Kewaunee in the 60's

 

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"Kewaunee was incorporated as a village on April 30, 1872 and R. L. Wing was elected it's first President of the Village Board. The city was incorporated April 3, 1883 and Vojta Mashek was elected the first mayor.

 "The Kewaunee, Green Bay & Western Railroad, of which the city is the eastern terminal, was completed on October 20, 1891 and it offers one of the most direct and shortest transcontinental routes for carrying grain, flour, and lumber of the northwest eastward, and the coal supply and other traffic from the east to the west. Carferry connection is established here with boats of the Ann Arbor and Pere Marquette lines and packet freight service was offered from west shore ports by the steamers of the West Ports boat line.

 "An early settler in reminiscent mood, some years ago, gave this vivid picture of Kewaunee and its pioneers, its early business, and its activity in the late 60's. He came to Kewaunee from the north and his first impressions of the thriving hamlet are strikingly told:

 "Approaching from the north, we had passed through the Irish settlement where lived the McGowans, the Murphys, the Sheas, the Shinnicks, the Shannons, and the Fitzgibbons. We had just met Malachay Shannon and inquired the distance to Kewaunne and the answer had returned in a brogue so rich it could be cut with a knife, "It's half an hour win the roads are good, jist over old mon Blackwell's hill in the swamp under the hills beyant."

 "Arriving at the top of 'Old Mon Blackwell's Hill', the panorama of Kewaunee laid before us. Just ahead was the sawdust road across the dump over which the Kewaunee River was spanned by two bridges, while a third led form the dump to the spit of land along the beach known as 'the point'. The Point was an imposing part of the village. Upon it were built some forty or fifty houses and shacks and shanties, none two stories high, while perhaps some twenty mackinaws were hauled out for the winter along the banks of the river. French Canadian was the language of the inhabitants of the Point and they lived mostly by fishing in the summer and by labor in the lumber camps in the winter. The one outstanding object in the straggling little collection of houses was the mill located where the Coast Guard Station now stands. All of Kewaunee, except those engaged in trade, lived by, for, and upon the mill. It was then the property of Slauson, Grimmer, & Co.

 "Ellis Street presented a busy scene of activity and the modern residents of Kewaunee will be surprised to know that Kewaunee of 100 years ago did as much buying and selling, if not more, than in this day. It was the center of the cedar and wood trade for thirty miles to the west and hundreds of loads of ties, wood posts, and other forest produce from the Belgian Settlement, from Brown County, and all points west and southwest came to the village daily. On many days the streets would be so crowded with travel that it was only with some difficulty that one could drive through.

 "Shouts of neighborly greetings and lively scenes of activity and trade were on every hand. The language was -- well it wasn't English. German, the shrill Bohemian, the excitable French, and the happy Belgian made a bedlam that was akin to a riot."