Preble (Brown County, Wis.: Town). Records, 1853-1965


Summary Information
Title: Preble (Brown County, Wis.: Town). Records
Inclusive Dates: 1853-1965

Creator:
  • Preble (Brown County, Wis.: Town)
Call Number: Brown Small Series 28; Brown Small Series 29; Brown Small Series 30; Brown Small Series 31; Brown Series 37; Brown Series 38

Quantity: 14 volumes, 6 folders, and 17 boxes.

Repository:
Archival Locations:
UW-Green Bay Cofrin Library / Green Bay Area Research Ctr. (Map)

Abstract:
Records of the Town of Preble, mainly from 1945-1965. These series primarily focus on debates about whether to incorporate as independent village or be annexed by the city of Green Bay. Also includes older materials on all aspects of town government and elections.

Language: English

URL to cite for this finding aid: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/wiarchives.uw-whs-brow0038
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Biography/History

Peter Faenger and a group of German immigrants first settled the Preble area in 1836. On June 12, 1859, the County Board established the Town of Preble on land set off from the Town of Green Bay. The census of the following year found 113 families in the town (520 people), 40% of them German and the remainder of Irish, Canadian, Dutch and Belgian origin. Preble had a post office only briefly (1861-1864) during the Civil War. After that war John Smith, and then others, developed truck farming into a major local business. Dairying and farming were other important town businesses. By 1964 Preble's population numbered approximately 12,000.

Throughout the history of the Town of Preble conflict and distrust marred its relationship with the neighboring City of Green Bay. Frequent contact with the City, through such organizations as the Metropolitan Sewage District, established in 1933 to construct and regulate sewage disposal in the area, apparently did nothing to reduce this friction. As Green Bay steadily expanded some Preble citizens feared annexation of the Town's highly developed portions leaving only a shell of the former community. The promise of the Green Bay City Council to annex land only when it served the best interests of all concerned did not quiet such fears.

Beginning in the 1920's the increasing urbanization of Preble made a change in the form of government desirable to many town residents. Heated debate arose over the nature of such changes. The Town had three possibilities: it could remain under town government and allow its territory to be annexed piecemeal by the City; it could incorporate as a village or city giving it definite boundaries upon which the city could not encroach; it could consolidate with Green Bay thereby combining the whole town with the city. Organized groups of Preble citizens actively sponsored the latter two options. These groups differed over whether Preble was a self-sufficient community or a logical part of the City. Supporters of the former view often accused their opponents of disloyalty to local interests.

Preble's difficulty in changing its status can be seen by this chronology of attempted changes:

May 8, 1945 -Proposed consolidation with Green Bay rejected by a referendum.
April, 1949 -Petition for annexation of Preble by Green Bay filed by a group of Preble citizens.
October, 1949 -Petition for incorporation of Preble as a village filed by a group of Preble citizens.
September, 1952 -Proposed incorporation of Preble as a village rejected by a referendum.
November 6, 1956 -Proposed incorporation of Preble as a city approved by a referendum but later ruled illegal by the Circuit Court.
April 1, 1958 -Proposed incorporation of Preble as a city rejected by a referendum.
October 20, 1959 -Proposed incorporation of Preble as a city rejected by a referendum.
November 15, 1960 -Circuit Judge ruled that Green Bay could not annex all of Preble since this could be done only by consolidation procedures.
May, 1962 -State Planning Commission ruled against attempts to incorporate Preble as a city.
November 6, 1962 -Decision to hold talks with Green Bay on possibility of consolidation approved by a referendum. This referendum was not legally binding but laid a “moral obligation” on the town board to hold such talks.
1963-1964 -Talks with Green Bay on Consolidation.
April, 1964 -Circuit Court upheld State Planning Commission's ruling that Preble could not incorporate as a city.
November 3, 1964 -Consolidation with Green Bay approved by a referendum.

The results of most of these referenda were extremely close. However, in the November 6, 1964 vote a consensus seemed to have been reached and consolidation received an overwhelming majority. In contrast to the bickering and suspicion between the Town Board and the City Council in previous years, in 1964 these bodies worked together smoothly to iron out the details of consolidation. Preble was divided into six city wards; existing zoning and setback ordinances remained in effect for two years; town employees were, as far as possible, given comparable city jobs with no loss in seniority; all Preble parks became city parks; all Preble recreation programs were continued; parts of the Preble Area High School District were accepted for attachment for school purposes only; and a member of the Preble school district was placed on the Green Bay School Board.

Scope and Content Note

The records from the town of Preble include statistical information on the town as well as correspondence, petitions, resolutions, ordinances and miscellaneous records. They document two related themes: the increasing urbanization (or, perhaps, suburbanization) of Preble and Preble's attempts to change its municipal status to better meet the demands of a growing community.

The problems and changes caused by urbanization can be traced to some extent in the Proceedings of the Zoning and Planning Commission, 1953-1964, BROWN SMALL SERIES 29, but to a greater extent in the Proceedings of the Town Board, (1884-1963), BROWN SERIES 37, and the Clerk's General File, (1858-1965), BROWN SERIES 38. Early records in these series show how roads were surveyed to give access to land, the first zoning ordinances and the continual changes made in them, and growing government regulation of life in the town as seen in the appointment of Weed Commissioners and a Poundmaster. More regulatory officials were appointed as time went on, including building inspectors, electrical inspectors, and plumbing inspectors. Bulky files on construction of street lights, sidewalks, sewers, traffic control studies, bus routes, and school transportation show how important these topics became to town officers.

By the 1940's state laws and regulations affected life in the town in many ways. Town officials maintained a correspondence with such state agencies as the Board of Health, the Highway Commission, and the Public Service Commission.

The attempt to incorporate as a village caused factions in the town to make violent charges and counter-charges which are recorded in the scrapbook kept by the Town Clerk, BROWN SMALL SERIES 31. The Preble Centennial Booklet, BROWN SMALL SERIES 31, relates to the dispute in a more indirect way. By celebrating the town's 100th anniversary, possibly the people who wanted to incorporate Preble hoped to strengthen Preble's sense of separation from other communities and to keep it from merger with the City of Green Bay.

Evidence of the poor relations between the city and the town are mostly contained in the Clerk's General File, as are most of the papers on Preble's attempt to change its status. For decades, communications between the two communities were often impatient, complaining, or hostile. This correspondence illustrates another of Preble's urban problems. Besides regulating the increasing complicated internal life of the town, town officials had to supervise the community's competition with other expanding municipalities for population, space, and industry.

The Clerk's General File contains dozens of maps illustrating Preble's growth. For the early years there are some road surveys but most maps are plat maps for the period c. 1920-1965. A plat map is a drawing to scale of a piece of land subdivided into lots.

Most of the records of the Town of Preble are from the last thirty years of its existence.

Administrative/Restriction Information
Processing Information

Processed by R. Shuster and J. Fleckner, April 1975.


Contents List
Brown Small Series 28
Series: Clerk. Election Records, 1869-1874
Physical Description: 0.1 c.f. (1 volume) 
Scope and Content Note: Book of printed forms which give date and location of elections, offices on the ballot, names of inspectors of elections, oaths of the clerk and inspectors, lists of voters, statements of votes for each office, and certificates of election. The statement of votes tells the total number of votes cast and how many were cast for each candidate. Arrangement: chronological.
Brown Small Series 29
Series: Zoning and Planning Commission. Proceedings, 1953-1964
Physical Description: 0.1 c.f. (1 volume) 
Scope and Content Note: Minutes, petitions, and resolutions of the Commission, which recommended to the Town Board changes in zoning ordinances and exceptions to be made in special cases. Minutes for most meetings consist of very short summaries, listing names of those present, motions made, discussion (if any), and motions carried. Arrangement: chronological.
Brown Small Series 30
Series: History Book Committee. Souvenir Centennial Booklet, 1959
Physical Description: 0.1 c.f. (1 folder) 
Scope and Content Note: Titled “Preble Centennial, 1859-1959,” this 23-page pamphlet contains an aerial photograph of the town; a brief history of the town; photographs and descriptions of public and parochial schools, historic buildings, town government buildings, and parks; photographs of most of the town's business and industrial establishments; and a list of centennial patrons.
Brown Small Series 31
Series: Clerk. Scrapbook, 1950-1954
Physical Description: 0.1 c.f. (5 folders) 
Scope and Content Note: Copies of newspaper clippings from the “Green Bay Press Gazette” pasted in a scrapbook by the town clerk, concerning the attempts to incorporate part of Preble as a village, flood control, schools, selection of the town chairman, and other matters.
Brown Series 37
Series: Town Board. Proceedings, 1884-1963
Physical Description: 12 volumes 
Scope and Content Note: Minutes, reports of committees, resolutions, petitions, indexes of chattel mortgages, apportionments of school funds, registers of orders drawn against the town treasury, financial reports of the town, contracts, registers of town officials with places of residence and terms of office, oaths of office, bonds of office, descriptions of the boundaries of school districts, and liquor sellers' bonds. The Volumes for 1884-1933 contain most of these kinds of documentation. The volumes for 1936-1963 contain only minutes, reports, petitions, and resolutions. Volume 5 is concerned exclusively with sewer improvements and relates in detail the resolutions and petitions on this subject summarized in Volume 4.
Arrangement of the Materials: Chronological by date of meetings in later volumes; by type of record in earlier volumes.
Brown Series 38
Series: Clerk. Clerk's General File, 1853-1965
Physical Description: 6.8 c.f. (16 archives boxes and 1 flat box) 
Scope and Content Note: Records, primarily from the 1950s and 1960s, including resolutions, petitions, ordinances, orders, plat maps, agreements, assessments, reports of town officers, correspondence to and from state and county departments and private individuals, papers of various town departments, hearing transcripts, road surveys, tuition claims, and audit reports; all gathered by the clerk in performance of his duty and relating to a wide range of topics. Many documents deal with the town's attempt to change its status beginning in the 1940s when competing groups of citizens attempted either to incorporate Preble as a city or to join it to the neighboring city of Green Bay. Lack of a clear public consensus and legal intricacies hindered attempts at change until Preble and Green Bay consolidated in 1964. The materials in the series document the struggle both through official records and through petitions, letters, newspaper clippings, and pamphlets. Post-consolidation records deal with the referendum which sanctioned consolidation and with the means used to merge the services of the two communities. Arrangement: alphabetical by folder title.
Box   1
Folder   1
Agreements, 1872, 1927-1963
Box   1
Folder   2
Annexation of Cryan Plat by Green Bay, 1956-1962
Annexation (Proposed)
Box   1
Folder   3
Blavat and Reed Property by City of Green Bay, 1961
Box   1
Folder   4
Crooks and Bush Properties to the City of Green Bay, 1961
Box   1
Folder   5
Fabry Property to the City of Green Bay, 1960-1961
Box   1
Folder   6
Misc. Plats to the City of Green Bay, 1937-1949
Box   1
Folder   7
Town of Preble to the City of Green Bay, 1960
Box   1
Folder   8
Assessments, 1871, 1872, 1931-1964
Box   1
Folder   9
Bids, 1936, 1934
Box   1
Folder   10
Board of Appeals, 1946-1964
Box   1
Folder   11
Board of Review, 1936-1956
Box   1
Folder   12
Brown County Regional Planning Commission, 1961-1963
Box   1
Folder   13
Building Code Changes, 1949-1960
Box   2
Folder   1
Census Materials, 1955-1964
Box   2
Folder   2
Civil Defense Director's Papers, 1955-1963
Box   2
Folder   3
Condemnation Actions, 1942-1964
Box   2
Folder   4
Consolidation of the Town of Preble with the City of Green Bay, Papers of, 1964
Box   2
Folder   5
Corporation Notes Records, 1940-1944
Correspondence
Box   2
Folder   6
Brown County Highway Commission Papers, 1957-1964
Box   2
Folder   7
City of Green Bay, 1939-1964
Miscellaneous
Box   2
Folder   8
1935-1960
Box   3
Folder   1
1960-1963
Box   3
Folder   2
1963-1964
Box   3
Folder   3
Sewer, 1882-1944
Box   3
Folder   4
State Board of Health, 1947-1964
Box   3
Folder   5
State Highway Commission, 1939-1964
Box   3
Folder   6
State of Wisconsin, 1942-1964
Box   3
Folder   7
Electrical Ordinance Changes, 1954-1961
Box   3
Folder   8
Fire Department Papers, 1929-1955, 1963
General Informational Reports and Budgets
Box   4
Folder   1
1872, 1928-1951
Box   4
Folder   2
1951-1964
Green Bay Metropolitan Sewage District Papers
Box   4
Folder   3
1933-1960
Box   4
Folder   4
1961-1964
Box   4
Folder   5
Incorporation Hearing Transcript, December 12, 1949
Box   5
Folder   1
Incorporation Papers of the Village of Preble, 1952
Box   5
Folder   2
Incorporation (Proposed) of the Town of Preble as a City, Papers of, 1961-1964
Box   5
Folder   3
Industrial Commission Papers, 1939, 1961-1964
Box   5
Folder   4
Injunction: Town of Preble vs. Max Stone and Martin Baumgartner, 1942
Box   5
Folder   5
Insurance, 1933-1963
Box   5
Folder   6
Inventories, 1956
Box   5
Folder   7
Labor Relations, 1960-1965
Box   5
Folder   8
Ledger of Town of Preble, 1949-1951
Box   5
Folder   9
Motor Vehicle Registration, 1940-1941, 1964
Ordinances
Box   5
Folder   10
Garbage, 1942-1951
Box   5
Folder   11
Miscellaneous, 1931-1963
Box   5
Folder   12
Park Board Papers, 1946-1962
Box   5
Folder   13
Petitions and Orders to Vacate, 1931-1964
Petitions for a Referendum on Incorporation
Box   5
Folder   14
1955
Box   5
Folder   15
1958
Box   6
Folder   1
Petitions for Highway Construction, 1878, 1927-1953
Box   6
Folder   2
Petitions for Reassessments, (1954-1964)
Petitions
Box   6
Folder   3
Miscellaneous, 1871, 1939-1964
Box   6
Folder   4
Sewers, 1927-1947
Plat Maps
Box   16
Folder   1
1955-1959
Box   16
Folder   2
1960-1964, n.d.
Box   7
Folder   1
Plumbing Code Changes, 1939-1959
Box   7
Folder   2
Poll Lists, 1871-1872, 1939
Box   7
Folder   3
Preble Centennial - Histories and Papers, 1959
Public Service Commission Papers
Box   7
Folder   4
1955-1961
Box   7
Folder   5
1961-1964
Box   7
Folder   6
Register of Deeds Papers, 1952-1963
Reports
Building Inspector
Box   7
Folder   7
1947-1957
Box   7
Folder   8
1957-1964
Box   7
Folder   9
Electrical Inspector, 1953-1964
Box   7
Folder   10
Engineer, 1954-1962
Box   7
Folder   11
Fire Chief, 1954-1964
Box   7
Folder   12
Health Officer, 1953-1954
Box   8
Folder   1
Plumbing Inspector, 1939-1964
Box   8
Folder   2
Police Justices, 1955-1964
Box   8
Folder   3
Poundmaster, 1959-1964
Box   8
Folder   4
Town Treasurer, 1954-1964
Welfare Director
Box   8
Folder   5
1953-1960
Box   8
Folder   6
1960-1964
Resolutions
Box   8
Folder   7
Concerning Employee's Salaries, 1929-1964
Box   8
Folder   8
For Referendums, 1955-1959
Miscellaneous
Box   9
Folder   1
1934-1959
Box   9
Folder   2
1959-1964
Rezoning Petitions and Ordinances
Box   9
Folder   3
1938-1949
Box   9
Folder   4
1949-1958
Box   9
Folder   5
1958-1960
Box   9
Folder   6
1960-1963
Box   10
Folder   1
1963-1964
Box   10
Folder   2
Road Surveys, 1860-1928
Box   10
Folder   3
School District Papers, 1873, 1934-1951
School Transportation Papers
Box   10
Folder   4
1949-1955
Box   10
Folder   5
1955-1961
Box   10
Folder   6
1962-1965
Box   11
Folder   1
Sewer Bonds, 1923-1945
Box   11
Folder   2
Sewer Proposals and Agreements, 1941-1950
Box   11
Folder   3
Sidewalk Construction Papers, 1939-1947
Box   11
Folder   4
Social Security Papers, 1951-1961
Box   11
Folder   5
Special Improvement Trust Account, 1952-1965
Box   11
Folder   6
State Department of Taxation, Annual Information Returns, 1954-1959
Box   11
Folder   7
Stipulation: Wisconsin-Michigan Power Company vs. Town of Preble, 1956-1957
Box   11
Folder   8
Storm Sewer Construction, 1936-1949
Box   16
Folder   1
Street Length Maps, 1956-1964
Street Lights and Bus Routes Papers
Box   12
Folder   1
1931-1950
Box   12
Folder   2
1950-1953
Box   12
Folder   3
1954-1959
Box   12
Folder   4
1959-1964
Box   12
Folder   5
Tavern Licenses, 1870, 1942-1957, 1960
Tax Statements
Box   13
Folder   1
1915-1949
Box   13
Folder   2
1950-1964
Box   13
Folder   3
Tax Computations, 1946-1950
Box   13
Folder   4
Town Attorney's Papers, 1934-1964
Box   13
Folder   5
Town of Preble vs. Town of Matteson, 1938-1942
Box   14
Folder   1
Trailer Court Reports (sample), 1961-1964
Box   14
Folder   2
Treasurer's Receipts of Tax Monies Received from the State, 1942-1964
Tuition Claims
Box   14
Folder   3
1940-1951
Box   14
Folder   4
1951-1964
Box   14
Folder   5
Village Powers of the Town of Preble, 1935
Vocational School Enrollment
Box   14
Folder   6
1954-1959
Box   14
Folder   7
1959-1965
Box   14
Folder   8
Warranty Deeds, 1853-1894
Water Department Audit Reports
Box   15
Folder   1
1949-1953
Box   15
Folder   2
1954-1959
Box   15
Folder   3
1960-1963
Box   15
Folder   4
Water Department Papers, 1937-1963
Box   15
Folder   5
Weed Commissioners' Papers, 1935
Box   15
Folder   6
Willow Street Traffic Light Papers, 1959-1964
Box   15
Folder   7
Wisconsin Towns Association's Newsletters, 1950-1963
Box   15
Folder   8
Zoning and Planning Commission Papers, 1956
Zoning Changes, Petitions and Ordinances
Box   17
Folder   1
1946-1952
Box   17
Folder   2
1953-1956
Box   17
Folder   3
1957-1963
Box   17
Folder   4
Zoning Commission Papers, 1951-1964