Soldiers Grove Wisconsin
America's First Solar Village


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Village History

The first settlers came to the banks of the Kickapoo River in the 1850s and established a small village called Pine Grove, in honor of the large groves of white pine that were found here.  The name of the village was changed to Soldiers Grove in 1867 to honor the soldiers who had camped in the area during the 1832 Blackhawk War.  Early farming of wheat gave way to dairy farming, and later tobacco farming became a way of life on the area's small family farms. 
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The story of Soldiers Grove is made up of chapters about Kickapoo River floods.  Heavy rains can transform the gentle river into a raging torrent.  The old town, which sat along the banks of the Kickapoo, was devastated by floods in 1909, 1912, 1917, and 1935.  A disastrous flood damaged the town in 1951, while Soldiers Grove and other river towns awaited Federal flood control.  Then in July of 1978, the Kickapoo delivered the largest flood to date.  That record stood unbroken until 2007, when the Kickapoo delivered its worst. And unbelievably, that record was broken less that one year later, in 2008.
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Even before the 1978 flood, the residents of Soldiers Grove realized that it was necessary to relocate their downtown.  The 1978 flood jarred loose the logjam in Washington, and Federal funds became available for the relocation.  Funding was obtained in part because the village agreed to incorporate solar heating in all the new buildings.  Over twenty new buildings were constructed, utilizing solar energy for at least 50% of heating needs.  Solar Town was born. 
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2011 Soldiers Grove 
This site was last updated on 01/29/2011