Port Washington centennial, 1835 - 1935 : one hundred years of progress
Early industries, pp. 20-21
EARLY INDUSTRIES Saw Mill to Smut The early industries of Port Washington all centered about the natural resources and the avail- able shipping connection. In 1847 the Moore bro- thers successfully took advantage of these when they built a saw mill on Sauk Creek and shipped by water. Almost contemporary was the North Brick Yard which was started by Woodruff and Richards who early realized the possibilities of the red clay. When crops began to increase beyond local con- sumption, the first grain mill was established and was powered by a dam in the creek. That was in 1848. The first real brewery was started by Jacob Moritz. It was very successful. An even more successful industry was that of Lyman Morgan & Co., which manufactured smut machines. A smut machine is a grain separator that cleanses grain of smuts or rotten kernels. Later the Morgan Com- pany made machines exclusively for flour mills in Minneapolis. Heavy Industries The heavy industries had their beginning when Theodore Gilson and John Maas started the first foundry. Other foundries soon appeared. One of them cast plows and hitching posts and crosses. The iron crosses can still be found in Port Wash- ington's cemeteries. New industries quickly follow- ed. 1854-Paul Wolf's tannery, later owned by C. A. Mueller. 1868-Kemp and Poull's malt house. 1872 -the Schumacher and Johnson foundry with a capitalization of $16,000. 1883-the Crowns door factory. Port Washington's largest industry, the Wis- consin Chair Co., was started in 1888 on $250,000. The Gilson Manufacturing Co. as incorporated in 1893. Other industries include the C. J. Luther Co., Barth Bros. Mfg. Co., the various brickyards and a tank works. The Harbor 1867 Captain Charles Lewis, the retired coast light keeper, vividly describes the day, sixty-eight years ago, when he saw the first dredges at the harbor. "I was sailing south," he relates, "and just off Port Washington. There was a fine West wind and the day was clear. It was the summer of 1867 and there right along the creek were the dredges at work." The dredges were there as a result of a Federal appropriation of $15,000, and a like amount from the county. Port Washington was to have an artificial harbor. The first really artificial one in the United States. PAGE TWENTY 14 Foot Depth Every year the government appropriated more money and every year new improvements were made. At first only the West basin was dredged out. Its depth was kept at 14 feet and two crib piers were gradually extended until they reached out 800 feet into the lake. After the piers were completed, Port Washington was a port of call for all types of boats from the popular passenger steamers to the little cargo schooners that carried everything from potatoes to whiskey. Fishing boats also made good use of the harbor. As more room was needed, the North basin was dredged out. In 1889 a wooden pier light was built on the end of the North pier. It used a gas lantern. Today! Today the harbor is the most modern on the lakes. A new $625,000 breakwater has been built with a powerful, all-steel light tower. The harbor wharves are also of all-steel and the minimum depth of water is now about 22 feet. As the old harbor was at one time busy and active so is the harbor today. Already it boasts one of the largest annual shipping tonnages. Further improvements are to be made as the Federal government plans to extend the 'breakwater. Disasters! Like all maritime towns Port Washington has had its share of disaster and tragedy. In the Union cemetery the tragedy of the "Toledo" is commem- orated by a huge anchor. The "Toledo", one of the largest propellers then on the lakes, went down in October, 1856, twenty rods off Blake's pier. The "Toledo" The "Toledo" had docked at the pier to dis- charge passengers and freight. It was a brisk fall day and only the slightest indication of storm. But suddenly, just when a deck load of wood for fuel had been taken aboard, the winds struck and lash- ed the lake into a menacing fury.
Believed to be in the public domain: published in 1935 with no copyright notice