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Green Bay History

Chicago Northwest Railroad
Chicago & Northwestern Rail Road

In 1862 the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad linked the area to other parts of the state, greatly enhancing business opportunities. The depot was on the west side, in Fort Howard, with the west side of Lake Winnebago and the Fox River Valley the route. The next year the City of Green Bay funded a bridge across the Fox River at Walnut Street. The bridge ran to what was then called Main Street, today’s West Walnut, in the borough of Fort Howard. Prior to this free bridge, people relied on a ferry service to transport goods and individuals between the east and west sides.

Johnson Fish
Johnson Fish
Brewing beer, catching and selling fish, newspaper business and the building of retail space; this and more is part of the history of Green Bay. Residents starting business in hopes of becoming rich or at least making a living provided goods and services needed.
Rahr Brewery
Rahr Brewery

Rahr Brewery, located at 1317-1331 Main Street was the first brewery to locate within the city limits. Henry Rahr began the business in 1866 and it became the longest running brewery in Green Bay operating until 1966. It closed briefly during prohibition and reopened afterwards. On August 3, 1887 one of the worst industrial accidents in the city’s history occurred at Rahr’s. There was an explosion and six workers were killed. The one hundred year old business’s red label with a white crest was well known throughout this part of Wisconsin.

Blesch Brewery
Blesch Brewery
Blesch Brewery was started by Francis Blesch in 1850 after he immigrated from Germany in 1849. Blesch had been trained in brewing and cooperage (making of barrels) in his native country. The brewery ran until shortly after his death in 1875. The building was razed in 1998 and at that time was the oldest known industrial building in the city. At the time of operation it was located outside the city limits.
Hagemeister Brewery
Hagemeister Brewery

Hagemeister Brewery was started in 1866 by Franz H. Hagemeister, Whitney, Mertz and Klaus. The brewery was located on Main Street just outside the city limits in the Town of Preble. It never reopened after prohibition ended.

The Civil War was fought in 1861-1865 and affected many Green Bay families among them Nathan Goodell, former mayor and Charles Robinson, editor of the Green Bay Advocate.

 


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