Historic Paoli


Peter Matts first purchased land in what is now known as Paoli in 1846. His first building was a sawmill in 1847. He platted the growing village in 1856 and named it Paoli after a town near his Pennsylvania birthplace. Peter Matts worked on the first capital building in Madison and also served 2 terms as the sheriff of Dane County. The one room schoolhouse was built in 1854. A second room was added around the turn of the century. It was last used in 1972 by the Belleville School District.

By the mid-1870’s, Paoli boasted a bustling gristmill, a cheese factory, two hotels, a couple of churches, a school, a saloon, a dance hall, a doctor and several tradesmen. A stroll through this historic Sugar River town takes you past stone buildings constructed before the Civil War and into shops offering work by contemporary artisans.


Historic Paoli is the perfect destination for a day trip.

Paoli’s beginnings

Views of Paoli today