The Village of Cambridge

Full of charm and natural beauty, Cambridge is nestled between farm fields, beautiful trails and a crystal clear lake. Cambridge’s outdoor adventures, annual events, unique specialty shops and luxurious bed & breakfasts are just of few of its treasures.

Village of Cambridge WI downtown

Recreation 

The clear spring-fed water of Lake Ripley is ideal for swimming, paddle sports and boating. Well known for great fishing, 18 acre Ripley Park home to a beautiful beach, tennis courts, a disc golf course, basketball court, children’s play area and volleyball courts.

Running through downtown Cambridge and Cam Rock County Park is Koshkonong Creek – perfect for all type of paddle sports. Cam Rock Park is excellent for mountain biking, cross country and hiking trails, picnicking and nature walking. Bike and snow-shoe/ski rentals are conveniently available at Camrock Sport & Cafe. Bicyclists can spend a few hours or an entire day exploring nearby Glacial Drumlin State Bike Trail and some lovely, peaceful country roads.

paddle sports on Lake Ripley

Shopping & Dining

Cambridge boasts a wide variety of specialty shops throughout town. All along its beautiful Victorian Main Street, shoppers find unique furniture, pottery, fashion, art, handcrafted gifts, and jewelry while stopping occasionally to enjoy the cozy coffee houses, local pubs, lovely restaurants, and home town bakery. Unique boutiques in town make this artisan community a wonderful place to visit. Don’t be surprised by the friendly greetings you’ll get when you enter the quaint shops. Just realize you’re in Cambridge and everyone tends to be friendlier here. You will want to come back again and again to this friendly, inviting place.

Shopping on Main Street

Events

There are many fun events held throughout the year from the spring Girls Night Out &  Diva Day to the Lake Ripley Ride & Cannonball Run, free summer outdoor concerts to the Cambridge Country Christmas celebration in December.  Calendar of Events.

History

Cambridge was established in 1847 by Norwegian and Scottish settlers. Within a few years, saw and grist mills, two general stores, two hotels, a boot and shoe shop, a harness shop, cabinet shop, a tailor, a milliner store (located in The Victorian) and a saloon all lined Main Street. One of the hotels on Main Street still stands and is currently home to the jewelry store.

By the 1860’s, Cambridge had grown to a population of 250. The residents were mostly retired farmers and shop keepers. Many of the village’s young men enlisted to serve in the Civil War. A statue in the Village Square today honors the veterans of that war.

In 1890 a fire broke out that destroyed much of the business district, as well as some of the homes on upper Main Street where The Victorian is located.

Vacationers started coming to Cambridge and Lake Ripley from Chicago as far back as the 1800’s.  By the 1900’s, the population had grown to 700. In the 1920’s the automobile had a profound impact on Cambridge spurring its growth as a popular tourist town.

In the 1900’s, Cambridge became a prosperous town filled with quaint shops, restaurants and a beautiful public beach on Lake Ripley. Festivals, vacation getaways and the talent of local artisans bring vacationers to our small village to this day.

Cambridge became a world renowned pottery town with the help of Jim Rowe whose innovative effort to revive the historic Americana salt glazed pottery of the 1800’s soon became very popular with collectors throughout the United States. Cambridge has a strong artistic community consisting of a diverse collection of independently owned businesses and services. Inside Victorian storefronts and century old buildings are a variety of specialty shops featuring antiques, boutiques, art galleries, Amish made furniture, jewelry,  pottery, home accessories, specialty foods and coffee shops.

Some of the famous residents of Cambridge include:

  • Ole Evinrude, inventor of the outboard motor
  • Arthur Davidson, one of the founding members of Harley Davidson
  • NASCAR Champion Matt Kenseth
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Recently voted one of the 100 Best Small Town Getaways in the Midwest (Midwest Living Magazine June 2007), Cambridge is full of everything that’s great about Wisconsin and the Midwest in general.