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Menomonee Falls History

Are you interested in Menomonee Falls history? Let me know if you have any questions about the history of Menomonee Falls and I'll do my best to answer your questions. I can learn from you too.

Are you interested in history? Especially about Menomonee Falls? I'd love to chat with you. My family has lived in Menomonee Falls since 1926 so I am fairly knowledgable of the historical stories of the Village. I also have resources (people and books) to research events prior to that. Let me know if you have any questions about the history of Menomonee Falls and I'll do my best to answer your questions. Time to reminisce about the past!

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Janet Hickle May 29, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Ah the Sugar Beet Company of Menomonee Falls. Definitely one of the most prominent businesses in it's early years. I have a lot of information about the "Beet Sugar Factory" as it's called in the MF Diamon Jubilee booklet (1892-1967). I'll put in a few paragraphs and then maybe add a picture and more information later: "One of the early industries in MF-around the 1880's was the production of beet sugar. In 1961, demolition had begun on what had become a local land-mark--the 220 ft. chimney stack which had remained standing on the site of the factory on Water Street. The factory shut down in 1918. In 1959, the Wisconsin Electric Power Company purchased the land on which the chiney stood, as the stack had become a safety hazard. Apparently, the chimney had been erected in 1910, replacing four smaller stacks during power-plant improvements. In the years immediately following, the factory reached its highes peak of production. The factory operated about three months of each year starting in October, employing some four or five hundren men on 12 hour shifts during the "run" or "campaign", and only a few hands during the rest of the time for maintenance purposes. At the factory's best periods between the years 1910 to 1918, it could produce over fifteen million pounds of sugar each year. The factory used a German invented process and the beet seeds were raised in Germany and purchased by the factory for the farmers in this area." More to come later!
Janet Hickle May 29, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Ray and Marion Etzel. Definitely pillars of the community. Almost everyone bought or sold a house through Ray Etzel years ago.....he's been a realtor for years. They've been very active in the American Legion for many, many years as well as other activities. i believe they were the Grand Marshalls for our Memorial Day parade this year. Well deserved!
Janet Hickle May 29, 2012 at 10:18 PM
I think you might be correct Joyce. I initially thought it was further north but I'm pretty sure it's by the lime kilns. I'll confirm with my resources but I think you, like Mary, are right on! Thanks for posting on my blog!
Joyce Block May 29, 2012 at 10:30 PM
I'm quite sure it's river and the lime kilns (the newer ones that were built by Garwin Mace, not the original ones Frederick Nehs built). You can see the hopper in the background. These kilns were only in operation for 2 years (1890-1892) as Garwin Mace closed the kilns after a worker burned to death when he fell from the hopper into the top of a kiln. The only question is the date. Yup, that's right, I'm a Falls history geek too!
Janet Hickle May 29, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Let me know where you live Holly and I'll give it a shot. My e-mail is jhickle@charter.net if you would prefer that. Thanks for posting on my blog.
Janet Hickle May 29, 2012 at 11:00 PM
And.....the Beet Sugar Factory office was located in the building that now houses the Knights of Columbus club house on Water Street. How do I know this? Because prior to that, the Walter Miller AMVETS Post #5 had their club house in that same building. The AMVETS post purchased it in around 1947 and sold it in the early 1970s I believe. At the time the AMVETS owned that building, there was a safe in the basement from the Beet Sugar Factory (which Cora Mae Otzelberger locked my mother in once as a joke:), and also, the basement would get flooded pretty frequently. Apparently the restroom was located in the basement and the ladies would try to go without going to the restroom so that they didn't get their shoes wet. The AMVETS had lots of fun in that building with dances and joking around! That Greatest Generation sure were/are the pranksters!
Janet Hickle May 29, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Good guess Paula. Just trying to confirm if it's the Upper Falls or Lower Falls. We think it might be by the Lime Kilns.
Janet Hickle May 29, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Ah! Joyce! Maybe you should be running this blog:). I was hoping I would learn some things from all of you. Thanks for sharing all of this information. Superb! p.s. What a story about the worker burning. Definitely a hazard!
Cathryn May 30, 2012 at 12:49 AM
It is the river where the actual original falls are in line kiln park my dad too me there when I was a kid the big waterfall is a dam not a waterfall, check out the local history books in the library out or check out the prints in the dining room at village bowl! I could meet you there done day to explain them to you
Carl Engelking May 30, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Wow that's quite the story behind the Kilns. I appreciate all the great feedback coming from Falls residents. We'll all pool our collective knowledge here on Patch!
KerryK May 30, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Great that you're doing info on Falls History... I'll use it in future as one of my resources! On Friday, I'll be at the Historical Village playing "school Marm" to the busloads of kids coming in... I can always use more info to share!
Carl Engelking May 30, 2012 at 07:08 PM
I'll be there Kerry
Janet Hickle June 01, 2012 at 07:11 AM
Thanks for posting on my blog. I'll be at Old Falls Village on Saturday with some of the veterans. We'll have a display about the WWII Monument and the Dayghters of Union Veterans group forming in the MF area.
Janet Hickle June 01, 2012 at 07:16 AM
Thanks for posting on my blog Cathryn. I have 2 of the MF history books. I'll have to see if the library has any additional ones. I'll have to check out the pics at the village bowl too. Didn't know they had those there. Probably semantics......it's kind of a dam and a waterfall in one but yes, the actual "falls" was down by the lime kilns. Thanks again for your information.
Janet Hickle June 01, 2012 at 07:24 AM
http://www.oldfallsvillage.com/eventsofv.htm#market Hello all: Wanted to make sure you all knew about the Old Falls Village Days at the Old Falls Village this upcoming weekend, June 2 and 3. There will be a flea market, craft fair, antique show on Saturday from 10-4 and then the buildings are open from 10-4. I've attached the link. I'll be there with some of the MF veterans on Saturday. We'll have a display about the MF WWII monument and will be selling key chains as a fundraiser for $5. Will also have some information about the Milwaukee area Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War group that has formed. Hope to see you there. Weather is supposed to be great.
Joyce Block June 01, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Janet, the library has quite a few very interesting MF history books. My kids & I used to check one or two out and bike/hike around town comparing old pictures to current scenes. It was very interesting and educational for us all. The library has an archive room with many old ledgers and books that you can access if you ask (it is kept locked). I've spent hours in there reading through old records. I think I'll revisit it since it's been a while! Glad you're stirring up interest in Falls history!
Janet Hickle June 01, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Joyce. What a great activity to do with your kids. I'll have to see what other MF books they have. I worked at the library as a "page" through high school and college so I'm familiar with the history room. I'm glad that they have a more suitable one with the new building. I worked in the old library (Maude Shunk). Thanks for all of the information that you've added. I was hoping that this would stir up some conversation so that we all learn new things about the history of the falls.
Janet Hickle June 01, 2012 at 11:58 PM
One last story about the river from my Uncle, Richard Meyer. He grew up in MF. "If you stand on the bridge and look upstream, then look down to your left at just above the water line and you will see what was a door but is now filled in with stone. That is the mill water outlet from Leppers mill. That mill was where the bank is now. The dam was built for that mill and the water would go through the mill and turn the grinding wheels and go out that door. I have a drawing by John Reis which was given to us by Dr. Bill Dohman." Thanks Uncle Dick. I'll have to check that out to see if the door is still there!
Joyce Block June 02, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Your Uncle was correct, until they rebuilt the bridge and repaired the dam. The door was lost to "progress" like so many things :( One more reason to share info so people can see our history in the area before it's gone!
Janet Hickle June 03, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Hello fellow MF history buffs. Thought I would throw out another question to see what everyone knows. Does anyone have any information about Fussville? Let me know what you know. I can fill in some information as my mother's ancestors lived in Fussville. Looking forward to learning from you all.
Becky Pelzek October 14, 2012 at 10:42 PM
I am looking for some history info, pictures, death notices, in or around Main Street. Hoping that I can locate info at the library. Can't wait to see if I find what I am looking for!
Janet Hickle October 15, 2012 at 12:52 AM
That's great Becky. Thanks for posting on blog. Is there any specific information you're looking for? I might have some answers. Just so you know, the MF Library has a wonderful history room with some great information. You do need to call ahead of time to set up a time to review materials as they need to supervise. Good luck in your search. Janet.
Janet Hickle October 15, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Holly. I'm so sorry that I didn't get back to you on your house history. I did speak with the Etzel's as they are long-time family friends. They said they had to look some things up and then I lost track of time. Again, so sorry. You might be able to ask them as it sounded like they had some knowledge of who lived there prior to their purchase of the house. They would probably have the most accurate information. I'll let you know if I find out anything else. Janet.
Janet Hickle October 15, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Hi Becky. I did reply to your post but not in the right spot. I'm still a rookie at this. Thanks for posting on my blog.
Carole November 29, 2012 at 12:07 PM
I'm not sure if this blog is closed - I am doing research on St. Anthony Church. I have been to the Library to look up information, but memories shared here would be appreciated. Carole
Susan April 18, 2013 at 11:46 PM
I worked with Ray Etzel in the late 70's at Wauwatosa Realty - the offices were just a few doors up from Harvey Moy's. yes, he was very well known professionally and always the biggest seller in the office. He was wiry guy and quite avuncular!
Janet Hickle April 20, 2013 at 01:43 PM
Hi Carole. I'm so sorry I haven't responded til now. I haven't done a very good job of keeping up with it due to going to school. I am very interested in your research as I just joined st. Anthony's church (became Catholic this year) and many of my mother's ancestors went to St Anthony's. Her ancestors name was Gross. Many are buried in the church cemetery. Let me know what I can do to help. Janet Hickle. Jhickle@charter.net.
Dan Schramm June 24, 2013 at 02:15 PM
I lived in Menomonee Falls from 1942 until 1970 and served with the police department from 1965 to 1992 and have some information from the past. Feel free to contact me at cardans001@aol.com or on Facebook
MFalls Girl July 14, 2013 at 12:28 AM
Janet I have done a lot of genealogy on the M. F. pioneers and also a lot of Fussville people. I have some pics online here is the link https://picasaweb.google.com/106247308169368972656/MenomoneeFallsPictures?authkey=Gv1sRgCIXq9JW-vfSObw
Tom Snyder July 18, 2013 at 08:49 PM
Dan: You arrested me as punk kid in 1970! I can see the spot from my office in the Mill building! Have you discovered this Facebook group? https://www.facebook.com/groups/235871183119028/

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