Waunakee (//) is a village in Dane County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 14,879 at the 2020 census. It is part of the MadisonMetropolitan Statistical Area. Waunakee bills itself as “The Only Waunakee in the World.”
When the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad wanted to expand its line from Madison to Saint Paul, a door was opened for development of a town. The original location of the village was intended to be at Packham’s Mill, about where Mill Road crosses the railroad track today two miles southeast of today’s downtown Waunakee. However, two local settlers, Louis Baker and George Fish, platted a village on their land two miles further northwest along the railroad. Railroad officials agreed to moving a train depot to the new community in exchange for $1,500 and two miles of right of way. The village was founded in 1871 and formally incorporated in 1893. Baker and Fish did not want to take credit for naming the community, so they asked Simeon Mills and Mr. Hill of Madison to come up with a list. The name “Waunakee” has a Native American origin meaning “fair and pleasant valley.”
Waunakee is located at 43°11′14″N89°27′8″W (43.187253, -89.452244).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 6.39 square miles (16.55 km2), of which, 6.38 square miles (16.52 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water.
Six Mile Creek, the main waterway through the community, runs west to east before making a southerly turn through the village on its way to Lake Mendota.