Sheboygan FAQs

Our reference librarians have compiled answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about our beloved city. Have a local history question you'd like answered, contact our reference desk, 920-459-3400, ext. 4.

(From the 1920 Sheboygan City Directory):

Many different explanations have been made regarding the origin and meaning of the name "Sheboygan.

Most authorities agree that Sheboygan is a Chippewa word but differ as to its exact meaning. Rev. E. P. Wheeler, in an article on the "Origin and meaning of Wisconsin place names," declares that "Sheboygan" is derived from Zhee-bo-i-gun, that which perforates or pierces; hence Zha-bun-i-gun, a needle.

Joshua Hataway, an authority of some note, says "Sheboygan or Cheboigan of the early maps is from the Indian name Shawb-wa-way-kum, half accent on first and full accent on the third syllable. The word or sentence, most likely Chippewa, expresses a tradition that a great noise, coming underground from the region of Lake Superior, was heard at this river. Father Chrysostom Verwyst, a Franciscan missionary among the Chippewas of Wisconsin and Minnesota, aided by Vincent Roy, a Chippewa merchant, and Antoine Gaudin and M. Gurnoe, two Chippewa scholars, agree that Sheboygan is derived from jibaigan, meaning any perforated object, as a pipe stem. Louis M. Moran, a Chippewa interpreter, asserts that the term means a hollow bone, or perforated object. This is the generally accepted meaning. Sheboygan County, Sheboygan (From "The Romance of Wisconsin Place Names," by Robert Gard, 1968). This word has an Indian origin. There are a number of words of two principal meanings from which it may have been derived. One series is said to mean any hollow object such as a pipe stem, reed, cane stalk, or hollow bone; or that with which one perforates or pierces through, hence a needle or awl. The other meaning refers to a passage away by water, or a riverdisappearing underground, or a noise underground.

One authority claims the Indian word meant "send through" and "drum," and referred to festive tribal occasions when the Indians carried their drums between Sheboygan Falls and Sheboygan and beat the cadence most properly suited to the event. There is also a tradition that a great noise coming underground from the region of Lake Superior was heard at this river. Other explanations offered are that on quiet days sound carried an unusual distance if originated at the mouth of the river, and one Indian chief said that the name referred to the sound heard if one placed an ear to the ground near the mouth of the river. The Sheboygan River was named first, and the county and the city were named after it. 

Sheboygan was incorporated as a city on March 19, 1853.

Greatest 24-hour snowfalls in Sheboygan

  • 18" - January 31, 1947
  • 16.5" - February 5-6, 2008
  • 16" - January 9-10, 1930
  • 15.5" - March 19, 1971
  • 14.5" - January 22, 2005
  • 14" - February 10-11, 1959
  • 13.5" - March 27, 1928
  • 13" - January 13, 1998
  • 13" - December 23-24, 1959
  • 12.5" - February 22, 1993

Source: The Sheboygan Press, February 7, 2008, p.1.


The New York Times has the answer in this 2002 story, "The Meat That Made Sheboygan Famous."

1 - City Hall: "This Post-Renaissance building reflects the solidarity and the dignity befitting a public building of its day. The monumental effect of the façade is created by the use of the 'colossal order' in the entrance - the Doric columns and plasters rise through two stories to the heavy cornice above. In true Post-Renaissance fashion the ground story is heavy ashlar masonry and the upper stories are smooth brick.

The building was designed by H. W. Buemming, Milwaukee, with working drawings by W. C. Weeks Associates and constructed in 1915-16 on the previous site of the old police station and barn. The open marble staircase, the wrought iron newel-posts, the leaded glass skylight of the Council Chambers, and the old oak public benches are original."

2 - Sheboygan County Court House: "Reputed to be one of Wisconsin's outstanding examples of Art-Deco, the Sheboygan County Court House was dedicated in 1934. During this era public buildings were generally awarded through a contest, and the popular appeal of a design was the basis for the selection of an architect. John Burns, a designer for K. M. Vitzthum and Co. is credited with the design of the building. Working drawings were done by W. C. Weeks, Inc.

The massive Indiana Limestone building impresses the viewer with its simplicity, dignity, and 'modern geometric' ornamentation of the day. Interior appointments exemplify the care taken to achieve design consistency.

The entrance hall is paneled in Etowah pink Georgian marble. Aluminum, a favorite "new" building material, was used extensively in the light fixtures, railings, and even the radiator grilles throughout the building.

The building was erected on the site of the previous 1868 County Court House. All four sides of the exterior were treated uniformly, reflecting the expectation that possibly the Court House would someday utilize the entire block, as it has. An annex building was added in 1956 and further expansion and remodeling occurred in 1969.

It is interesting to consider that this architectural style, considered "extremely popular" forty-odd years ago has now been categorized as period architecture and named "Art-Deco"

Source: Heritage Walk in Old Sheboygan, (197-).

Badger State Tannery - January 19, 1920

Garton Toy Company - May 31, 1929 

Pantzer Lumberyard- May 8, 1961?

K. W. Muth - March 12, 1968

Northland Plastics - May 27, 1973 

Austin Gray Iron Foundry - March 27, 1974

Sheboygan Glass Company - June 19, 1974 

Grand Executive Inn - December 17, 1975

Diamond Printing - February 23, 1976 

Playdium - February 22, 1977

Kneevers Hotel - February 12, 1978 

American Excelsior - April 16, 1980

Thonet Industries - April 19, 1982 

H. C. Prange Company - October 16, 1983

99 Hall - May 23, 1988 

Jume's Restaurant - September 26, 1990

Perkins Restaurant - April 30, 2004 

Landmark Square - March 19, 2007

Source: The information was gathered from various issues of The Sheboygan Press.


It is a descriptive word referring to German hospitality or friendliness, especially in Sheboygan and Milwaukee.

Source: The Sheboygan Press, Centennial edition, August 10, 1953.

North Pier: 3,829' South Pier: 2,340'

Source: United States Army Engineers District, Detroit, MI. May 1983.


(Reprinted with permission from the Oct. 31, 2005 Sheboygan Press

Glenbeulah: Glenbeulah Graveyard 

A graveyard filled with graves that date to the early 1800s. A man hung himself in this graveyard and is said to be found walking about after midnight. 

You also can see a glowing grave and a pair of shoes that appear on

Kohler: The American Club

Walking through the back halls of the hotel, a witness came across a gentleman standing there in a dirty flannel shirt and torn and faded corduroy pants.They thought it was odd to see man in such attire at the American Club but shrugged it off, thinking he was a guest enjoying a cigar in the lower level. Bidding him a "good evening," but he stared blankly at the floor as though he didn't just see the witness greeting him. They passed him later, then turned to look again and he was gone. The security tape, which they saw later, showed the witness wave and talk to no one. The American Club East Wing of the hotel is haunted. It is the oldest part of the hotel. A woman hung herself in room 209 long ago and often haunts that room, often standing by the fireplace in the room across from that known as the Washington room. 

Also, someone killed a woman in room 315 on the third floor long ago. A man can be seen walking down the hall coming from that direction and lights will turn on by themselves.

Kohler: Old Governor's Mansion

Witnesses have felt cold spots while walking through the old governor's mansion

Sheboygan: U.S. Bank downtown

The bank is haunted by a janitor that worked there named Duke. He worked there until the day he died. He's fond of shaking certain doors and occasionally moving things.

Sheboygan: Yacht Club

A worker there has heard stories and shrugged them off. He has had problems with lights being turned back on after turning them off. Then he started having feelings that someone was watching him. One night he finally saw a figure of a man in the basement prior to closing up.

Sheboygan: Stop sign

An Indian family used to live in a house near a stop sign. Rumors say that the husband killed his wife and children brutally. Rumors say that if you go there late at night and stop at the stop sign with high beams on, the sign will have blood dripping down it. Then you will hear the Indian guy walk toward you and sing Indian songs.

Sheboygan Falls: Eagle River

In the 1800s, a man worked on the railroad tracks. One day, he was in the back on a caboose and he fell off. He was hit by another train and decapitated; his head flew 200 feet away. To this day, he uses his old railroad light, searching for his lost head.

Elkhart Lake: Lions Park

Late at night,swings mysteriously swing and the merry-go-round spins and there is no wind. It is rumored that this is because a small kid fell off of the top of the big slide and died.

Plymouth: Yankee Hill Inn B & B

There are two old buildings that are known as the Gilbert Huson and Henry Huson houses. Three workers have reported hearing people walking around and things dropping. Workers usually refuse to work by themselves. The third floor is especially creepy and extremely cold at all times. One day three workers were waiting for laundry to get done. While the three were sitting in the basement, an old mirror that sits on the wall dropped. None of the workers were near it as it shattered into hundreds of pieces. (Sheboygan Press note: The present owner of the house said he found a broken mirror beneath a washer in the basement.)

Oostburg: Veterans Park

It is said that a drifter drowned in the creek that runs through the park. There have been reports of a man who walks the banks of the creek on certain nights, and when approached, he seems to walk into the creek and disappear. Strange noises also come from sewer pipes which are on the park's north side.


Approximately 61 miles

  1. Henry H. Conklin- April 1853 to Aug. 1853
  2. Francis R. Townsend- Aug. 1853 to April 1854
  3. Joseph F. Kirkland- April 1854 to April 1855
  4. E. Fox Cook- April 1855 to April 1857
  5. Zebulon P. Mason- April 1857 to April 1858
  6. Bille Williams- April 1860 to April 1862
  7. Godfrey Stamm- April 1862 to April 1863
  8. Joseph L. Moore- April 1863 to October 1866
  9. Jonathan O. Thayer- October 1866 to April 1868
  10. Francis Geele- April 1868 to April 1870
  11. Thomas M. Blackstock- April 1870 to April 1871
  12. William Elwell- April 1871 to April 1872
  13. Thomas M. Blackstock- April 1872 to April 1873
  14. James Bell- April 1873 to April 1874
  15. Bille Williams- April 1874 to April 1875
  16. George End- April 1875 to April 1876
  17. Francis Geele- April 1876 to April 1879
  18. George End- April 1879 to April 1880
  19. Francis Geele- April 1880 to April 1881
  20. William H. Seaman- April 1881 to April 1882
  21. Michael Winter- April 1882 to April 1884
  22. Thomas M. Blackstock- April 1884 to April 1885
  23. James Bell- April 1885 to April 1889
  24. John M. Saemann- April I 889 to April 1891
  25. James Bell- April 1891 to December 1891
  26. Frederick C. Runge- December 1891 to April 1892
  27. John Michael Kohler- April 1892 to April 1893
  28. Frank Geele- April 1893 to April 1895
  29. Charles A. Born- April 1895 to April 1901
  30. Fred A. Dennett- April 1901 to April 1903 
  31. Charles A. Born- April 1903 to April 1905
  32. Theodore Dieckmann- April 1905 to April 1915
  33. Otto B. Joerens- April 1915 to April 1917
  34. Herman F. Albrecht- April 1917 to April 1921
  35. Herman Schuelke- April 1921 to April 1925
  36. Ludwig E. Larson- April 1925 to April 1927
  37. Herman Schuelke- April 1927 to April 1931
  38. Otto Geussenhainer- April 1931 to April 1933
  39. Willard M. Sonnenburg- April 1933 to April 1939
  40. Herman C. Runge- April 1939 to April 1941
  41. Charles Bau- April 1941 to April 1943
  42. Willard M. Sonnenburg- April 1943 to March 1951
  43. Leonard F. Anhalt- March 1951 to April 1951
  44. Edward C. Schmidt- April 1951 to April I 955
  45. Rudolph J. Ploetz- April 1955 to April 1957
  46. John Bolgert-  April 1957 to April 1961
  47. Emil C. Muuss- April 1961 to April 1965
  48. Joseph R. Browne- April 1965 to April 1969
  49. Roger D. Schneider- April 1969 to April 1973 
  50. Richard Suscha- April 1973 to April 1985
  51. Richard Schneider- April 1985 to April 1997
  52. James Schramm- April 1997 to April 2005
  53. Juan Perez- April 2005 to April 2009
  54. Bob Ryan- April 2009 to March 2012
  55. Terry Van Akkeren- March 2012 to April 2013
  56. Mike Vandersteen- April 2013 to April 2021
  57. Ryan Sorenson- April 2021- 

When first planned, North High was to be a second junior high school. But in a public referendum in the spring of 1938 the voters decided to make North a second four-year high school. The building was completed in 1938 and the first classes were enrolled in September of that year.


The Sheboygan Press, August 10, 1953.


The present North High building opened in the fall of 1961.






















City of Sheboygan




















Sheboygan County




















Question: I've heard several macabre and unbelievable stories about crimes committed in a house called Rancho de las Floras located on Greendale Road in Sheboygan. Specifically, it's been said that several murders were committed in that house. Is there any truth to these rumors?

Answer: A fantastic string of urban legends is associated with the house located at 1115 Greendale Road, none of which are true. The reference staff at the library contacted officers at the Sheboygan Police Department, who stated that no murder was ever committed at that house.

Note: To read all of the urban legends connected with Rancho De las Flores, refer to the April 2004 and June 2004 issues of The Wind, the Sheboygan North High School student newspaper, available at Mead Library.

Source: The Sheboygan Police Department, September 7, 1999.


Bedrock in the Sheboygan area is 92 feet below the surface.

Answer: Penn Avenue Bridge was built in 1909 and was 412 feet long.

8th Street Bridge, January 6, 1922 - construction authorized at a cost of $210,000

April 21, 1922 - bridge closed to traffic

January 28, 1923 - bridge opened (27 days late)

Built by Wisconsin Bridge & Iron Company of North Milwaukee

Source: The Sheboygan Press, January 6, 1922 & Mead Public Library Information File


Sheboygan River - 581 feet

City Hall - 629.9 feet

80.4 miles

Source: DNR Water Resources manager in Milwaukee. From a telephone conversation on September 17, 1997.

Sheboygan Song - (as sung on the Don McNeill show, summer 1964)

1st verse -

I've been around this world a bit

Many towns with me have made a hit

And my mem'ry oft reminds me of the time I spent in every place

But there's one spot that I love the best

Soon I'll settle down with all the rest

In a town where all are happy with a smile on every face: (to chorus)

2nd verse -

Now I don't take credit from the rest

When I say I love this town the best

For you all have fav'rite cities, where with all your friends you long to be

But the reason that I like this town

Is they're always booming things around

Ev' ryone there that you will see shows of prosperity: (to chorus)


S-H-E makes a pretty little she,

B-O-Y makes a boy

G-A-N do it over again,

And that spells She-boy-gan

Chairs, cheese and children are all manufactured in Sheboygan.

It's a cute, little city where the girls are pretty,

The boys you'll find are the regular kind.


She was an Indian maid you see, he was an Indian man;

The stork brought a boy, she prayed for a girl and he cried in surprise "SHE-BOY-GAN!"

Note: Copyrighted 1918 by Moe Goldberg. Published by Goldberg-Dailey, 4342 Prairie Ave., Chicago, Illinois.

Source: Mead Public Library Information File


Esslingen, Germany

Tsubame, Japan (September 1995)

Shuya, Russia (1984)

Rivas, Nicaragua (prior to revolution)

The newly named high school and new facility opened its doors in the fall of the 1960/61 school year. It took the place of Central High School, which graduated its last class in June of 1960.


The Sheboygan Press, September 21, 1960, p. 40.

The last one was run in the city on November 9, 1935.

Source: The Sheboygan Press, June 7, 1941 and June 11, 1941, p. 16.

Answer: Lowest temperature: January 17, 1982 & January 20, 1985 - 26 Degrees F below zero.

Highest Temperature: July 13, 1995 - 108 degrees.

Source: The Sheboygan Press, January 18, 1982, January 19, 1994 & July 14, 1995.

Schomer Lichtner, who died on May 9, 2006 at the age of 101, and his late wife, Ruth Grotenrath, both well-known Wisconsin artists, began their careers as muralists for WPA projects, primarily post offices. Schomer Lichtner's five-panel mural in the Sheboygan Post Office is considered to be one of his most notable works for the WPA. It was completed in 1939.

Roland Schomberg, former County Clerk, states that another project involved repairing books in the Register of Deeds office in the Court House. Another Court House project was the creation of a card file on elected officials (a card file telling who held what office for how long, etc.)

Source: Mead Public Library Information File and Museum of Wisconsin Art