Jones Island Property Survey, 1914


Clarence S. Gruetzmacher (1887-1956) was born in Milwaukee and worked for the City of Milwaukee for 40 years, mainly as a civil engineer. Gruetzmacher began his employment with the city in 1908 as a chainman for the Department of Public Works and later became a street construction inspector. In 1919, he was put in charge of water main design and construction for the Bureau of Engineers, where he spent the remainder of his career. Gruetzmacher was elected Chairman of the Wisconsin Water Works Association in 1936, and was also a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers as well as the Masons. He retired in 1948 and moved to Oregon, where he later died.

In 1914, Gruetzmacher conducted a survey of the properties on Jones Island in Milwaukee. The island was predominantly settled by Polish immigrants, also known as the Kashubs (or Kaszubs). Never having obtained a deed for owning their property, these residents were considered squatters by the city. Assisted by Ralph Cahill, Ingar Olsen, and John Davis, Gruetzmacher and his team met with the local residents and gathered historical information on who lived on each property and drew small corresponding plat maps, showing the placement of the structures and property lines. These cards appear to be Gruetzmacher’s notes for a city project after Jones Island was condemned in 1914.