The first settler in the area was Colonel Samuel Phoenix, who arrived in 1836. It was Colonel Phoenix who named the town after discovering a rack of elk antlers in a tree and aptly naming the area “Elk Horn.” The town did not flourish until the Bradley brothers, Daniel and Milo, established a community in the 1840s. It was in 1846 that the town was named the county seat of Walworth County, a position it has held ever since.
The Elkhorn Area School District operates six schools in the area, which serves grades K-12. The district consists of three elementary schools, one middle school, one high school, and an alternative high school. Elkhorn was once a stop on the famous Milwaukee Road, but service was discontinued after the company’s bankruptcy in 1980. Presently, Bardwell, just to the west of Elkhorn, is the nearest commuter rail station. Interstate access is available via Interstate 43, providing easy transportation throughout the Midwest.
In 1851, Elkhorn was given the honor of hosting the Walworth County Fair. This is a responsibility that Elkhorn has held ever since, for over 160 years. The fair is now held at the Walworth County Fairgrounds, and is the largest county fair in the state. Geneva Lake, covering over 800 acres, is located in nearby Lake Geneva, and is one of the most popular lakes in southeastern Wisconsin. For nearly a century, Elkhorn has been known as the “Christmas Card Town,” due to the elaborate Christmas decorations placed in the city center every holiday season. It is marked by a celebration which draws residents from across the county, and features local artists who create watercolors for Christmas cards.
100 W Walworth St., Elkhorn, WI
102 E Walworth St., Elkhorn, WI 53121
Matheson Memorial Library
101 N Wisconsin St., Elkhorn, WI 53121
Walworth County Today
Aurora Lakeland Medical Center
W3985 County Rd. NN, Elkhorn, WI 53121
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