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Historical / architectural resources survey, Village of Thiensville, Ozaukee County

Chapter 10: transportation,   pp. 53-54

Page 53

Historical and Architectural Resources Survey
Village of Thiensville                                                         Page 53
Railroad and Interurban Service
Railroad service arrived in Thiensville in 1871 when the Wisconsin Central Railway completed a
line that connected Milwaukee and Green Bay. The line allowed Thiensville to continue its
evolution as an agricultural support center that supported the farmers of the Town of Mequon.
Farmers utilized the rail line to ship wheat, flour and other farm produce. These items were shipped
from a one-story, wood-frame depot that was destroyed in 1965 in a derailment accident. Businesses
such as the Duwe-Zimmermann and later known as the Maas lumber yard, as well as Nic Wilson's
grain elevator (no longer extant) also located at the railroad to take advantage of the service.
Livestock also were shipped from Thiensville. While the railroad no longer stops in village, the rail
line remains operational and a fairly substantial railroad trestle remain intact in the northwest
quadrant of the community (Photo Code 85/8).84
In 1907, The Milwaukee Northern Railway completed an electric interurban line from Milwaukee
to Port Washington through Thiensville. This would later become a line within The Milwaukee
Electric Railway & Light Company system. The initial stages of suburbanization were the result as
Milwaukee commuters began to take up residence in Thiensville, as well as the surrounding Town
of Mequon. However, in the early days of the interurban, the line brought many weekend
vacationers from Milwaukee to Thiensville to enjoy recreational activities offered by the Milwaukee
River and surrounding tracts of woods. Many of these vacationers stayed at Thiensville's local
hotels. The interurban also served Thiensville by carrying milk to Milwaukee. Milk cans sitting on
the interurban depot's loading platform on Buntrock Avenue were a common sight. As well, the
Gilbert Shoe Company shipped their shoes to various locations through the country via the
interurban line. Service ended in 1948 and the tracks were removed. Today, the remains of the line
exists as part of the Ozaukee Interurban Trail (Photo Code 85/10).85
Beginning in 1832, the federal government surveyed the Green Bay Road from Milwaukee to Fort
Howard (Green Bay) and it was completed through the Town of Mequon between 1836 and 1839.
84History of the Town of Mequon, 23; Wisconsin State Gazetteer and Business Directory [1879], 485; Photo
# 1019, Photo Album # 1. The Wisconsin Central Railway would later be known as the Wisconsin & Northern Railroad.
The latter line would eventually be acquired by the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, which was finally known
as the Milwaukee Road.
8SMohr, ed., History of Thiensville, 4-9, 36, 134; Polk's Wisconsin State Gazetteer and Business Directory,
[ 1895-1896], 1022-23; [ 1903-04], 1150; Canfield, TM: The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company, 294-300,
322-24; Photos # 179 and #502, Photo Album # 1. In 2002, an interurban bridge crossing Pigeon Creek was replaced with
a new structure as part of the improvement of the Ozaukee Interurban Trail.

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