Fitchburg, Wisconsin 1840-1860" by Thomas P. Kinney. Photographs were provided by the Fitchburg Historical Society, property owners and city files. The historic property profiles below showcase information from this book.
Spooner's 1852 Swan Creek Farm*
John Mann Farmstead*
Oscar Mayer Observatory
Oak Hall Cemetery
St. Mary's Cemetery
Wisconsin Industrial School for Girls*
Historic Preservation Ordinance
Frequently Asked Questions on Historic Preservation Ordinance
City Cultural Resources Map