West Bend is the county seat of Washington County, Wisconsin, United States, in southeastern Wisconsin. As of the 2010 census, the population was 31,078.
Northeastern Washington County's earliest known inhabitants were pre-Columbian Mound Builders, who constructed effigy mounds in the area sometime between 650 CE and 1300 CE. They were semi-nomadic and survived by hunting, fishing, and gathering wild plants. They made pottery and constructed tools from bone, wood, stone, and occasionally copper. They built effigy mounds shaped like mammals, reptiles, birds and other creatures, both real and mythical, as well as conical, oval, and linear mounds, some of which contain human burials. Some mounds in the West Bend area were destroyed by white settlers to create farm fields, but several dozen survive and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Washington County "Island" Effigy Mound District, which includes the Lizard Mound County Park site in nearby Farmington as well as several privately owned sites.
In the early 19th century when the first white settlers arrived in Southeastern Wisconsin, the Potawatomi and Menominee Indians inhabited the land now occupied by the City of West Bend. In 1831, the Menominee surrendered their claims to the land to the United States Federal Government through the Treaty of Washington. The Potawatomi surrendered their land claims in 1833 through the Treaty of Chicago, which required them to leave the area by 1838. While many Native people moved west of the Mississippi River to Kansas, some chose to remain, and were known as "strolling Potawatomi" because they were migrant squatters. In the mid-1800s, there was a large Native American village on the shore of Silver Lake, southwest of the modern-day City of West Bend. Eventually the Potawatomi who evaded forced removal gathered in northern Wisconsin, where they formed the Forest County Potawatomi Community.
The present-day city traces its origins to two communities that formed when the first white settlers arrived in the mid-1840s.