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History & The Area

Welcome to Oconomowoc, Wisconsin—a dynamic urban city with a strong culture, vibrant economy, and high quality of life.  

Oconomowoc is in northwestern Waukesha County in an area known as “Lake Country,” which includes City of Oconomowoc, Towns of Oconomowoc and Okauchee, Villages of Summit, Lac La Belle, and Oconomowoc Lake in the immediate surrounding area.  The name, Oconomowoc, is derived from the Potawatomi word, “Coo-No- Mo-Wauk,” which means “Where the Waters Meet.” 

One of the earliest settlers was John S. Rockwell. Known as the “Father of Oconomowoc,” he established a grist mill and the town’s first fire department and library.  Oconomowoc was incorporated as a city in 1865.  It was (and still is) a favorite summer destination for tourists.  Wealthy families from Chicago, Milwaukee, and other areas built grand summer homes on area lakes and six U.S. presidents, Cleveland, Harrison, Grant, Taft, Coolidge, McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, have visited to enjoy the area’s natural beauty.  To learn more about the storied history of Oconomowoc, visit the Oconomowoc Area Historical Society and Museum.

Oconomowoc is home to multiple highly accredited hospitals and many focused care providers, including a nationally recognized behavioral health services hospital and the first network-accredited cancer center in the nation to receive the American College of Surgeons Outstanding Achievement award in recognition of quality care.  In addition to the proximity of both Milwaukee and Madison health care providers, the Oconomowoc area has not only some of the best healthcare per capita in the Midwest, but arguably in the entire United States.

Community is truly a word to describe the foundation of life in Oconomowoc, where residents and businesses work together to support the great lifestyle that can be found here.  Civic groups, centers of worship, a highly rated public school district, and a business-friendly climate, along with the many shopping, dining, outdoors, and cultural experiences have come together to create a fun, lively city that continues to attract new residents and visitors. 


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