The population was 11,224 at the 2010 census, growing 12% since the 2000 Census. Much of this growth is likely due to the enrollment increase of the University of Wisconsin–Platteville.
The community of Platteville is located amidst the “Driftless Region” of Southwest Wisconsin. Fifteen city parks, the Veterans Honor Roll Memorial, a family aquatic center, walking paths and more can be found throughout the community. The University of Wisconsin–Platteville is a four-year institution and boasts being the fastest growing UW-system school; adding more diversity and culture with each class of students. Platteville is rich with history as it was home to the first state College, Rountree Hall. It is also near where the First Territorial Capital was established in 1836. No matter what your interests are, Platteville is sure to entertain.
Platteville is located in Southwest Wisconsin. View homes for sale in Southwest Wisconsin for more real estate options.
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Platteville was a small farming and fur trading community along the Platte River, from which the town got its name. In the 1820s, lead ore was discovered in the area and a mining boom took the area by storm. The mining district encompassed a significant portion of southwest Wisconsin, including the counties of Grant, Iowa, Lafayette, and Jo Daviess County (Illinois), which played a major role in the mining of lead and zinc ore.
Beginning in 1825, lead prices saw a dramatic boost and the Platteville economy flourished. The “grey gold” (a common nickname for lead ore) brought development of businesses and schools. Platteville’s landscape was shaped by the mining that helped build the town, and mineral holes abounded everywhere.
By the 1840s, lead ore production was decreasing. However, the mining of zinc ore quickly filled the void. Platteville was now an established town, complete with schools, an academy, newspaper, several churches, and a telegraph service, as of November 1849.
During this time, a teachers’ college and a mining college were founded. The Normal School was established on October 9, 1866. The Wisconsin Mining Trade School opened in January 1908. In 1959, these two colleges merged to become Wisconsin State College and Institute of Technology. It was not until 1971 that the college became University of Wisconsin–Platteville, a school that specializes in engineering. The college is also considered the best criminal justice college in the mid-west. Today, Platteville is mainly a college town with some development in the white-collar sector, which is a result of the increasing number of engineering firms locating in Platteville.
From 1984 until 2001, the Chicago Bears football team held training camp on the campus of University of Wisconsin–Platteville. This resulted in a substantial infusion of money into the local economy each summer, the Bears eventually moved their training camp to Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois.
Platteville Municipal Airport (KPVB) serves the city and surrounding communities.
The Platteville School District serves the Platteville area. Platteville High School is the area’s public high school. Platteville High School’s mascot is “Henry Hillmen.” The University of Wisconsin–Platteville is located in Platteville.
The main source of culture in Platteville is the Center for the Arts on University of Wisconsin–Platteville campus, which sponsors a steady stream of well-attended professional touring events.
The “Heartland Festival,” a semi-professional theater festival that produced four shows that run throughout the summer, was a summer attraction featured at the UWP-Center for the Arts. The casts were a combination of professionals and local residents.
Platteville Mining Museum and Rollo Jamison Museum: At the museums you can tour Lorenzo Bevan’s 1845 lead mine, ride a 1931 zinc mine train and view many exhibits on Platteville’s mining history as well as Rollo Jamison’s personal collection of artifacts.
Built in 1837 by the Rev. Samuel Mitchell, this home still contains many of its original furnishings. The house was home to Major John Rountree, one of Platteville’s founders. The walls are two feet thick and made of dolomite Galena limestone.
The Big M
Platteville has the world’s largest M, a claim that its Chamber of Commerce states is unchallenged. The M is a monogram for the former Wisconsin Mining School (now the University of Wisconsin–Platteville).
The first M was first constructed in 1936 when two men, Raymond Medley and Alvin Knoerr, climbed the Platte Mound and trudged through 2 feet of snow to form a huge letter M. Actual construction of the stone M began in the spring of 1937 and was completed in the fall of the same year.
The M is composed of rocks laid on Platte Mound and is whitewashed (not painted) every year. The M is 241-feet tall, 214-feet wide and has legs that are 25-feet wide.
The M can be seen many places in Platteville, and sometimes in Iowa, on a clear day. Atop the Platte Mound, the M viewers can see three states: Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois.
The M is lit once a year during the University of Wisconsin–Platteville college homecoming.