Main Births etc
City of Baraboo
—  City  —
Location of Baraboo in Wisconsin
Coordinates: 43°28′5″N 89°44′30″W / 43.46806, -89.74167Coordinates: 43°28′5″N 89°44′30″W / 43.46806, -89.74167
Country United States
State Wisconsin
County Sauk
Incorporated 1882
 • Type Mayor – Council
 • Mayor Mike Palm
 • Total 7.47 sq mi (19.35 km2)
 • Land 7.39 sq mi (19.14 km2)
 • Water 0.080 sq mi (0.21 km2)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 12,048
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 12,046
 • Density 1,630.3/sq mi (629.5/km2)
Time zone Central (UTC−6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−5)
Area code(s) 608
GNIS feature ID 1582749[4]

Baraboo (Hoocąk: Hoguc eja [5]) is a city in and the county seat of Sauk County, Wisconsin, United States.[6] The largest city in the county, Baraboo is the principal city of the Baraboo Micropolitan Statistical Area. Its 2010 population was 12,048. It is situated on the Baraboo River.

Baraboo is home to the Circus World Museum, the former headquarters and winter home of the Ringling Brothers circus. The Al. Ringling Theatre is an active landmark in the city.

Baraboo is also the site of the International Crane Foundation. Aldo Leopold's Shack and Farm is near Baraboo.


The area around Baraboo was first settled by Abe Wood in 1838, and was originally known as the village of Adams.[7] In 1846 it became the county seat of Sauk County after a fierce fight with the nearby village of Reedsburg.[8] In 1852, the village was renamed "Baraboo", after the nearby river. It was incorporated as a city in 1882.[9]

Baraboo was the site of several sawmills early in its history because of its location near the Baraboo and Wisconsin Rivers.

The city was the home of the Ringling Brothers. In the 19th century, it was the headquarters of their circus and several others, leading to the nickname "Circus City".[9] Today Circus World Museum is located in Baraboo. A living history museum, it has a collection of circus wagons and other circus artifacts. It also has the largest library of circus information in the United States.[10] The museum previously hosted the Great Circus Parade, which carried circus wagons and performers through the streets of Baraboo, across the state by train, and then through downtown Milwaukee.

The Al. Ringling Theatre is a grand scale movie palace in downtown Baraboo, made possible through the financial assistance of the Ringling family. The Al Ringling home still exists.

Located near Baraboo is the Badger Army Ammunition Plant, which was the largest munitions factory in the world during WWII, when it was known as "Badger Ordnance Works".[11] The plant is no longer in use.

Cirrus Aircraft is the maker of the world's best-selling single-engine aircraft, the SR22, and was the first manufacturer to install a whole-plane parachute recovery system as a standard on all their aircraft—designed to lower the airplane safely to the ground after a loss of control or structural failure. The company was founded in a rural Baraboo barn in 1984 by brothers Alan and Dale Klapmeier to produce the VK-30 kit aircraft.[12][13] After a few years of designing, they relocated to the Baraboo-Wisconsin Dells Airport and began flight testing, before ultimately moving the company in 1994 to its present-day home in Duluth, MN where they now employ over 700 people.[14]



Baraboo welcome sign on WIS 33.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.47 square miles (19.35 km2), of which, 7.39 square miles (19.14 km2) is land and 0.08 square miles (0.21 km2) is water.[1]

Baraboo gives its name to the Baraboo Syncline, a doubly plunging, asymmetric syncline in Proterozoic-aged Baraboo quartzite. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin, particularly Charles R. Van Hise, used the syncline to demonstrate that small-scale deformational structures in isolated outcrops reflect larger regional structures and that sedimentary structures could indicate the original top-facing direction within elaborately deformed strata. These two principles sparked a global revolution in structural geology during the 1920s.[15]

The nearby Baraboo Hills are designated one of the "Last Great Places" by the Nature Conservancy because of their rare rocks, plants and animals. The hills were created by glacial action, and in some points poke up from the flat terrain to form a stark contrast. Some of these features were created when a glacial pocket was formed during the Wisconsonian glaciation where the advance of the glacier halted. Devil's Lake State Park, Wisconsin's largest state park, contains large areas of the Baraboo Hills. Pewits Nest is located outside Baraboo.


Baraboo forms the core of the United States Census Bureau's Baraboo Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Sauk County (2000 population: 55,225). The Baraboo µSA is just northwest of the Madison metropolitan area, with which it forms the Census Bureau's Baraboo-Madison Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area.

2010 censusEdit

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 12,048 people, 5,161 households, and 3,016 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,630.3 inhabitants per square mile (629.5 /km2). There were 5,619 housing units at an average density of 760.4 per square mile (293.6 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.0% White, 1.3% African American, 1.0% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.5% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.7% of the population.

There were 5,161 households of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.1% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.6% were non-families. 34.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.89.

The median age in the city was 38 years. 23.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.5% were from 25 to 44; 25.1% were from 45 to 64; and 15.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.1% male and 50.9% female.

2000 census Edit

As of the census of 2000,[6] there were 10,711 people, 4,467 households, and 2,733 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,030.2 people per square mile (783.2/km²). There were 4,718 housing units at an average density of 894.3 per square mile (345.0 persons/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.12% White, 0.51% African American, 0.77% Native American, 0.52% Asian, 0.00% Pacific Islander, 0.41% from other races, and 0.66% from two or more races. 1.57% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 4,467 households out of which 31.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.9% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.8% were non-families. 32.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.9% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 15.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 93.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $38,375, and the median income for a family was $48,149. Males had a median income of $32,775 versus $22,813 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,304. 6.6% of the population and 4.7% of families were below the poverty line, including 6.7% of those under the age of 18 and 10.0% of those age 65 or older.


The School District of Baraboo has four elementary schools serving students in grades 1 through 5, one kindergarten center, one middle school and one high school. There are also three parochial schools: St. Joseph's Catholic School, which serves pre-K through fifth grade; St. John's Lutheran School, serving pre-K through eighth grade; and Community Christian School, serving 4K through high school.[16]

A campus of the University of Wisconsin–Baraboo/Sauk County (known to local residents as "Boo-U") is located in Baraboo. It is one of the University of Wisconsin Colleges.


The International Crane Foundation is based in Baraboo. Dedicated to the study and conservation of the world's 15 species of crane, the organization engages in conservation research, public education, and international conservation efforts.[17]

Historic sitesEdit

Notable peopleEdit


Bradbury Robinson, who threw the first legal forward pass in professional football, grew up in Baraboo

Fictional peopleEdit

See also Edit

Notes Edit

  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  3. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "Locations". Hoocąk Waaziija Haci Language Division, A Division of The Ho-Chunk Nation. Retrieved 2014-04-06. 
  6. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ 1929 Wisconsin Blue Book, p. 629.
  8. ^ "County Government: Why Adams County?" in Adams County Historical Society,From Past to Present: Adams County. Friendship, Wisconsin: New Past Press, 1999.
  9. ^ a b "Term: Baraboo [brief history]" in Dictionary of Wisconsin History.
  10. ^ Bill Steigerwald. "Travels Without Charley: A beautiful lake and a movie palace await in Baraboo". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 17, 2010. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  11. ^ GSA - Badger Site Information
  12. ^ The Museum of Flight
  13. ^ Airport Journals
  14. ^ Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame - Exciting News From the National Aviation Hall of Fame
  15. ^ Dott, Jr., R.H. (August 2001). "Wisconsin roots of the modern revolution in structural geology" 113: 996–1009. DOI:<0996:WROTMR 10.1130/0016-7606(2001)113<0996:WROTMR. Retrieved on 2013-08-01. 
  16. ^ "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". Retrieved 9 August 2014. 
  17. ^ "ICF: Departments". International Crane Foundation. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  18. ^ 'The History of Sauk County,' Western Historical Company: 1880, Biographical Sketch of David Vittum, pg. 487

External linksEdit

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