Hilbert (formerly Hilbert Junction) was originally established in 1873
through the efforts of Guido Pfister and H.N. Smith, both important
entrepreneurs from Milwaukee. Named
after H. J. Hilbert (Chief Engineer for the Milwaukee & Northern Railroad),
the town was a stopping point for the M&N Railroad as it wound its way through towns from Milwaukee to Green Bay. Hilbert became an import and export
point for local farmers, and prospered because of the commerce generated
by access to the railroad. Hilbert has never been a large town. The current population
is about 1100.
The Hilbert School District is a small rural school district located in Calumet County, about 14 miles southeast of Appleton and 30 miles south of Green Bay. In area it encompasses about 100 square miles and is only approximately 10 miles across at its farthest limits. It borders Lake Winnebago on its western edge and includes the villages of Hilbert, Potter, and the far southern edge of the village of Sherwood. High Cliff State Park is located on the western side of the school district and the Brillion State Wildlife Refuge occupies a significant portion of the area along the northeastern and east border of the district. Hilbert has 1100 residences, Potter approximately 300, and Sherwood approximately 2250 residences, but only about 300 of the latter reside within the Hilbert School District.
The ethnic makeup of the district is predominantly German (80%) with the second largest consisting of Dutch, English, Irish, and Polish, which together constitute about 11% of the population.
The communities in the Hilbert School District depend to a great extent on
agriculture with dairy cattle being the most dominant agri-business. At
one time the area was famous for its cheese production, but the economy has
become much more diversified in recent years. Currently industry is the
largest employer (36%) with many individuals commuting to the Fox River
Valley cities or Green Bay to work at various companies. Agriculture is
the second largest employer providing work for approximately 18% of the
district's population. The third largest employer is retail business
followed by professional and related services, and construction.
Churches play a very important part of community life.
The communities in the Hilbert School District
are served by three Catholic Churche: St. Mary's in Hilbert, Sacred Heart
in Sherwood, and St. John's in St. John's. There are also three Lutheran
Churches in the school district: St. Peter's in Hilbert, Trinity in Potter,
and St. Luke's in rural Hilbert. In addition, there is Peace United Church
of Christ in Potter.