Counties with the oldest homes in Wisconsin

Written by:
August 27, 2022
Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

Counties with the oldest homes in Wisconsin

There's an undeniable charm that comes with pre-World War II American architecture, characterized by high ceilings, crown molding, hardwood floors, and ornate details. In fact, 12.8% of all housing units in America were built in 1939 or before, showing the popularity of the preservation of these units. Owning a piece of history can sometimes come with a cost: Many old homes come with asbestos, lead piping, knob-and-tube wiring, and other outdated building styles that can rack up a hefty price tag to modernize. However, with more and more modernized pre-war homes on the market, generally located just outside bustling downtown metros, investing in property that has withstood the test of time is an attractive prospect.

Stacker compiled a list of the counties in Wisconsin with the oldest homes using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by median year the structure was built according to 2020 5-year estimates. Ties broken by the highest percentage of homes built before 1939.

The country's domestic architecture is perhaps best characterized by a rugged individualism as opposed to the hybridization of disparate architectural elements. As Maya Angelou once perceptively observed, "the ache for home lives in all of us," a phrase that has meant very different things to different people.

Modest or palatial, there is no shortage of noteworthy homes in the U.S. Log cabins constructed by industrious pioneers have dotted the landscape alongside traditional Native American dwellings ever since immigrant Swedes introduced them to the New World in 1638. The unprecedented personal fortunes amassed by the so-called "Robber Barons" at the close of the 19th century gave way to the construction of a staggering number of Gilded Age estates.

The ravages of time spared neither the sumptuous nor the humble. Stately mansions, often prohibitively costly to maintain in the modern era, were frequently neglected; simple structures were forgotten, discarded by their owners, and damaged by natural elements. However, the tireless efforts of architectural preservationists and local historical societies have saved many of these homes from demolition, leading to their inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places and thereby safeguarding them for future generations.

Keep reading to learn more about which counties in Wisconsin have the oldest homes.

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TheCatalyst31 // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Portage County

- Median year homes built: 1979
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 16.3% (5,073 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 17.7% (5,505 homes)
- Total homes built: 31,147
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bogdanstepniak // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Sauk County

- Median year homes built: 1979
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 20.0% (6,096 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 20.9% (6,382 homes)
- Total homes built: 30,525
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Iulus Ascanius // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Pierce County

- Median year homes built: 1979
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 20.1% (3,371 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 23.3% (3,896 homes)
- Total homes built: 16,742
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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Chippewa County

- Median year homes built: 1978
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 18.1% (5,186 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 21.6% (6,180 homes)
- Total homes built: 28,626
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Wineinger // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Monroe County

- Median year homes built: 1978
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 20.7% (4,131 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 19.9% (3,978 homes)
- Total homes built: 20,000

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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Jackson County

- Median year homes built: 1978
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 21.0% (2,088 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 23.0% (2,289 homes)
- Total homes built: 9,964
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James Meyer // Shutterstock

#44. Ozaukee County

- Median year homes built: 1977
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 11.9% (4,477 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 17.7% (6,673 homes)
- Total homes built: 37,723
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#43. Waushara County

- Median year homes built: 1977
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 16.6% (2,514 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 16.9% (2,567 homes)
- Total homes built: 15,152
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Alan Froegel // Wikimedia Commons

#42. La Crosse County

- Median year homes built: 1977
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 16.7% (8,452 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 19.0% (9,621 homes)
- Total homes built: 50,680
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Itrytohelp32 // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Eau Claire County

- Median year homes built: 1976
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 15.8% (7,014 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 17.2% (7,655 homes)
- Total homes built: 44,419

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Appraiser // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Barron County

- Median year homes built: 1976
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 17.6% (4,256 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.6% (3,787 homes)
- Total homes built: 24,230
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Jeff the quiet // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Taylor County

- Median year homes built: 1976
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 17.7% (1,900 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 18.2% (1,955 homes)
- Total homes built: 10,755
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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Marquette County

- Median year homes built: 1976
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 17.9% (1,790 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 16.0% (1,605 homes)
- Total homes built: 10,001
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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Marathon County

- Median year homes built: 1976
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 18.0% (10,724 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 18.8% (11,201 homes)
- Total homes built: 59,633
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Tgkrause // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Iowa County

- Median year homes built: 1976
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 26.6% (2,915 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 19.3% (2,108 homes)
- Total homes built: 10,944

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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Marinette County

- Median year homes built: 1975
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 15.9% (4,920 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.8% (4,884 homes)
- Total homes built: 30,910
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Jeff the quiet // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Rusk County

- Median year homes built: 1975
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 17.2% (1,589 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 18.3% (1,688 homes)
- Total homes built: 9,231
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Yinan Chen // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Walworth County

- Median year homes built: 1975
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 17.4% (9,176 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 18.3% (9,617 homes)
- Total homes built: 52,595
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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Lincoln County

- Median year homes built: 1975
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 18.5% (3,178 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 17.3% (2,986 homes)
- Total homes built: 17,224
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Billertl // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Price County

- Median year homes built: 1975
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 18.7% (2,097 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 16.7% (1,876 homes)
- Total homes built: 11,228

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Jimmy Emerson // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Crawford County

- Median year homes built: 1975
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 21.2% (1,907 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 18.6% (1,674 homes)
- Total homes built: 8,999
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Jon Roanhaus // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Trempealeau County

- Median year homes built: 1975
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 21.2% (2,806 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 18.9% (2,495 homes)
- Total homes built: 13,219
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Downspec // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Columbia County

- Median year homes built: 1975
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 23.5% (6,329 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 18.1% (4,872 homes)
- Total homes built: 26,878
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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Shawano County

- Median year homes built: 1974
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 20.8% (4,358 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 16.5% (3,456 homes)
- Total homes built: 20,957
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self // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Waupaca County

- Median year homes built: 1974
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 22.4% (5,776 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 14.1% (3,632 homes)
- Total homes built: 25,840

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Keith Cooper // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Kenosha County

- Median year homes built: 1973
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 16.6% (11,713 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 16.9% (11,929 homes)
- Total homes built: 70,755
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Creative Commons

#24. Winnebago County

- Median year homes built: 1973
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 19.4% (14,763 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.5% (11,781 homes)
- Total homes built: 76,023
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Scott Catron // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Jefferson County

- Median year homes built: 1973
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 23.9% (8,606 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 16.8% (6,044 homes)
- Total homes built: 36,010
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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Vernon County

- Median year homes built: 1973
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 27.1% (3,845 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 20.1% (2,845 homes)
- Total homes built: 14,173
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TheCatalyst31 // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Wood County

- Median year homes built: 1972
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 18.4% (6,492 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 13.6% (4,795 homes)
- Total homes built: 35,247

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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Iron County

- Median year homes built: 1972
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 19.0% (1,160 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.7% (954 homes)
- Total homes built: 6,094
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Jeff the quiet // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Langlade County

- Median year homes built: 1972
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 21.3% (2,684 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 12.6% (1,594 homes)
- Total homes built: 12,614
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Corey Coyle // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Grant County

- Median year homes built: 1972
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 23.7% (5,267 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.9% (3,527 homes)
- Total homes built: 22,197
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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Pepin County

- Median year homes built: 1972
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 26.6% (981 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 18.4% (678 homes)
- Total homes built: 3,691
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SD Dirk // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Green County

- Median year homes built: 1972
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 27.4% (4,414 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.5% (2,499 homes)
- Total homes built: 16,097

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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Fond du Lac County

- Median year homes built: 1971
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 26.2% (11,900 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.4% (6,992 homes)
- Total homes built: 45,338
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Nfarmakes // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Douglas County

- Median year homes built: 1970
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 26.7% (6,202 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 12.7% (2,962 homes)
- Total homes built: 23,263
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Jeff the quiet // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Clark County

- Median year homes built: 1970
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 26.9% (4,100 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 13.5% (2,053 homes)
- Total homes built: 15,215
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Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources // Flickr

#12. Sheboygan County

- Median year homes built: 1970
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 27.4% (14,022 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 12.8% (6,551 homes)
- Total homes built: 51,249
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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Buffalo County

- Median year homes built: 1970
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 28.7% (1,961 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 14.1% (965 homes)
- Total homes built: 6,827

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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Ashland County

- Median year homes built: 1970
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 28.9% (2,789 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 14.4% (1,395 homes)
- Total homes built: 9,657
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Visit Beloit // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Rock County

- Median year homes built: 1969
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 20.5% (14,188 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 13.2% (9,126 homes)
- Total homes built: 69,278
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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Green Lake County

- Median year homes built: 1969
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 25.1% (2,696 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 12.6% (1,350 homes)
- Total homes built: 10,756
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Chris Rand // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Kewaunee County

- Median year homes built: 1969
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 28.9% (2,725 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.0% (1,420 homes)
- Total homes built: 9,442
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Corey Coyle // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Richland County

- Median year homes built: 1969
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.3% (2,730 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.3% (1,373 homes)
- Total homes built: 8,998

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Doc Searls // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Dodge County

- Median year homes built: 1968
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 29.8% (11,304 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 15.1% (5,730 homes)
- Total homes built: 37,942
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gillfoto // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Racine County

- Median year homes built: 1967
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 20.1% (16,662 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 12.0% (9,954 homes)
- Total homes built: 82,977
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Calvin Beale // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Lafayette County

- Median year homes built: 1962
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 34.2% (2,507 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 13.4% (981 homes)
- Total homes built: 7,325
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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Manitowoc County

- Median year homes built: 1961
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 31.3% (11,754 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 10.2% (3,834 homes)
- Total homes built: 37,538
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compujeramey // Flickr

#1. Milwaukee County

- Median year homes built: 1955
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.6% (128,375 homes)
- Homes built since 2000: 6.9% (28,951 homes)
- Total homes built: 419,310

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