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Benton is a small, friendly community nestled in the beautiful, serene southwestern corner of the County, near the banks of the Fever River. Steeped in rich traditions and culture of the early lead miners, Benton owes its very existence to the mining industry. It lies in the heart of the mining region that at one time produced over 90% of the nation’s lead ore. Benton was originally known as Cottonwood Hill, named for the large number of cottonwood trees that grew there. In 1845 the name was changed to “Benton” in honor of Thomas Hart Benton, Senator of Missouri and longtime friend of Benton’s first permanent settler, Andrew Murphy.

The history of Benton is notably entwined with that of Father Samuel Mazzuchelli, the highly respected pioneer priest who established 40 parishes and built 25 churches in the area, including Benton’s St. Patrick Catholic Church and New Diggings’ St. Augustine. Father Mazzuchelli, who served St. Patrick for the last 15 years of his life, died in 1864 and is buried in St. Patrick Catholic Church CemeteryIn 1993, Pope John Paul II declared Father Mazzuchelli venerable, the first step to possible canonization as a saint. The Mazzuchelli Gravesite and the Mazzuchelli Rectory Museum stand on the church grounds. Click here for more information on Father Mazzuchelli.

In addition to the Mazzucchelli Rectory Museum, Benton is home to Swindler’s Ridge Museum on Main Street and the 1851 Schoolhouse Museum, located in the Village Park. Benton’s historical limestone water tower — one of only two in the state of Wisconsin — is on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the town’s architectural history.

Rural Benton, New Diggings, and Hazel Green are part of the state’s Rustic Road system that takes travelers through some of the scenic, serene countryside of Wisconsin. Motorcyclists have long enjoyed the peaceful ride of a “road less traveled” and have included this part of Wisconsin’s Rustic Roads on their cycling adventures.

The Benton Community Development Corporation is very active in community development projects in the Village, including helping to develop and manage the Benton Business Incubator, a building and support system that helps nurture start-up companies and entrepreneurs through their first critical years of business. The business incubator offers small- and medium-sized start-up businesses office and manufacturing space at low, affordable monthly rates while providing them with a variety of business-assistance services and resources that are beneficial to successful growth. Additional information on the incubator and on Benton is available by calling the Village Office at (608) 759-3721 or by visiting Benton’s website at www.bentonwi.us.

For a map of Benton, visit our Community Maps section.

© 2010 Lafayette Development Corporation