Waukesha County, located just to the west of Milwaukee County, offers a perfect blend of urban and rural living. On its eastern edge are the populous -and prosperous -suburbs of Brookfield, Elm Grove, New Berlin, Menomonee Falls and Muskego. This is a rapidly growing area for upscale, residential subdivisions, with five of the 10 wealthiest zip codes in the metropolitan area.
Waukesha, the county seat, is a thriving community in its own right. Located just 20 miles from downtown Milwaukee, this community of more than 69,000 people has its own daily newspaper, hospital and commercial districts. It is the home of Carroll University, Waukesha County Technical College and some district offices for the state of Wisconsin.
Northern Waukesha County is known as "Lake Country" because of the dozens of sparkling lakes that were carved out by glaciers 15,000 years ago. This has long been a summer getaway for well-heeled Chicago and Milwaukee residents, but the area’s scenic beauty has made it a popular location for year-round homes as well. Southern Waukesha County is much quieter, but equally appealing. The southern unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest in southwestern Waukesha County provides excellent hiking trails around lakes, hills and ridges characteristic of glacial topography. Because of its beautiful scenery and proximity to the city of Milwaukee, Waukesha County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the state.
Waukesha County offers plenty of recreational opportunities. Pewaukee Lake, the largest in the county, is popular for fishing and boating. The county has more than 2,000 acres of parks, 72 miles of hiking and biking trails, and several indoor and outdoor pools. Golfers will love it here because of the more than two dozen public and private golf courses in the area. Whether you are seeking suburban living or a rural homestead, Waukesha County is worth a look.
Although Waukesha is just a half-hour drive from downtown Milwaukee, it often seems like it’s a world away. Life is slightly slower here than it is in downtown Milwaukee, although Waukesha does offer many big-city amenities, including the Waukesha Choral Union, the Wisconsin Philharmonic (formerly the Waukesha Symphony Orchestra) and the Civic Theater. The city also boasts its own airport, the Waukesha County Airport (also known as Crites Field) which can accommodate small airplanes and corporate jets. It is one of the fastest-growing airports in the state in terms of landings and departures.
Waukesha is one of the area's older cities. Its streets were built on the well-worn paths of early Native American inhabitants who converged at a place called "Five Points" in the city’s center. In the late 1800s, Waukesha’s natural spring water transformed it into a resort town that attracted people from around the country, including Mrs. Abraham Lincoln and President Ulysses S. Grant. Many landmarks of that bygone era remain, including the spring house located at "Five Points." There have been several recent developments along the Fox River, including a new riverwalk and park areas that host festivals, farmers' markets and other events.
Northern Waukesha County
Menomonee Falls, located in the northeastern corner of Waukesha County, was founded in 1843 by a German immigrant who noticed a series of tumbling rapids on the Menomonee River and realized the river’s potential for power. This heritage is being celebrated with the development of a new German American Cultural Center. The village is home to eight business parks, a dozen shopping centers and Community Memorial Hospital, which is part of Froedtert Health. The state’s oldest training school for skydivers is located at Aero Park Airport. Menomonee Falls boasts more than 2,000 acres of village and county parklands, and the beautiful countryside of Washington County and Waukesha’s Lake Country are just minutes away. It is also a hotbed of single-family residential development.
The village of Lannon is probably best known for its quarries. They have provided the building material for Lannon-stone homes. Other communities in northern Waukesha County include fast-growing Lisbon and Sussex, which feature a mix of residential developments.
Brookfield is ideally situated. Located on the eastern edge of Waukesha County, it is a blend of beautiful new residences and established homesteads dating back to the early part of the 20th century. Brookfield is a large community, covering more than 27 square miles. Incorporated in 1954, it has a population of 39,600, making it one of the largest and most-populous communities in Waukesha County. It has also been one of the fastest-growing residential areas. Brookfield is home dozens of upscale subdivisions and condominium projects. It is a regional shopping and business center as well. Bishop's Woods and Brookfield Lakes Corporate Center are among the many office parks that have been carefully designed to take advantage of the community's beautiful natural surroundings.
Brookfield residents are close to major regional shopping malls - Brookfield Square, which is located on Moorland Road, just north of I-94, and Mayfair Mall, which is located at North Avenue and 108th Street in Wauwatosa. Stonewood Village, located at 17700 W. Capitol Dr., offers shoppers the opportunity to browse through a New England-style village featuring shops selling one-of-a-kind items, while Old Toll Road Village, 16460 W. Blue Mound Rd., features a turn-of-the-century setting.
The village of Elm Grove is a quaint, self-sufficient community that features some of the more beautiful homes in the Milwaukee area. Less than 4.5 miles square, the entire village has been designated a bird sanctuary, which adds to its bucolic atmosphere. The village features a quaint downtown area along Watertown Plank Road and a park that is located in the village center. Completely surrounded by the cities of Brookfield and Wauwatosa and conveniently located in the center of the metropolitan area, Elm Grove boasts one of the area's highest median home values.
New Berlin and Muskego
Although originally settled in the 1800s, most of this area was developed in the last 40 years as Milwaukee moved westward. For the most part, these are rural communities that don’t have traditional downtown districts. New Berlin boasts many beautiful homes. There is a variety of subdivisions within this expansive community, from compact, neighborhood-type developments to sprawling subdivisions that offer residents private, estate-type properties. Water lovers flock to Muskego, which offers three lakes for summer and winter enjoyment -Big Muskego Lake, Little Muskego Lake and Denoon Lake. Muskego is one of Waukesha County's fastest-growing communities. Commercial and residential expansion is expected to continue with the extension of Moorland Road. A short drive away is the small community of Wind Lake, which is located where Hwy. Y (Racine Ave.) and U.S. 36 (Loomis Rd.) converge. Its proximity to three lakes - Wind, Long and Waubasee - have made it popular for both summer and year-round homes.
Bright blue lakes and rolling hills punctuate this popular area in northwestern Waukesha County. Boating and fishing are popular here. This is an area filled with natural wonders, most of them created by glaciers thousands of years ago. Lapham’s Peak, located in the Kettle Moraine State Forest near Delafield, is the highest point in the county with an elevation of 1,233 feet above sea level. It is also one of the hottest development areas in southeastern Wisconsin, with many new upscale homes especially near Oconomowoc and Delafield.
Delafield is an antique hunter’s dream. The village has taken on a decidedly historic theme. Following the lead of the Lang Company, which is based here, several new buildings have been designed with Williamsburg-style motifs. It also is home to St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy, one of the oldest and most respected military schools in the nation.
Lake Country was once known as the "Newport of the West." Between 1870 and 1930, hundreds of Milwaukee, Chicago and St. Louis residents took the train to Oconomowoc to relax at the resorts or in one of the area’s many palatial houses. Lake Road in Oconomowoc Lake used to be known as "President’s Avenue" because so many of the country’s leaders vacationed here, including Taft, Grant, Cleveland, Coolidge, McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt.
Hartland is located in the center of Waukesha County's Lake Country. Twelve major lakes are located within five miles of the village, which features a scenic downtown is surrounded by homes dating back to the 1920s.
Pewaukee is located on the northeastern edge of Pewaukee Lake, the largest lake in the area for sailing, waterskiing, boating and swimming. It also yields more fish per acre than any other lake in the state. Local and national sailing regattas are common in the summer. During the winter, the lake is speckled with ice shanties. Given the beauty of its natural surroundings and its central location in the metropolitan region, this area is home to many new subdivisions and business parks.
Chenequa is a small, exclusive community that features exclusive homes around prestigious Pine Lake.
Southwestern Waukesha County
Southwestern Waukesha County is a rural wonderland where people enjoy nature. This region is becoming increasingly popular because of its beautiful scenery. It is home to the southern unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, which features 75 miles of trails through kames, kettles, eskers and moraines that were formed by the retreating glaciers but has easy access to Milwaukee via I-43. Old World Wisconsin is located in Eagle, a small, quaint community in the southwestern corner of the county. Inspired by the outdoor museums of Europe, this "living" museum contains the actual farmhouses, barns and shops used by some of Wisconsin’s pioneers. There are several large, upscale residential developments in the area, many of which have set aside significant acreage to protect wetlands and wildlife.
Mukwonago is the largest community in southwestern Waukesha County and is till growing rapidly. It is located on Phantom Lake and the Fox River, just southwest of the Vernon Marsh State Wildlife Area, which provides excellent deer, goose and pheasant hunting. It is also a short drive from Alpine Valley Resort, the largest ski hill in southeastern Wisconsin and a popular outdoor music venue in the summer.
Wales, located on the Ice Age Drumlin Trail, provides pleanty of country living options.