Located in the southern section of Wisconsin, Janesville is home to roughly 63,000 people. With its elaborate and extensive park system, Janesville is commonly known as the "City of Parks." A historic city, Janesville also boasts a large number of buildings and residences listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including a house where President Abraham Lincoln once slept.
Interstate 90/39 cuts through Janesville from north to south. The interstate can take travelers to Madison, which is north of Janesville, or to Rockford, Illinois, which is where I-39 connects with I-90. Other major roadways include U.S. Highways 14 and 51.
For public transportation, the Janesville Transit System operates within the city and connects travelers with nearby Beloit. The bus routes run throughout the week, while also featuring a Beloit-Janesville Express that caters to commuter traffic.
Roughly three miles southwest of Janesville is Southwest Wisconsin Regional Airport. This public airport was formerly known as Rock County Airport. The airport doesn't offer commercial flights, however; all the flights are either charter-based or on private aircraft.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
The dominant industries in Janesville are the educational and health care industries, with the Mercy Health System and the Janesville School District serving as the primary employers.
The green industry is a major sector in Janesville. As with many Wisconsin communities, local businesses sell their landscaping services or plants, flowers, and grass.
Many businesses are based in Janesville, including:
- SSI Technologies, an automotive sensor and gauge manufacturer
- Bourns Automotive, another automotive parts manufacturer
- Lab Safety Supply, a hazardous materials equipment distributor
- Simmons Bedding Company (factory)
- Swing'n'Slide (a subsidiary of Playcore, Inc.), a playground equipment manufacturer
- Hufcor (formerly Hough Shade Company), an international manufacturer of room dividers
- Gray's Brewing, a boutique beer and soft drink provider
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
Janesville accommodates more than 25,000 homes, with approximately 95 percent occupancy. Of the occupied homes, more than 68 percent are owner-occupied.
Of all the homes in the city, nearly one-quarter of them were constructed before 1939. The most expensive neighborhood is the entire western part of Janesville in the Afton and Leyden neighborhood, while the least expensive part of the city is in the center of Janesville near Racine and Jackson streets.
Located off Interstate 90 on Highway 26 South, the Janesville Mall has several anchor stores and numerous smaller retail shops. Millions of area shoppers visit the roughly 627,000-square-foot mall annually.
Another major shopping center is Creston Park Shopping Center, which was built in 1998. Found on Deerfield Road, it has numerous stores, restaurants, and a movie theater all in its outdoor center.
- Rotary Botanical Gardens: This roughly 20-acre botanical garden, located on Palmer Drive, is dedicated to international peace and friendship. This spirit finds unique expression in a 20-foot sculpture, "Dialogue: World Peace Through Friendship" that greets visitors near the garden's entrance. There are different themes found throughout the gardens: English Cottage, Irish, and French Formal are just some of the garden motifs on display.
- Rockport Park: As the city's largest park, Rockport accounts for roughly 250 of the more than 2,000 park acres within the city limits. Hikers can take advantage of the more than six miles of hiking trails. The park, located on the western edge of the city, also contains an outdoor Olympic swimming pool with a diving well and wading pool.
- Lincoln-Tallman House: This restored house on North Jackson Street dates back to 1857, and all the furnishings inside reflect that era. The 26-room mansion is the only private home left in Wisconsin that can claim to have hosted Abraham Lincoln as an overnight guest.
- Riverside Park: This recreational park is located alongside the Rock River. It includes a boat launch, an 18-hole golf course, sand volleyball courts and approximately 143 acres of nature trails.
- Palmer Park: Adjacent to Interstate 90/39, this park boasts roughly 164 acres of nature trails. Palmer Park also has a children's play area called Camden Park, a sand volleyball court, a wading pool and tennis courts.
- Lustig Park: This park, located off State Street, is known for its flying-disc golf course. Visitors play this course, which is set up like a golf course, with a flying disc instead of a golf ball and clubs. The park also features a wooden nature trail.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
- The Armory: Built in 1930, the Armory was used by the 192nd Tank Battalion during World War II. Today the Armory is home to the Drill Hall Theater, a lounge and a restaurant. Every Thursday, the Armory Theater hosts Comedy Night. During the rest of the month, professional productions are performed for audiences.
- Janesville Performing Arts Center: The site of the original Janesville High School, the center has retained many of the auditorium's 1920s-era architectural features. Seating roughly 630 spectators, the auditorium is home to the performing arts community. It is centrally located at the corner of Racine and Main streets.
- Rock Aqua Jays: This water-ski show team performs for crowds on the Rock River at Traxler Park, which is on North Main Street in downtown Janesville. The club hosts the national tournament of the National Ski Show Association at Traxler Park.
Blackhawk Technical College is a public vocational college with four campuses in Janesville. The main campus is the Central Campus, located off Highway 51 and County Road G. The college's students can choose from a wide range of associate's degrees, as well as several one- and two-year technical degrees.