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Port Washington 1835 to 1985

People, places and events,   pp. 22-31

Page 22

The beer that made Milwaukee furious, Preiho Beer, was brewed by the Port Washington Brewing Company. The brewery was located on
Lake Street and a portion of the building is now the Van Ells Schanen American Legion clubhouse. Notice the lighthouse on the hill
behind the brewery with the lamp intact and the flag flying.                       Photo courtesy of Ambrose Mayer
People, Places and Events
Lincoln's Visit
The details are lost in the mists of time, but the
story of Abraham Lincoln's visit to Port
Washington in the mid 1830's persists, and is
documented in a number of reputable publica-
tions. Historians agree that Lincoln did spend a
period of time on the road in his early years,
possibly affected by the untimely death of his
beloved Ann Rutledge. Local belief is that he did
spend at least one night, perhaps more than one,
at the home of the city's founder, Wooster Har-
rison, while on a walking trip from Milwaukee to
Sheboygan. Years later, while visiting Fort
Monroe during the Civil War, Lincoln is reputed to
have approached an officer, a Captain Beger, who
when questioned about his origins, indicated that
he was from Port Washington, Wisconsin. The
President then, is said to have identified the loca-
tion, and asked for the names of early settlers.
When Harrison's name was mentioned, Mr. Lin-
coln confirmed the fact that he had been a guest
in the home of Mr. Harrison.
Leland Stanford
Leland Stanford, a young attorney from Albany,
New York, having recently arrived in Chicago,
heard of a promising village to the north known as
Port Washington. He made his way to Port
Washington in 1848, and purchased five lots for
$250 in the center of town with Barnum Blake, a
resident of the village. By 1850 his holdings were
valued at $1000, and he returned east to marry
Jane Lathrop. The newlyweds returned to Port
Washington, and spent several years living in a
log house at the top of the Main Street Hill. From
his office on Main Street, he wrote glowing
reports of the city's growth and promise for the
Milwaukee Sentinel, while conducting his law
practice. In 1850, after being defeated for District
Attorney, Stanford was elected as a village
trustee, taking part in promulgation of ordinances
such as outlawing "naked bathing in Lake
Michigan." He served as the Village President pro
tem from August, 1851 to the end of January 1852,
after the resignation of B. O'Connor. Following
the loss of his law library in a fire which destroyed
a number of stores and the post office as well,
Stanford chose to leave Port Washington to join
his brothers in California. He went on to become
the governor of California, President of the Union-
Pacific Railroad, officiating at the ceremony dur-
ing which the "golden spike" was driven, uniting
the railroad between the East and the West. He
served as a United States Senator from 1884 to
1897, and founded Stanford University in Palo
Alto, California. Efforts made by Anna and Viola
Ubbink to preserve Stanford's Port Washington of-
fice failed, and the building was demolished in
Cholera Epidemics
In the summer of 1849 and the spring of 1854,
cholera swept through Port Washington, causing
death to touch almost every household in the
village. The exact number of deaths which occur-
red in 1849 is not recorded, but the 1854 epidemic
resulted in 65 deaths within a period of ten days.

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