Laona, Wisconsin

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Laona is a town in Forest County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 1,367 at the 2000 census. The unincorporated community of Laona is located in the town.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 107.5 square miles (278.5 km²), of which, 103.4 square miles (267.8 km²) of it is land and 4.2 square miles (10.7 km²) of it (3.86%) is water. The latitude of Laona is 45.564N. The longitude is -88.673W. It is in the Central Standard time zone. Elevation is 1,572 feet (479 m).


As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 1,367 people, 564 households, and 395 families residing in the town. The population density was 13.2 people per square mile (5.1/km²). There were 850 housing units at an average density of 8.2/sq mi (3.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.90% White, 0.44% African American, 2.41% Native American, 0.07% Asian, 0.07% from other races, and 1.10% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.37% of the population.

There were 564 households out of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.1% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.8% were non-families. 27.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the town the population was spread out with 26.1% under the age of 18, 5.9% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 23.2% from 45 to 64, and 18.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 92.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $31,852, and the median income for a family was $41,042. Males had a median income of $29,674 versus $21,154 for females. The per capita income for the town was $15,652. About 8.7% of families and 11.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.7% of those under age 18 and 6.2% of those age 65 or over.


Laona claims the world's first school forest. The late H. L. Russell, Dean of the College of Agriculture at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, conceived the idea of school forests when he came upon them while traveling in Australia. His suggestion was supported by the land use planning committee of Forest County,and in 1927 a tract of land was purchased for the Laona school forest, the first in Wisconsin. The land had been owned by the state until 1896, and changed hands three times before it was purchased for $1,100 from Anton Kokot by the town board, which then presented the 80 acres (320,000 m2) to the Laona school board.

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