Iowa County got its start in 1827 when Henry Dodge, his family and about 40 miners set up camp in the vicinity of Mineral Point.

Two years later, it became the county seat. Dodge was inaugurated the first governor of the newly formed Wisconsin Territory on July 4, 1836, in downtown Mineral Point. It is the third oldest county in the state.

The community was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, the first Wisconsin city to receive that designation.

Dodgeville, with its central location and larger population, eventually became the county seat. Today, it has about 4,700 people while Mineral Point’s population is around 2,500.

Mineral Point

Check this out: Pendarvis, 114 Shake Rag St. One of southwest Wisconsin’s most popular tourist destinations, it provides an intimate look at the history of lead mining in the region. Check out the collection of stone and stone-and-log cottages. For more information, go to pendarvis.wisconsinhistory.org

Places to stay: Mineral Point Hotel, 121 Commerce St., 608-987-3889; The Historic Cothren House Cottage & Cabin, 320 Tower St., 608-987-1522.

Don’t miss this: Pottery venues, throughout the community. Among them are The Mulberry Pottery, 14 Jail Alley (608-987-3659); Johnston Gallery, 245 High St. (608-987-3787); Brewery Pottery, 276 Shake Rag St. (608-987-3669); and Howdle Studio Inc., 225 Commerce St. (608-987-3590).

Shake Rag Alley

  • , offers arts and crafts workshops, as well as stage events, highlight this downtown section of the city.

Iowa County Fair,

  • will take place through Labor Day Weekend in Mineral Point.

When you’re hungry: Popola Pizzeria, 20 Commerce St., 608-987-0480; Tequila Point, 43 High St., 608-987-6556; Gray Dog Deli, 215 High St., 608-987-4000; Zian’s Place, 615 Dodge St., 608-987-2626.

A night on the town? Brewery Creek Brewpub & Inn, 23 Commerce St., 608-987-3298; Tony’s Tap, 10 Commerce St., 608-987-2211; Midway Bar and Grill, 140 High St., 608-987-4309.

More on Mineral Point: mineralpoint.com

Dodgeville

Check this out: Governor Dodge State Park, 4175 Wisconsin 23. Located just north of town, it is one of the stat’s largest parks, 5,350 acres of steep hills, bluffs and deep valleys plus two lakes and a waterfall. For more information, go to tinyurl.com/y76fbaqm

Places to stay: Grandview Bed & Breakfast, 4717 Miess Road, 608-935-3261; Don Q Inn, 3658 Wisconsin 23, 866-599-6674.

Don’t miss this: Doby Stables, 4228 Wisconsin 23, 608-935-5205. It offers one-hour, guided rides into Governor Dodge State Park. For more information, go to dobystablesinc.webs.com.

When you’re hungry: Bob’s Bitchin’ BBQ, 167 N. Iowa St., 608-930-2227; Aztlan Mexican Grill, 233 N. Iowa St., 608-930-7400.

A night on the town? Red Room Bar & Restaurant, 108 E. Merrimac St., 608-935-7108; Duke’s Brewpub and Ale House, 105 E. Chapel St., 608-930-2900.

More on Dodgeville: www.dodgeville.com

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