Business View Magazine | October 2020

250 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE OCTOBER 2020 T he Driftless Area is an expanse of 24,103 square miles in the heart of the American Midwest that managed to escape the flattening effects of glaciations during the last ice age, when nearby lands were covered by extensive sheets of glacial deposits, or drift. Consequently, the region, which covers parts of southwestern Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota, northeastern Iowa, and a corner of northwestern Illinois, is characterized by steep, forested ridges, deeply-carved river valleys, spring-fed waterfalls, and cold-water trout streams. Vernon County, Wisconsin, is one of those 57 counties in the four states that lie in the Driftless Area. Just south of LaCrosse and north of Dubuque, Iowa, on the southwestern side of the state, Vernon County is home to only 30,000 residents who live in three cities – Hillsboro, Westby, and Viroqua, the county seat – seven villages, about two dozen towns, and just under 30 unincorporated communities. The County was rechristened from Bad Ax County to Vernon County in 1862, a name that was chosen to reflect the area’s green fields of wheat and to evoke Mount Vernon, the homestead of George Washington. “The country is still wonderfully wild here,” says Christina Dollhausen, Vernon County’s Economic Development & Tourism Coordinator. “We were missed by the glaciers,” she explains. “We were basically a big sea at one time. It left the area with bluffs and ridges and valleys and not a lot of large, flat or straight fields. The land really lends itself, very well, for small-scale farming. So, Vernon County is based on agriculture. And we’ve been doing it well for centuries.” AT A GLANCE VERNON COUNTY, WISCONSIN WHAT: A county of 30,000 WHERE: Southwester Wisconsin, south of LaCrosse and north of Dubuque, Iowa WEBSITE: ty, consin Thequality of life