Walworth County Historical Society


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The city of Elkhorn lies above sea-level, at the railway station 996 feet, at the court-house 1,031 feet, at points in the farthest northwest quarter 1,038 feet. It was for long supposed and said that it is on the highest ground in the county, which is nearly true, but not so nearly as to warrant the slight misstatement. Sharon and Walworth villages are nearly as high and the Yerkes Observatory is on ground higher by twelve feet. The point in the short high ridge of section 19, Geneva, is about one hundred feet higher than any part of Elkhorn. The rise from the station northward to Park street is of nearly uniform slope. The greater part of the city is built on practically level ground. The surface of the town was mostly of blackprairie mould, a spade-thrust deep, which gave rise to a harmless sarcasm; in effect, that sixteen fine cornfields were spoiled to make a needless city. The gravel next below is so mixed and underlaid with clay as to make the natural surface drainage worse than that of any city or village of the county, excepting Walworth. But it has become practicable, after many years, to secure dry cellars for new buildings. Good sewers are possible whenever the citizens are able and willing to bear their cost, as there is a fair descent southward to Jackson's creek. A once considerable pond or marsh in the northeastern quarter has so far shrunk as to leave but twenty-five acres, at the northern line, slightly under water.

Excerpt from History of Walworth County Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith

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