Janesville – Then & Now

Main Street, Janesville, 1911. Courtesy of Betty Barry Deal
Main Street, Janesville, 1911. Courtesy of Betty Barry Deal

In the summer of 1856, J. Wycroft became the first person to claim the land at Janesville. In November 1856, Thomas Mitchell took possession of Wycroft’s claim, yet neither of them had made any improvements. In the summer of 1857, Malcolm Bankhead (d.1877) filed on his predecessors abandoned claims. Bankhead built a two-story log house (a substantial structure then) and offered public lodging.   By the early 1860s, the nucleus of a village surrounding Bankhead’s house was evident, with the addition of Lomas & Hill’s blacksmith shop, Blanchard’s general store and saloon, and Shaffer’s sawmill on Sloss Creek. The settlement was simply known as Bankheads. It did not become known as Janesville until the post office was established on December 19, 1861. The post office was named for Jane Bankhead, wife of Malcolm, who served as the first postmaster.

Main Street, Janesville, September 27, 2017
Main Street, Janesville, September 27, 2017

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