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Oconomowoc Historical Marker


Location of sign -  Oconomowoc Park, 324 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Waukesha County, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin


Photo taken -  August 2005


Oconomowoc City Historical Marker, Wisconsin

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Wayne


Text of sign:


Oconomowoc (coo-no-mo-wauk meant falling waters) 


First settler, Charles B. Sheldon, arrive April 21, 1837. The Oconomowoc  River flowed down through a tamarack swamp into 

LacLaBelle, a dam built across it in 1837 formed Fowler's Lake. Here the town Oconomowoc was named in 1846; made a village 

in 1865, a city in 1875. The Milwaukee--Watertown Plank Road reached here in 1850. Its tollhouse still stands. The Milwaukee 

and Watertown railroad came in 1854. Pioneer John S. Rockwell led in many enterprises such as the dam, mills, hotel, bank, 

stores, plank road, railroad; and in religious, cultural and civic affairs. Pioneer David W. Small was Judge of the 

Waukesha-Milwaukee Circuit Court 1870-1882. This was the home of national figures, Increase A--apham, scientist; and James 

A. Henshall, conservationist. After 1870, it widely acclaimed "The Newport of the West" as a summer resort center. Great estates 

dotted the lakeshores. Fashionable hotels included The Townsend House, Woodlands, and Draper Hall. Its colorful summer 

society era has long since vanished but not its lakeland charm. This and it's strong impulses in trade confirm its position as the 

center of the famed Oconomowoc Lakes region.


Waukesha County Historical Society. Erected in 1971. Revised 1998.

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