Historical / architectural resources survey, Village of Thiensville, Ozaukee County
Chapter 9: arts, culture, entertainment & recreation, pp. 50-52
Historical and Architectural Resources Survey Village of Thiensville Page 50 CHAPTER 9 Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Recreation Research uncovered only passing references to benevolent and fraternal organizations, such as the Masons, involved in the cultural and social fabric of Thiensville. However, the village's citizens have enjoyed a variety of both formal and informal social activities throughout the village's history. Like most settlements in southeastern Wisconsin in the 1840s and 1850s, the tavern was the center of local entertainment. Unlike their modem counterparts, taverns of this period were hotels and inns established as wayside stops for travelers along primitive roads such as the Green Bay Road that connected Milwaukee with Green Bay. The early tavern offered food and shelter and served as a sort of communications hub for exchanging regional news. In conjunction with these roles, the tavern was also regarded as the social center of a pioneer community and, therefore, staged a variety of social activities such as concerts, political activities, local elections and religious services. Because of the tavern's prominence in the social life of a community, the establishment's proprietor usually wielded substantial influence in local matters. While no early taverns are known to be extant in Thiensville, the Town of Mequon Board granted a tavern license to John Henry Thien in 1844."9 Thien and William Carbys, another German immigrant, organized or were members of a number of social groups in the Thiensville area. These included the Free Thinker's Society, singing and dramatics clubs and a Grange chapter. These and other clubs were reflective of the cultural and ideological nature of many of the German immigrants who settled the Thiensville area. Indeed, many of these social activities revolved around education and many social activities such as plays, concerts, card parties and dinners were held at the Van Buren School located at 228 Elm Street (Photo Code 77/3). Many of these activities also occurred at the State Graded School and at the village's various hotels and saloons.80 Thiensville's location along a scenic stretch of the Milwaukee River created a small tourism industry in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Tourists from Milwaukee would either take the train or interurban and enjoy fishing, boating and other natural pursuits. Indeed, a 1915 newsbrief from the Cedarburg News reads, That Thiensville is a well known summer resort is shown by the number of people building summer 79"Early Taverns and Stages Are Vividly Described By Lacher, Waukesha Daily Freeman, 75th Anniversary Edition, May 1934, 90-91; "Pioneer Taverns," in Waukesha County 125th Jubilee Souvenir Album Program Book, ed. Elizabeth Faulkner Nolan (Waukesha, WI: s.n., 1959), 29, 31; Ellen D. Langill and Jean Penn Loerke, eds., From Farmland to Freeways: A History of Waukesha County, Wisconsin (Waukesha, WI: Waukesha County Historical Society, 1984), 431-32; Mohr, ed., History of Thiensville, 3. 8°Mohr, ed., History of Thiensville, 14-15, 40-45. A scrapbook entitled "Thiensville Memorabilia" at the Mequon Historical Society possesses a number of playbills, programs and advertisements for various community activities and events at locations throughout Thiensville.
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