McFarland, Wisconsin

McFarland is a village in Dane County, Wisconsin, United States, on the eastern shore of Lake Waubesa. The population was 7,808 at the 2010 census.[5] Its ZIP code is 53558. McFarland is part of the Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area.

McFarland, Wisconsin
Downtown McFarland with its old railroad.
Location of McFarland in Dane County, Wisconsin.
Coordinates: 43°1′7″N 89°17′28″W
Country United States
State Wisconsin
  Total4.19 sq mi (10.85 km2)
  Land4.18 sq mi (10.83 km2)
  Water0.01 sq mi (0.02 km2)
Elevation869 ft (265 m)
  Density2,019.84/sq mi (779.90/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
  Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
Area code(s)608
FIPS code55-46850[5]
GNIS feature ID1569214[2]


Several burial mounds from the Woodland period are known as the Lewis Mound Group in the village's Indian Mound Park.[6][7]

McFarland was founded in 1856 by William H. McFarland. Early industries in the village included harvesting winter ice and fish on nearby Lake Waubesa for rail shipment to markets in Chicago. Later, a small resort industry developed in an area called Edwards Park near the lake. After World War II, the village became a bedroom community for Madison. In the 1960s, Lloyd Schneider, a local lawyer, led an effort to have petroleum tank farms north of the village that were connected to the Koch pipeline. Because they became part of the village's tax base, their construction enabled the McFarland School District to fund a new high school. In 1989 a major highway project on the nearby Madison highway called the Beltline made commuting to the village much easier and enabled rapid residential growth.

On June 17, 1992, an F3 tornado destroyed several dozen homes and injured several people in Waubesa Heights, a nearby housing development in the Town of Dunn, in the McFarland School District. At $18.0 million in damage this was the third-costliest tornado in Wisconsin's history behind the Oakfield and Barneveld F5s.

The village celebrated its sesquicentennial in 2006. Among the festivities were banners on light poles, activities such as the Taste of McFarland, and live music at the Gazebo near downtown McFarland. Plaques of "Then and Now" covering McFarland's 150 years of history were placed at the McFarland High School, the local Culver's restaurant, the E.D. Locke Public Library, and other public locations.


McFarland is located at 43°1′7″N 89°17′28″W (43.018480, -89.291116).[8]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 3.55 square miles (9.19 km2), all of its land. It is bordered by Lake Waubesa to the west and Mud Lake to the south.[9]


Historical population
Est. 20188,840[4]13.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]

2010 census

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 7,808 people, 3,079 households, and 2,201 families residing in the village. The population density was 2,199.4 inhabitants per square mile (849.2/km2). There were 3,200 housing units at an average density of 901.4 per square mile (348.0/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 94.4% White, 1.2% African American, 0.4% Native American, 1.7% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.7% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.3% of the population.

There were 3,079 households of which 38.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.9% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 28.5% were non-families. Of all households, 21.9% were made up of individuals and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 2.96.

The median age in the village was 39.7 years. 26.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26% were from 25 to 44; 31.2% were from 45 to 64; and 10.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the village was 49.0% male and 51.0% female.


The McFarland School District serves the village of McFarland.[11] It operates Conrad Elvehjem Early Learning Center (K), McFarland Primary School (grades 1–2), Waubesa Intermediate School (3–5), Indian Mound Middle School (6–8) and McFarland High School, which is accredited by the AdvancED commission.


Since 1985 McFarland has held an annual fall Family Festival. The festival has carnival rides, train rides, a parade, and many competitions. The three-day festival typically takes place at McFarland Ice Arena parking lot. Several times it has been hosted in the high-school parking lot.

Notable people


  1. "2017 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Mar 28, 2019.
  2. "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  4. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  5. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  6. Birmingham, Robert A.; Leslie E. Eisenberg (2000). Indian Mounds of Wisconsin. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press. p. 198. ISBN 9780299168742.
  7. Kittner, Gena. "Plan to Restore Indian Mounds in McFarland". Capital Newspapers. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  8. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  9. "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 12, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  10. "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  11. McFarland School District
  12. Wisconsin Blue Book 1997-1998, Biographical Sketch of Doris Hanson, pg 53
  13. UW-Hall of Fame - Steve Lacy
  14. Wisconsin Blue Book 1942, Biographical Sketch of Helmar Lewis, pg. 30
  15. Wisconsin Supreme Court-Theodore Lewis
  16. Wisconsin Blue Book 1975, Biographical Sketch of Barbara Thompson, pg. 6
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