New Glarus

New Glarus is one of those rare towns that have preserved a distinct historical character over a long period of time. In the case of New Glarus, that continuity may well be due to the fact that the town can trace its history directly back to the “old country.” The town of New Glarus was, in fact, founded in 1845 by immigrants from the original Glarus in Switzerland. Their immigration to the United States was prompted by a severe economic crisis in their highly industrialized Swiss canton. The immigrant party sent scouts ahead to locate suitable land, and they purchased 1,200 acres of land in the Little Sugar River Valley of Wisconsin. On August 15, 1845, 108 members of the original party arrived in New Glarus. The settlers built successful agricultural and cheese-making enterprises, and as the town prospered immigrants continued to arrive from Switzerland. As a result, cultural ties with Switzerland have been preserved, and you can hear the Swiss language on the streets of the town to this day. At New Glarus restaurants, you can dine on the fine Swiss cuisine, which features Schnitzel, Geschnetzelets, Swiss meatballs, and Roesti potatoes. The New Glarus skyline displays Swiss styles of architecture. In addition to enjoying the historical atmosphere of New Glarus, the town has two museums of special interest to historical travelers: the Swiss Historical Village and the Chalet of the Golden Fleece. The Swiss Historical Village, a replica pioneer village, is a 14-building complex displaying the history, artifacts, and wares of New Glarus’ early businesses and settlers. The Hall of History at the museum documents the immigration of New Glarus’ first settlers from Switzerland. The Chalet of the Golden Fleece houses the private collection gathered from around the world by Edwin Barlow, a local resident and founder of the Wilhelm Tell drama (a play about the Swiss hero performed annually in conjunction with the town’s Alpine Festival) in New Glarus. Barlow donated his home and collection to the village of New Glarus. Both museums provide daily tours by guides who are well versed in the cultural history of New Glarus. We recommend that you plan ahead so that you can take your time and enjoy everything that New Glarus has to offer.

Historic Swiss Village







Click here for location map for New Glarus, Wisconsin

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