Monroe, Wis. is the Swiss cheese capital of the United States. In fact, this TDS Telecom community is the only place in the U.S. where Limburger cheese and 180-pound wheels of traditional Emmentaler Swiss are still produced. There are actually more than a dozen cheese companies in the area (including the internationally known Swiss Colony brand) producing more than 50 varieties of cheese.
Why is Monroe such a hot spot for cheese production? Swiss and German immigrants moved to the area in the 1840s and 1850s. The landscape was ideal for raising cows, and so they began to grow the now booming creamery industry.
Monroe has a strong Swiss and German heritage and it’s visible in their many local attractions. For example the Minhas Craft Brewery (founded in 1845 as the Joseph Huber Brewing Company) is the second oldest continuously operating brewery in the U.S. It’s also home to the nation’s largest Beer Memorabilia Museum. There’s also Turner Hall (photo above). Established in 1868, it’s believed to be the only Turners gymnastic club hall of Swiss origin left in the United States. It’s also listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places.
Monroe’s heritage also brings many “cheesy” places to visit. Monroe is host to the National Historic Cheesemaking Center and the Imobersteg Farmstead Cheese Factory. The center features authentic cheesemaking equipment from the 1880s which is still used today to demonstrate original cheesemaking methods. And, you should not miss the biannual Cheese Days celebration. Held every even year in September, Cheese Days began in 1914 and is a celebration of all things cheese. During the three-day festival there is music, dancing, Wisconsin’s only parade led by brown Swiss cows, and of course, cheese. Dairy delicacies include fried cheese curds, cheesecake on a stick, gourmet grilled cheese, and more. TDS is a proud sponsor of Cheese Days this year. In fact, Clicky the TDS TV mascot will be there to help celebrate the event’s 100th year.