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Things to do in Janesville

  • Tallman House Tallman House Janesville, Wisconsin
    The William Tallman house in Janesville, Wisconsin became famous in 1859, when Republican nominee for President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, came to stay two nights in this historical home. Tallman was a fairly wealthy man involved in perfume manufacture, and they went with the nominee to church on Sunday. The house was built for William Tallman and his family in 1857 in Janesville; and was a Italian Villa style mansion. Tallman was the real pioneer in a frock coat, and a couple of years before moving to Janesville from New York City, he bought several thousand acres of good farmland in southern Wisconsin. He resold the land to farmers in the area, for a decent profit, and moved to Janesville having the Italian mansion built; which has become an excellent example of residential architecture and design of the era. William was an early supporter of the new Republican party and worked so that John Fremont would be elected president in 1856. He also became interested in the tall man that ran for the U.S. Senate seat from Illinois in 1858, Abraham Lincoln; although he ended up losing to Stephen Douglas. Lincoln became known well enough to be considered for the presidential nomination by the Republicans for the next election in 1860. Lincoln went on the campaign trail speaking to the public, and was in Beloit in October of 1859. William Tallman was in that audience and somehow talked Lincoln into coming to Janesville to speak to the citizens there the next day. Abraham spent the night at the Tallman home; making it possible for the city's citizenry to claim that Lincoln had indeed slept there. His speaking made enough of an impression on the folks there so that in the election, Lincoln carried the city and the county, and the entire state by a fair margin. Frederick Douglass came to speak in Janesville as well, in February of 1859, and was greatly received and appreciated; with many concluding that you didn't have to be a white man to be intelligent nor articulate. These three men laid the foundation for the Union to be preserved during the Civil War and proportionately speaking they sent more men into the war than any other county. Twenty five companies were made up of the Rock County men serving in twenty three Wisconsin regiments and three of those regiments became famous as the Iron Brigade.

  • Helen Jeffris Wood Museum Center
    The museum is located in the former home of Stanley Dexter Tallman that was fashioned after the 1912 Prairie style architecture. It contains a gift shop, local exhibits and the admin offices of the Rock County Historical Society. One of the most famous displays is the exhibit of the Parker Pen Company that was in the city for almost a hundred years. The Parker Pen company was always a part of Janesville, and the room that contains all the memorabilia of the Parker pens and clocks, historic photos, books and awards, as well as advertisements are found here.

  • Milton House Museum
     The Milton House is listed on the National Register of Historical Places and was also placed on the National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. It was a former stagecoach stop where the underground railroad would send slaves to freedom in the north or to Canada. It happened to be the first building in the United States that used lime mortar to construct a home that was decades before the use of Portland cement and is only one of two in the country of hexagonal structures that were built in the 19th century.

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Local Restaurants in Janesville
  • Prime Quarter
     Something a bit different is offered at this great steak house in Janesville, Wisconsin, you are invited to cook your own meat over a hickory wood grill with grill chefs available at your side to assist or give advice. Certainly not the first time you have ever grilled, but perhaps the first time you have grilled USDA choice or prime beef cuts that are better than what you would pick to grill with. They offer a catch of the day if you prefer fish grilled, and their all you care to eat salad bar is splendid. A hot baked potato is also offered with a great number of toppings all for your culinary pleasure. They offer up a T-bone that is 22 or 23 ounces, a top sirloin 20-21 ounces, filet mignon 9-10 ounces, beef brochette that is 20-22 ounces, rib eye or Delmonico that is 16-17 ounces, Kansas City strip 18-19 ounces, Teriyaki top sirloin 20-21 ounces, teriyaki filet 9-10 ounces, teriyaki beef broschette 20-22 and catch of the day which is usually 10-12 ounces. Every kind of grilling ingredient is available to you at the grill side, and you can even grill your own Texas toast. Try it, you might like it.

  • The Speakeasy
    The Speakeasy is one of the best local places in Janesville to enjoy the freshness of local grown foods, set in a converted old building in the heart of the city, with fresh fish and shellfish delivered daily. So when in or around Janesville make sure you stop here for great cuisine and a lively friendly atmosphere. The menu includes; fresh catch of the day with two sides and soup or salad, fish tacos is blackened tilapia, pico de gallo, easy sauce, served in two flour tortillas with choice of soup or side salad; poultry and fish offered include; chicken & mushroom is sautéed chicken breast, portabella mushrooms and marsala sauce with choice of two sides and soup or salad; coconut shrimp platter is half pound of hand breaded crispy deep fried shrimp with orange red pepper sauce, two sides and choice of soup or salad; char grilled salmon topped with tomato salsa. The Speakeasy signatures include; three cheese lasagna is a creamy blend of mozzarella, ricotta, provolone topped with their house made marinara sauce; portabella stack is grilled marinated bella caps, layered with fire roasted red peppers, herbed cream cheese, spinach and pine nuts; peppercorn crusted beef medallion is topped with charred tomato salsa and all include two sides and choice of soup or salad. The pasta, risotto menu includes choice of soup or salad; blackened chicken and broccoli is penne pasta tossed in Alfredo sauce; black pepper calamari is fettuccini tossed with roasted tomato and garlic olive oil; Caprese pasta is whole wheat or regular penne pasta, fresh mozzarella, basil, tossed in sun dried tomato pesto, garnished with prosciutto ham; crab & asparagus risotto. Steaks include; New York strip 10 ounce; rib eye 10 ounce; beef medallions 10 ounce with sour or salad and two sides. They offer wraps and burgers, side dishes that include; baked potato, wild rice pilaf, seasonal chef vegetables, baked macaroni and cheese, grilled asparagus, garlic red skin mashed potatoes. Salads offered include; blueberry & granola is with plump blueberries and house made crunchy granola on fresh field greens; Mediterranean salad is with goat cheese, grape tomato and kalamata olives; Speakeasy salad is with broccoli, bacon bits, red grapes tossed with candied walnuts on field greens; Beatnik salad is roasted beets, crumbles bleu cheese and candied walnuts.




Fresh cut steaks Prime Quarter Janesville, Wisconsin


Blackened Chicken Breast Speakeasy Janesville, Wisconsin


Deep Fried Shrimp Speakeasy Janesville, Wisconsin


NY strip steak Speakeasy Janesville, Wisconsin

  • Rotary Botanical GardenRotary Garden Janesville, Wisconsin
    Industrialist F. Nelson Blount started buying locomotives
    The rotary gardens are sitting on 20 acres of beauty and charm, with numerous themed and impressive gardens in Janesville, Wisconsin. Many of the gorgeous gardens are based upon an international theme, including English Cottage, French Formal, Japanese, Italian and Scottish.
    A few are not as formal as the above, but are special and enchanting like the Fern and Moss gardens that are few in number in this country, but still recognized by the Hardy Fern Foundation. The Shade, Prairie and Woodland gardens are another specialty garden that represents one of a few in the nation. Besides all these marvelous wonders of nature, a gift shop, visitor center and facility grace the grounds and are used for weddings, reunions and receptions. The plethora of plants and flowers change seasonally so changes can be expected and appreciated all year long.

  • Rock Aqua JaysAqua Jays Janesville, Wisconsin
     The Rock Aqua Jays water ski team is based out of Janesville, Wisconsin with over a 150 members that have made this amateur water ski club one of the most successful in the country. The club started the National Show Ski Association and have hosted 22 of the 32 events. This phenomenal club has won the national tournament 15 times which constitutes a world record, and been either first or second in 26 of the events. In the Wisconsin State regional qualifier, they won another record 12 times, and were the first amateur club to build a three tiered pyramid, in 1974, then the four tiered pyramid in 1981, and finally an incredible five tiered pyramid in 1993. In 2003, they created the biggest pyramid ever in competition with 44 people and the first amateur team to perform in the People's Republic of China. They have their practices at Traxler Park two times every week during the summer, and have public shows two times a week also. The shows are free and most enjoyable, with announcers, music, themes, characters and a number of acts that include; ballet line, doubles, barefooting, pyramids, jumping, swiveling, wakeboarding and more.