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Wisconsin

Cultural Heritage: Swiss Heritage

Green County & Wisconsin's Swiss Heritage
Large numbers of Swiss immigrants came to Wisconsin in the mid-19th century, many of them settling in what is now Green County in the state's south-central region. These industrious newcomers thrived, having brought with them Old World techniques for farming, brewing, sausage making and especially cheesemaking. In fact, by the late 1870s, Green County had more than 200 cheese factories, most of them run by Swiss immigrants. Cheesemaking and brewing remain vital components of Green County's economy to this day. Cheese factories in the area include the Chalet Cheese Co-op outside of Monroe, the only limburger-producing facility remaining in the United States. Several factories offer tours or observation decks, providing visitors a firsthand view of traditional cheesemaking techniques. Visitors can also learn about beer production, with both Joseph Huber Brewing Company in Monroe and New Glarus Brewing Co. in New Glarus offering tours.

Other museums and historic sites honor Green County's heritage. The Historic Cheesemaking Center in Monroe has exhibits highlighting both cheesemaking and the Swiss immigrants who built the industry here, while the Green County Historical Museum displays antique cheesemaking artifacts. Small historical museums can be found in Albany, Browntown and Monticello, and the restored Brodhead Depot features cheese- and butter-making tools along with railroad memorabilia.

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Huber has made Old World style beer since 1845
Huber has made Old World style beer since 1845

   
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Document Information
Source: WI Dep. of Tourism; photo: Huber Brewing Co.
Last modified: 20070516
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