Village History

As Menomonee Falls celebrated the 125th anniversary of its incorporation in 2017, the Village took stock of its rich history. In review of the Village’s 125 year journey (and its pre-incorporation history), there were many stories to tell, people to appreciate, and moments to share. This page offers a framework for exploring Menomonee Falls history by breaking down the story into six distinctive eras. The selected details below are meant to provide a few highlights from Menomonee Falls’ past.

If you or someone you know would like to share your memories and add to the historic resources that we have collected for this web page please contact Tyler Zwagerman at tzwagerman@menomonee-falls.org.

Click to view the following history resources: a timeline summary of
Village history
, a collection of historical narrativesa detailed timeline of Village history, and a summary of Fussville history
  
To learn more about local history follow the links below.
   - Menomonee Falls Historical Society
   - Falls Cable Access - see "I Remember...Menomonee Falls"

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  1. Early Settlement
  2. Becoming a Village
  3. Welcoming Modernity
  4. Suburban Community
  5. Economic Engine
  6. Recent Milestones
Despite a national economic depression in the early 1870s and outmigration to the new western states and territories, the Menomonee Falls area continued to grow in regional importance with a number of new businesses and institutions opening their doors in the 1870s and 1880s. Sunnyside School (1875), St. Paul’s Evangelical Church (1880) and the new Eagle Hotel (1886) had opened in Menomonee Falls and Fussville boasted several stores, a brewery, blacksmith shop and multiple taverns. The Lannon Springs Hotel was established in 1875 providing accommodations and a tavern on the western edge of the Town. 

          Held and Gumm General Store at the Four Corners         A prominent home on north Appleton Avenue, 1890
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In the late 1880s and early 1890s, the Menomonee Falls settlement experienced a period of rapid growth which set the stage for its incorporation as a Village in 1892. In 1886, several new streets and residential lots were created when Jesse B. Nehs subdivided his farm to the northeast of the Four Corners in 1886. The Milwaukee, Menomonee Falls & Western Railroad began service in 1890 creating an important link to Milwaukee for local industries and residents. The increased access provided by the new rail depot supported the development of a new commercial cluster at the corner of Main Street and Water Street, and a spur line was extended to serve the Garwin A. Mace Lime Kilns which began operations in 1890.

In 1890, the population of the Town of Menomonee was recorded at 2,480 and nearly 500 people called the settlement of Menomonee Falls home. In 1891 a surveyor mapped the area that would become the Village and a petition of support for Village incorporation was circulated and signed by 497 area residents. These materials were forwarded to Judge A. Scott Sloan of the Waukesha County Circuit Court who, on February 3rd, 1892 ordered the incorporation of the Village of Menomonee Falls. The first Village Board was promptly elected and the Village Fire Department was organized in 1894. A number of prominent buildings were constructed in the 1890s including the combined Village Hall/Fire Station (1895), the new Menomonee Falls High School (1896) and the Wisconsin Beet Sugar Factory (1896). 
  
          Menomonee Falls Village Hall/Fire Dept.       Menomonee Falls rail depot, circa 1909
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