The Town of Deerfield, located in western Waushara County, lies in central Wisconsin west of the City of Wautoma. Concerned about the impact that development may have on the town, the Deerfield Town Board and Waushara County entered into an agreement with East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (ECWRPC) to prepare a community management plan. The community management plan was used as the basis for this comprehensive plan and the content of the existing conditions report of this comprehensive plan is primarily from the community management plan.
One of the first steps in the planning process was soliciting input from all town residents. The community management committee along with the ECWRPC prepared a survey that was distributed to all property owners within the Town of Deerfield. The results indicated that the preservation of farmland, wetlands, forestland and open space, and small businesses opportunities were supported by over seventy percent of all respondents. A summary of the Town of Deerfield's survey results are presented in Volume Two, Appendix A, a full report is available separately.
Settlers began to inhabit the western part of Waushara County, in what is now the Town of Deerfield, in the the mid-1850's. The town was named Deerfield in honor of an old New England town and because of the deer seen playing in the fields in the mid-1850's Rich in history, the town was once home to Native Americans. Evidence of its early history are still seen today neat the White River Millpond. Two Indian Mounds can be found in this area, as well as the remains of an earthen enclosure, traces of an old campsite, the grave of Big John, a local Indian chief of some distinction, and a cluster of small pits that may have been used to store food. An old grist and flour mill, known as Cox's, could also be found in this area in the 1860's as well as a school house. During the 1920's, the Dahlke Company of Neshkoro intended to build a dam on the millpond to generate electricity. While this project wasn't successful, it did raise the water level enough to support the many summer and permanent residences that exist on the pond today.
The following lakes are located in the Town of Deerfield: Fish Lake, a moderate sized landlocked seepage lake; Crooked Lake, a small lake located east of Fish Lake; Bohn Lake, a small landlocked seepage lake; Lake Virginia, a small seepage lake supplemented by springs; Hartford (Lyman’s) Lake, a small landlocked seepage lake; Marl Lake, an essentially landlocked seepage lake having an intermittent inlet that enters in the northwest corner, a lake district(Marl Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District) was formed in 1988 to address the problem of declining water quality in the lake; Ueeck Lake between Hartford and Marl Lake; Round Lake, a small lake located between Pine Lake and Crooked Lake; and the (White River) Mill Pond (Upper), a moderate size impoundment on the West Branch of the White River. This headwater pond has no inlet, seepage is aided by spring activity, and a 30-foot dam is located at the outlet.
Two county-maintained park facilities exist in the Town of Deerfield. Marl Lake County Park, located on the east end of Marl Lake between Wautoma and Hancock, is about ¼ mile north of CTH C on 12th Avenue. This 24-acre wooded site is leased by the county from the town. Facilities include a paved boat ramp, a shelter, restroom facilities, picnic facilities, play equipment, drinking water, and an unimproved swimming beach.
George Sorenson Natural Area is a 78-acre county park site located on Hartford (Lyman’s) Lake near CTH C about four miles east of Hancock. To enhance the lake’s natural setting and small size, Waushara County planned minimal development for this site. Present development is limited to a small parking area off of 11th Avenue, which provides walk-in access to the lake.
PUBLIC AND COMMUNITY FACILITIES
Town Hall – The Deerfield Town Hall is located on the north side of CTH C, near the intersection of CTH B about 3-1/2 miles east of the Village of Hancock. The town hall, built around 1894, was remodeled in 1994. Elections and town meetings, including town board meetings, which are held on the second Tuesday of the month, are held here. In addition, the building houses the town records and provides office space for town officials. The building is available for rent to town residents for special events.
Another early step in the planning process was the SWOT analysis. During the SWOT analysis, the Deerfield planning committee was asked to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the town. The exercise was intended to provide the committees with a better understanding of the perception of the community and some of the issues that the community faces. According to the SWOT analysis, the committee felt that recreational land and an adequate water supply were the greatest strengths that the community offered, while benefits would be gained from a sewer system around the lakes, better enforcement of building codes and environmental regulation (enforcement) of the town's lakes. There is an opportunity to preserve what already exists, practice sustainable forestry and educate residents about farmland preservation and trusts. The committee felt that the greatest threat that the town faced was unregulated development, pollution of the lakes and air and forest diseases.