Beloit, Wisconsin

Beloit is a city in Rock County, Wisconsin, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 36,966 people.[4][5]

City of Beloit, Wisconsin
Downtown Beloit

Gateway To Wisconsin
Location of Beloit in Rock County, Wisconsin
Coordinates: 42°30′30″N 89°01′54″W
Country United States
State Wisconsin
IncorporatedFebruary 24, 1846 (village)
March 31, 1856 (city)
  City17.64 sq mi (45.69 km2)
  Land17.32 sq mi (44.84 km2)
  Water0.33 sq mi (0.84 km2)
751 ft (228.9 m)
  Density2,123.77/sq mi (820.01/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
  Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
Area code(s)608
FIPS code55-06500


Twelve men in Colebrook, New Hampshire created the "New England Emigrating Company" in October 1836 and sent Dr. Horace White to find a suitable region of Wisconsin in which to settle. The level fields and the water power of Turtle Creek and the "unlimited gravel" in the area around what is now Beloit fixed the site of the intended village and farms. White purchased the land. At the same time as the Colebrook settlers, six families from Bedford, New Hampshire arrived and settled in the region. They said that the Rock River Valley had a "New England look", which made them feel at home. The village was platted in 1838 and was planned with wide streets which built on the New England model.

Beloit was originally named New Albany (after Albany, Vermont) in 1837 by its founder, Caleb Blodgett. The name was changed to Beloit in 1838.[6][7] The name Beloit was coined to be reminiscent of Detroit.[6]

Beloit lays claim to such inventions as the speedometer,[8] Korn Kurls,[9] and John Francis Appleby's twine binder.[10] Korn Kurls, which resemble Cheetos, was the original puffed cheese snack.[11][12]

Historic buildings

Beloit's 1889 Water Tower Place began demolition in 1935, which was halted because of the cost. A historic pump station is located nearby.

The Fairbanks Flats were built in 1917 to house the rush of African Americans moving to the area from the Southern United States.

Pearsons Hall of Science was designed by the architectural firm Burnham and Root for Beloit College to use as a science center.

The Lathrop-Munn Cobblestone House was originally built for politician John Hackett.

Downtown Beloit and the riverfront

Downtown Beloit is the historic economic, cultural and social center of the community. Located north of the confluence of the Rock River and Turtle Creek, the downtown is anchored by a core of historic buildings and the Ironworks office and industrial campus. Beloit's riverfront park system, mainly Riverside Park, extends north of the downtown along the east bank toward the Town of Beloit.

Downtown Beloit is one of two inaugural members of the Wisconsin Main Street designation.[13]

Railroad heritage

Beloit was served by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, better known as the Milwaukee Road, and the Chicago & North Western Railroad (C&NW). In its 1980 bankruptcy, the Milwaukee Road disposed of the Southwestern Line. The Union Pacific Railroad, which took over the C&NW, operates in Beloit today over a remnant of the former Milwaukee Road, providing a rail connection to Fairbanks-Morse Engine manufacturing facility. The Canadian Pacific Railway operates other trackage in Beloit.[14] The city also had an electric interurban railroad.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 17.70 square miles (45.84 km2), of which 17.37 square miles (44.99 km2) is land and 0.33 square miles (0.85 km2) is water.[15] Location: 42°30′30″N 89°01′54″W.

The city is adjacent to the Town of Beloit, Town of Turtle, and the Illinois municipality of South Beloit.

Most of Beloit's development is occurring on the east side, adjacent to Interstates 39/90 and Interstate 43, where the city annexed rural land for the extensive Beloit Gateway Industrial Park, as well as in the newly revitalized downtown located along the Rock River.


Historical population
Est. 201837,018[3]0.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[16]

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 36,966 people, 13,781 households, and 8,867 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,128.2 inhabitants per square mile (821.7/km2). There were 15,177 housing units at an average density of 873.7 per square mile (337.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 68.9% White, 15.1% African American, 0.4% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 10.0% from other races, and 4.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.1% of the population.

There were 13,781 households of which 36.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.6% were married couples living together, 18.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 35.7% were non-families. 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.16.

The median age in the city was 33.1 years. 27.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 12.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.7% were from 25 to 44; 23.1% were from 45 to 64; 12% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.9% male and 52.1% female.


Beloit is represented by Janis Ringhand and Stephen Nass in the Wisconsin State Senate, Amy Loudenbeck and Mark Spreitzer in the Wisconsin State Assembly, Mark Pocan in the United States House of Representatives, and Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin in the United States Senate.

Beloit has a council-manager system of government, with seven council members, each elected for two-year terms. Four members are elected in even years and three in odd years. City council elections are held annually in April.[17] The city council establishes policies for the city and appoints a city manager to implement those policies. The current city manager, Lori S. Curtis Luther, was appointed on June 1, 2015.[18]


Industries with headquarters in Beloit include ABC Supply Company, Bio-Systems International, Broaster Company, Fairbanks-Morse Engines, Murmac Paint Manufacturing, PlayMonster, and Regal Beloit.

Downtown Beloit is a dense cluster of mostly small shops and boutiques. The area has been recognized for increased investment and renewal since the 1990s.[19] Upscale downtown condominiums and hotels were introduced post-2000 with the construction of the Hotel Hilton Apartments (2001), the Beloit Inn (now the Ironworks Hotel) (2003), Heritage View (2005), and the Phoenix Project (2013).

From the 1990s to 2011, downtown Beloit received direct public and private investment totaling more than $75 million.[19] In 2011, Beloit was a Great American Main Street Award winner.[20] In 2012, Beloit was listed #17 on Travel and Leisure's list of America's Greatest Mainstreets.[21][22]


The School District of Beloit serves more than 6800 students in six primary schools, four intermediate schools, and one high school, with alternative programming and charter schools. Beloit Memorial High School is the city's public high school. The Roy Chapman Andrews Academy, a project-based charter school, is part of the School District of Beloit and serves grades 6 through 12.

Beloit College, a private liberal arts college with undergraduate enrollment around 1,300, is located in the city. The campus has a number of prehistoric Indian mounds.

Blackhawk Technical College, a public technical school, has a campus in downtown Beloit.

Beloit is also home to Concordia University's Beloit location, Beloit Center. The center offers courses designed for working adults interested in getting their associate's, bachelor's, and graduate degrees.[23]

Beloit has a public library that is part of the Arrowhead Library System.


Beloit's main newspaper is The Beloit Daily News, a daily (published Monday through Friday) paper owned by Adams Publishing Group, LLC and serves the Wisconsin/Illinois stateline area. The Janesville Gazette from Janesville, also owned by Adams Publishing Group, LLC, additionally serves the city.

Beloit is a part of the Madison television market, but due to its proximity to the Rockford area, stations from Rockford also serve the city and report on stories and information (weather, school closings, etc.) relating to Beloit.

Radio stations serving Beloit include WBCR (90.3 FM), a variety-formatted station owned by The Board of Trustees of Beloit College, '90s hits station WBEL (1380 AM), classic country station WGEZ (1490 AM), Janesville-based stations WCLO (1230 AM) and WJVL (99.9 FM), and Fort Atkinson-based WSJY (107.3 FM).


  • Beloit Art Center
  • Beloit Civic Theatre
  • Beloit Historical Society
  • Beloit Janesville Symphony Orchestra
  • The Castle Performing Arts Center
  • Logan Museum of Anthropology
  • Turtle Creek Chamber Orchestra
  • Wright Museum of Art
  • Beloit City Hall houses a hand-painted mural portraying the history of Beloit and the present day Beloit. It was completed in 1985 by Martha N. Hayden. It is viewable during regular business hours.[24]


Beloit's main festivals include:


Beloit is home to a professional minor league baseball team, the Beloit Snappers, who play in the Midwest League and are the Class A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. The Snappers play their games at the Harry C. Pohlman Field.


The Beloit Transit System is the primary provider of mass transportation in Beloit, Wisconsin. Four regular routes provide service from Monday through Saturday. In collaboration with the Janesville Transit System, BTS operates an express route between the two cities.


  • Red East Side Cranston
  • Blue West Side
  • Yellow North End-Prairie
  • Brown Beloit-Janesville


  • Beloit is the only city in Rock County to have been named an All-America City.[25]
  • Beloit was one of Travel + Leisure's top 20 Greatest American Main Streets[26] for 2014.
  • The 2015 Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Index ranked the Janesville-Beloit metropolitan area #4 by how well they created and sustained jobs and economic growth.
  • In 2017, Beloit's main street was named one of five "Most Romantic" Main Streets for 2017 by National Main Street Center.[27]

Notable people



  1. "2017 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Mar 28, 2019.
  2. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  3. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  4. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. "American FactFinder - Results". Archived from the original on 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
  6. Callary, Edward. 2009. Place Names of Illinois. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, p. 326.
  7. "Frank Blodgett Dies at Age 82". Janesville Daily Gazette. March 21, 1949. p. 1. Retrieved August 26, 2014 via
  8. D.V.M., Ralph S. Cooper. "Arthur P. Warner". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  9. Beloit Historical Society Archived July 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  10. Appleby, John Francis 1840 - 1917 Archived February 10, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  11. "REMEMBER - This Is Beloit". This Is Beloit |. Retrieved 2017-02-01. Internet Archive: This is Beloit - Remember Retrieved May 26, 2018
  12. Atlas Obscura: Brief History of the Cheese Curl Retrieved May 26, 2018
  13. "Wisconsin Main Street map and founding years" (PDF). Wisconsin Main Street Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  14. "Beloit, WI, Operations". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  15. "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-07-02. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  16. "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  17. "City Council - Welcome to the City of Beloit". Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  18. "City Manager - Welcome to the City of Beloit". Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  19. "The 2011 Great American Main Street Award Winners". Preservation Nation. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  20. Stewart, Erica (23 May 2011). "The 2011 Great American Main Street Award Winners: Places You'll Want to Know (and Visit!)". PreservationNation Blog. Archived from the original on 2013-10-20. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  21. "America's Greatest Mainstreets 2012".
  22. Adams, Barry. "Downtown Beloit an Emerging Destination". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  23. "Beloit - Concordia University Wisconsin". Concordia University Wisconsin. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  24. Enking, Minnie (March 30, 1985). "Artist Finds Beauty in Beloit,". Beloit Daily News. p. 84.
  25. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-09-01. Retrieved 2019-10-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  26. "Beloit, WI". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  27. "Most Romantic Main Streets 2017". Archived from the original on 2017-03-24. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  28. "Legislative Spotlight". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  29. Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame, 1964 inductee

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