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Green Bay History

1800's Fashions
1800's Fashions

In spite of American Independence, Green Bay remained a British stronghold until after the war of 1812. Doty, Whitney, Arndt, Baird, and Martin were among the American settlers who pushed the French culture into the background following the establishment of Fort Howard in 1816.

Green Bay became the region’s first white settlement because of it’s location between the Great Lakes and the Fox River which provided a vital link to the Mississippi and St. Lawrence Rivers. Daniel Whitney forsaw the potential of the natural waterways and constructed docks at the mouth of the East River where it runs into the Fox. Such facilities attracted sailing ships of all kinds to the settlement. Furs were taken in exchange for supplies needed by traders and settlers.

Schooners in the Harbor
Schooners in Green Bay Harbor

The 1800’s saw logging, shipping and agriculture move into the area. The days of missionaries and French voyagers paddling their canoes to Indian villages in search of new passageways or trading posts no longer existed.

Logging in Wisconsin

The virgin White Pine forests of northern Wisconsin brought into existence new industries. Lumber and shingle mills became Green Bay’s mainstay along with shipping and farming. All through the late 1800’s, Green Bay was the focal point for Wisconsin’s lumber boom, being the main shipping center for lumber camps in the region.

1820 Population
1820 Population Map - Density dark to light

1818 brought the establishment of Brown and Crawford counties; the only counties at the time each covering about half of the present State of Wisconsin, still a territory at this time.

1828 Map
1828 Map of Green Bay- click for larger view

In 1822, a treaty between the eastern Oneida Native American and local Menominee Indians provided land to the Oneida Nation for a reservation in Wisconsin. They came in three groups to settle just west of the community of Fort Howard on the west side of the river.

On November 18,1829 the village of Navarino was platted by Daniel Whitney. On November 4, 1835 the village of Astor was platted by Ramsey Crooks and Robert Stuart, agents of John Jacob Astor. The borough of Green bay was born after a consolidation of Navarino and Astor which was approved by the governor on January 17, 1838.
First Church 1823

Green Bay’s first Catholic Church was founded in 1823 by Father Gabriel Richard near the corner of S. Washington and S. Adams streets. Adjacent to the church a burial ground that dating to at least the 1740s. Known as the “La Baye Burial Place,” the cemetery remained until the town of Astor was platted in 1835. Many prominent Green Bay residents were buried here, including Augustin Grignon and Augustin de Langlade.  Most of the bodies were removed to other burial sites after the grounds were divided into lots and S. Adams Street.

The Green Bay Intelligencer
Green Bay Intelligencer Newspaper Office

In 1833 the first newspaper in Wisconsin was formed in Green Bay. It was the Green Bay Intelligencer located on Main Street. On August 13, 1846 Charles Robinson, also Green Bay mayor in 1866 and 1872, gave birth to the Green Bay Advocate. He was editor of the newspaper until 1861 when he enlisted in the military. In 1879 he once more returned to his duties on the Advocate and continued working until 1881. He died on September 25, 1886.

Green Bay Intelligencer First edition of the Green Bay Intelligencer
Astor Bank Vault

The first bank west of Lake Michigan was created in the Town of Astor by act of the Michigan Legislature in 1835. Known as “The Bank of Wisconsin,” it was headquartered in the same building as the Astor Fur Company at the corner of S. Washington and Chicago streets. The bank collapsed in the Panic of 1837. Although the building would disappear, the stone bank vault remained until 1899.

Astor House

In 1837 the “Astor House” was constructed at a cost of $20,000, and was known at the time as “the most luxurious hotel west of New York.” John Jacob Astor was responsible for its construction, in the town bearing his name.  The hotel burned under suspicious circumstances in 1857.

1849 Wisconsin Counties
1849 Wisconsin Counties
In 1848 Wisconsin achieved statehood through the efforts of Morgan L. Martin and Henry S. Baird, both prominent figures in Green Bay.


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