AriseNow Interpretive Plan

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Downtown Interpretive Plan 1 Interpretive Plan: City of Janesville, WI


Contents Introduction ................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 3 Overview.................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 4 An Introduction to Placemaking ............................................................................................................................................................................... 5 Overview of ARISE and ARISENow ........................................................................................................................................................................... 6 Interpretive Vision......................................................................................................................................................................................................... 7 Interpretive Plan Overview ....................................................................................................................................................................................... 8 Interpretive Themes .................................................................................................................................................................................................. 9 Grit, Determination, ............................................................................................................................................................................. 11 and ...................................................................................................................................................................................................... 11 Tenacity ............................................................................................................................................................................................... 11 Innovation, Invention ........................................................................................................................................................................... 14 and the................................................................................................................................................................................................. 14 Entrepreneurial Spirit ........................................................................................................................................................................... 14 Quality of Life ....................................................................................................................................................................................... 20 and ...................................................................................................................................................................................................... 20 Recreation ............................................................................................................................................................................................ 20 Guest Experience ......................................................................................................................................................................................................... 26 Historic Downtown Janesville Experience .............................................................................................................................................................. 27 Findings & Conclusions................................................................................................................................................................................................ 29 Findings and Conclusions ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 30

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Introduction

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Overview There is a renaissance happening in Janesville, Wisconsin. It is a transformation of place, a multifaceted reimagining of what a city can look like and what a city can offer. In other words, a place is being made. It is also a partnership among community members dedicated to the idea that the spaces we live, work, and play in should reflect the vibrant cultures, histories, and stories of its people past and present. The city is on the rise; won’t you join us?

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An Introduction to Placemaking Placemaking is broadly defined as a civic engagement minded design approach to public spaces. It is a deliberate, collaborative process that seeks to design cities as destinations, promoting the collective well-being of its residents and visitors, and creating a sense of place based identity. It is an all-inclusive process that seeks to inspire pride in a place, spur reinvestment, and create a vibrant place to live, work, and play.

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Overview of ARISE and ARISENow ARISE is a bold, strategic vision for downtown Janesville’s long-term future, solidly grounded in community engagement and focused on feasible action steps. It is the city’s downtown riverfront revitalization plan passed by the City Council in 2015. ARISE stands for Rock Renaissance Area Redevelopment and Implementation Strategy. The goals are as follows:  Make the downtown the heart of the community and a fun, vibrant and healthy place to live, work and visit for a wide spectrum of people.  Preserve the historical character and authenticity of the downtown.  Celebrate the Rock River as one of Janesville’s greatest asset.  Facilitate new investment and redevelopment with a market driven and action oriented strategy. ARISENow, (not to be confused with ARISE), is a private-public partnership formed in 2016 that strengthens the implementation of the City’s ARISE plan as well as supports other key activities and organizations working to transform downtown Janesville.

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Interpretive Vision The Downtown Interpretive plan is intended to further position downtown Janesville as a vibrant neighborhood where commerce, culture, entertainment, and history intersect. 7 Interpretive Plan: City of Janesville, WI


Interpretive Plan Overview This plan is a guidance document designed to support those interested in creating a unique sense of place in our Downtown. It can be a resource for developers, business owners, artists, private citizens and event organizers. This plan serves as a storytelling point of entry for individuals, businesses, community organizations, citizen groups, and governmental entities interested in pursuing historic, cultural, or artistic initiatives in Award Winning, Historic Downtown Janesville. This plan should be used in conjunction with the Downtown Development Guidelines prepared in 2016 by the City of Janesville Historic Preservation Commission and the ARISE Plan adopted by the City of Janesville on February 23, 2015. Our goal is that this resource will help inspire creativity and help cultivate future projects that will continue to make Award Winning, Historic Downtown Janesville a destination of choice.

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Interpretive Themes The ARISENow Steering Committee commissioned this plan through the Rock County Historical Society to help assist and guide creative projects, public and private, in the City of Janesville for storytelling. When we tell a story, we help create a sense of place. Based on research and resources available, the following themes were identified that connects the Downtown to the entire city: Downtown is the “Heart of Our Community� I.) The People and their Stories The heart of our community, full of energy and memory across time. II.) The River The artery of our community, integral to our way of life past and present. III.) Creativity The lifeblood of our community, a force that unites us throughout the years.

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Each of these core themes were crafted with placemaking in mind and should be inspiration for artwork, signs, information, architecture and more. From these themes three narratives have been identified that provide further context for storytelling. They are as follows:

Grit, Determination, and Tenacity: The Stories of Janesville’s People, Places, and Times Innovation, Invention, and the Entrepreneurial Spirit: The Stories of Janesville’s Businesses, Hometown Changemakers & Their Impact Quality of Life and Recreation: The Stories of Why Residents Enjoy This Community and Choose to Call Janesville Home. For example, at the RCHS Campus located in the Look West Neighborhood and walking distance to the downtown, the renovation of the Carriage House focused on innovation by placing a clear acrylic window into the basement to show how the Tallman Carriage House was built and functioned. In another example the ARISE style for the TownSquare introduced different materials than were used on Main Street to provide some element recognizing the industrial development of the city. What follows are examples of storylines that can be developed in downtown that support the overall themes of the Downtown Interpretative Plan. These are not exhaustive but for illustration.

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Grit, Determination, and Tenacity 11 Interpretive Plan: City of Janesville, WI


The Early Days:

Janesville & The Civil War

1830s Settlement in Janesville

Prominent Role in Support of the Union

The immigration story of Wisconsin began with many people from New England that had settled there in the 1600s. The first documented migrant settlers to the Janesville area were John Inman, George Fullmer, Joshua Holmes, and William Holmes Jr. in 1835. A selfproclaimed woodsman and city planner from Virginia, Henry Janes, established the first Post Office and the city name, Janesville. Cobblestone Hotel elected to put reprints of historic photos in their guest rooms.

Janesville was an important supplier of grain to the Union Army. Rock County had the highest number of men enlisted in the war from the State of Wisconsin, including Brigadier General Thomas Ruger (1833 – 1907). Ruger served in several major campaigns including Antietam, Gettysburg, and Chancellorsville.

Thomas Ruger (1833 – 1907)

Dedicated in 1901 in memory of the soldiers and sailors, the Rock County Civil War Monument, located in Lower Courthouse Park, is a great example of public storytelling. 12 Interpretive Plan: City of Janesville, WI


Janesville Women and the push for Civil Rights Authors, Temperance, and the Right to Vote  

Lavinia Goodell was the first woman in Wisconsin admitted to the State Bar to practice law. Frances Willard was an educator, temperance reformer and women’s suffragist. She was also President of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union in 1879. Under Willard, the WCTU grew into the largest woman’s organization in the world. Author Ella Wheeler Wilcox wrote the famous poem, ‘laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone. Several of Wilcox’s poems were the basis of many silent films.

This legacy continues today… 

In 2010 a mural that honors the memory of Judi Kneece, longtime advocate for women, history, art, and Janesville was installed on the County Courthouse. This also marked the 90th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

Janesville’s women make history on a global level 13 Interpretive Plan: City of Janesville, WI


Innovation, Invention and the Entrepreneurial Spirit 14 Interpretive Plan: City of Janesville, WI


Janesville’s Agricultural History Rich and fertile soil Many settlers were drawn to the Rock River Valley because of the fertile soil. It was excellent for growing grains during the early days of Janesville settlement. Once the soil quality was depleted, farmers turned to growing tobacco. Quickly, tobacco became the most prolific crop grown in Wisconsin in the 19th Century. With waterways and the new railway system, Janesville became a transportation and shipping hub.

Janesville Companies Born out of Agriculture 

Janesville Machine Company

Rock River Iron Works Company

MacFarlane Pheasants

 Schlueter Company  Wisconsin Carriage Company  Blue Farm Organic Tortilla Chips

Necessity is the mother of invention; a need or problem encourages creative efforts to meet the need or solve a problem. Plato 15 Interpretive Plan: City of Janesville, WI


The Parker Pen Company

General Motors Corporation

Founded in 1888 by George Parker, after receiving its first fountain pen patent in 1889, they quickly became one of the largest writing instrument companies in the world. For 70 years, Parker was the top employer in the region. Parker holds two British royal warrants, one from Queen Elizabeth II in 1962, and one from Charles, the Prince of Wales in 1990.

Founded in 1919, initially Samson Tractor production plant. WWI changed focus from tractors to producing automobiles The Janesville facility was the oldest GM Manufacturing Plant in the US prior to its 2008 closure.

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Blackhawk Community Credit Union’s GM Legacy Center

The First National Bank Building located at 100 West Milwaukee Street in award winning, historic downtown Janesville is being restored and transformed into a museum honoring generations of their members who worked at the former General Motors Janesville Assembly Plant. Photo at time of 2019 purchase. This depicts the 1970’s façade on the 1913 building which has been removed.

1913 Photo of completed Bank Building

December 2019 Photo once marble façade panels had been removed returning the building to its former glory 17

Interpretive Plan: City of Janesville, WI


Major Employers that call Janesville Home

 Blackhawk Community Credit Union

 Prent Corporation  Ryan Incorporated

 Blain’s Supply

 Seneca Foods

 Dollar General

 Shine Medical Technologies

 Goex Corporation

 Simmons Manufacturing

 Hufcor, Inc.

 SSI Technologies

 JP Cullen

 SSM/St. Mary’s Hospital

 Le Mans Corporation

 United Alloy

 Mercyhealth

Woodman’s 18

Interpretive Plan: City of Janesville, WI


Political Figures Janesville has had extensive representation at the State and National Level, as shown through this list of individuals who have/continue to work in public service: William A. Barstow, Governor of Wisconsin, Union Army General Harry W. Bolens, Wisconsin State Senator William B. Britton, Wisconsin State Representative Stephen Bolles, U.S. Representative, 1939-1941 Zebulon P. Burdick, Wisconsin State Senator Peter P. Carr, Wisconsin State Senator John B. Cassoday, Chief Justice of Wisconsin Supreme Court Tim Cullen, Majority Leader of the Wisconsin Senate from 1981-1987 Russ Feingold, former U.S. Senator, 1993-2011 Edwin G. Fifield, politician Alexander Graham, Wisconsin businessman and state legislator Fenner Kimball, Wisconsin State Representative James H. Knowlton, Wisconsin State Representative

Debra Kolste, Wisconsin State Representative Allen P. Lovejoy, Wisconsin State Senator William A. Lawrence, Wisconsin State Representative Alexander E. Matheson, Wisconsin State Representative and jurist Hiram Merrill, Wisconsin State Representative Cyrus Miner, Wisconsin State Representative David Noggle, Wisconsin State Representative, Chief Justice of the Supreme court of the Idaho territory Thomas S. Nolan, Wisconsin State Representative Pliny Norcross, lawyer and politician Andrew Palmer, Wisconsin State Senator Henry A. Patterson, Wisconsin State Representative Anson W. Pope, Wisconsin State Representative

Thomas H. Ruger, Civil War General and military Governor of Georgia Paul D. Ryan, former Representative for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, former Speaker of the U.S. house of Representatives, and 2012 Republican nominee for Vice President under Mitt Romney Michael J. Sheridan, former Speaker of the Wisconsin state Assembly Ithamar C. Sloan, U.S. Representative from Wisconsin Bryan G. Steil, Representative for Wisconsin’s 1st. Congressional District E. Ray Stevens, Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court James Sutherland, Wisconsin State Senator George Tarrant Sr., Wisconsin State Senator Henry Tarrant, Wisconsin State Representative

Alexander McDonald Thomson, former Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly Howard Teasdale, Wisconsin State Senator Charles L. Valentine, Wisconsin State Representative William G. Wheeler, Wisconsin State Representative and U.S. Attorney John Meek Whitehead, Wisconsin State Senator Edward V. Whiton, Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court Charles G. Williams, U.S. Representative George H. Williston, Wisconsin Territorial and State Legislator Agesilaus Wilson, Wisconsin State Representative Wayne W. Wood, Wisconsin State Representative Edwin E. Woodman, Wisconsin State Senator

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Quality of Life and Recreation 20 Interpretive Plan: City of Janesville, WI


Native Americans in the Rock River Valley

 Native Americans roamed over the fertile Rock River Valley.  Building homes in the woods on the hills overlooking the River.  They were environmentally self-sustaining due to resources from the woods, streams, and the Rock River.

Historic Post Card Image, Monterey Rock, Rock River, Janesville, WI

 Soil was rich and black producing good crops. Wild fruits were in abundance.

 The rapids near the center of their early village was perfect for fishing. It was easy to catch with their hands as the fish tumbled over the rocks in the river.

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The Public Library  In 1865 a group of Janesville businessmen formed the Young Men’s Association to furnish books  1874 brought a free library organized by the Ladies Temperance Union and opened to the public in 1875  1884 City adoption of the Library System  In 1903 The Carnegie Foundation and the estate of F.S. Eldred funded the building of a new library at 64 South Main Street  The early 1960s brought a new library building at 316 South Main Street  Again, out of space in the 1980s, Don and Gerry Hedberg donated $3M for an expansion and gave them naming rights  1996 brought the opening of the library as it stands today with breathtaking view of the Rock River and Public Art  Original Carnegie Library now serves as the Janesville Senior Center

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Janesville, Wisconsin’s Park Place  City retained John Nolen in 1919 to assist with city planning focusing on parks  Established over 2,611 acres of parks including 65 individual parks  Highest amount of parkland per capita in Wisconsin  Nolen’s work established Janesville as the City of Parks

John Nolen American landscape architect

1869 - 1937

 The Ice Age Trail  Rotary Botanical Gardens  More contemporary, Peace Park o Established on the site of the 1992 KKK Rally

Theater Arts and Entertainment  Public Halls of the 1840s were included in prominent commercial buildings  The Burr Robbins Circus – 1873-1888  The Winter Quarters of the Burr Robbins Circus on Spring Brook Farm

 The Myers Opera House and Theater – 1870  Wisconsin’s First State Fair – 1851  Rock County Fair Grounds and 4-H Program  Beverly Theater – 1916  Jeffris Theater - 1924  Janesville Little Theater: Malcolm Mouat & Mary Lovejoy - 1929  Janesville Performing Arts Center  The theater groups at both Janesville Craig and Janesville Parker High Schools

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The Rock Aqua Jays  Most successful Ski Show Team in the World  62 total tournament victories  19 US National Championships  Host of the 1st World Water Ski Show Championship drawing in people from all over the world

The Janesville Jets Tier II Junior Ice Hockey Team in the North American Hockey League Jets finished second place in the Midwest Division 2015-16

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Second ½ of 20th Century – Building Boom & Architectural Awareness  1950s Land development north of the Downtown  Interstate development  1960s Land development south of the Downtown  1970s The Janesville Mall and continued north end development  1980s recession & establishment of Historic Districts  1990s Commercial Business building boom

Photo circa 1970

Janesville High School; In 1967, this was renamed Joseph A. Craig High School – photo circa 1955

Janesville Mall & Milton Avenue circa 1973 Donutland circa 1970s

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Guest Experience

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Historic Downtown Janesville Experience Visiting Award Winning, Historic Downtown Janesville is intended to be an experience. One can venture through on their own or choose to receive one of many tours that have been or will be created to aid in disseminating the rich history of Janesville. The goal is that the Town Square would be a starting place. To aid in this process, kiosks will be established on both the east and west sides of the river. These kiosks need to be developed in such a way so we can easily update. Individually developed narratives can be used by:  Tour guides to lead groups of people  Self-guided where the stories are conveyed using a custom Web App.  Wayfinding signs that are placed strategically to guide Tours are and can be developed to tie together core themes that could relate to a current event, holiday, or other celebration. The addition of technology to develop an app will allow one to choose their own experience.

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A great example of interpretation that already exists in the downtown is the Chief Black Hawk Mural that was commissioned and installed during the summer of 2019 commissioned by a private citizen working in partnership with the building owner, the city, the JCAVB and ARISENow.

Chief Blackhawk was a warrior and a leader with the Sauk Native American tribe in Illinois and Wisconsin back in the 1800s.

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Findings & Conclusions 29 Interpretive Plan: City of Janesville, WI


Findings and Conclusions With the storied history and a well-documented chronology, the downtown experience has endless opportunities for quality educational experiences to be realized. With an array of themes and storylines, it is expected that there will be many return visits to this resource all throughout the year. Because this is a part of our history past and present, the community has a stake in having their stories included into the fabric that is the downtown immersive experience. Developing a combination of guided and self-guided opportunities using people, interpretive signage and markers, along with technology, ensures that this will attract diverse audiences. As a business owner, a developer, an artist, or event manager, it is intended that this interpretative plan can inform your plans and inspire you to connect your audiences and customers to the stories of Janesville.

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About Rock County Historical Society Home to six uniquely different historic sites on a 3.5-acre campus in the historic Look West Neighborhood, the Rock County Historical Society’s mission is to bridge past and present through capturing and sharing stories about Rock County, Wisconsin. Its sites include the award-winning Lincoln-Tallman House, Helen Jeffris Wood Museum & Visitor Center, Charles Tallman Archives, Tallman Carriage House, Wilson-King Stone House, and the Frances Willard Schoolhouse.

Rock County Historical Society 426 North Jackson Street Janesville, WI 53548 www.rchs.us

Timothy J. Maahs Executive Director tmaahs@rchs.us 608.756.4509

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