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The History of Campbellsport

The original old Village in the Town of Auburn was built in 1845 on the main branch of the Milwaukee River. The old village was named Crouchville in 1846, after Ludlin Crouch, who built and operated the mill at the millpond. In 1856 it was re-named New Cassel, after the Cassel area of Germany, where many of the settlers came from.

The new Village was built after the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Co. was built in 1872 in the Town of Ashford. Stuart Campbell owned the land and the Village was named after him. In 1873 the name changed to Campbellsport. M.L. McCullough was the first President and H.A. Wrucke the first Village Clerk.

On March 14, 1904 the Campbellsport Volunteer Fire Department was organized. One of the first big fires took place in 1908 when the Seaman, Loebs & Knickel building, which stood at the bank corner (now Dr. Krebs Office Building) burned to the ground. The most spectacular fire in all of Campbellsport’s history took place in the summer of 1933. This was the depot fire, which started when a highway employee opened the vent of a tank car of road oil while carrying a lighted lantern. As a result the tank car of oil blew up igniting the depot and several other railroad cars, and sending gallons of burning oil into the streets. Because of the spectacular blaze, outside papers were alerted and reporters and photographers from Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee Sentinel, and Chicago Tribune were at the scene. The press services carried the story, and the next day the name CAMPBELLSPORT appeared in papers from coast to coast.

St. Joseph Convent, the home of the aged, the infirm, and the retired Sisters of the School of St. Francis, whose first Motherhouse in the United States was established in Campbellsport in 1874. To this day the Sisters have a strong presence in our town.

In 1935 the first water tower which held 60,000 gallons of water was built on Spring Street. Later a new 300,000 gallon water tower was built and located in Fireman’s Park.

In 1953 the Campbellsport Municipal Building was built and located on the corner of Main & Poplar Streets. This building houses the Clerk’s office, Council room, and the Police Department.

In September 1955 the Campbellsport Area Industrial Park Corporation was formed. The first industry to move into the park was Precision Metals, Inc.

The Village purchased what was at one time the movie theater and remodeled the front of the building for rentable office space in 1974. Later the Community Center was developed in the middle and back portion of the old theater.

In 1981 construction began on the new Campbellsport Medical Center and the new Campbellsport Post Office, both located on the corner of Sheboygan & Helena Streets. Completion of both was reached in the spring and summer o f 1982.

In June of 1981 the Campbellsport Area Jaycee’s ball diamond was dedicated and named Ron Rohlinger Field.

In the fall of 1990 the Wastewater Treatment Plant was put into operation. The new park near the Wastewater Plant on the far east is called Columbus P.A.R.C. and was developed in 1991. Whispering Trails winds along the Milwaukee River through the prairie where nature can be enjoyed.

In 1992-1993 the new Concession Stand was built in Columbus P.A.R.C., with work and material all being donated by local volunteers, businesses and the Jaycees.

Columbus P.A.R.C. now meets many family & individuals recreational needs. The P.A.R.C. has three baseball diamonds, volleyball courts, basketball courts, a nature trail and a children’s area.

The CAA (Campbellsport Athletic Association) offers many different activities for the youth to participate in during the summer for development of skills and enjoyment.

West of the dam on the corner of East Main and River Streets a new Firehouse was built and completed in the fall of 1993.

A new Public Library was built in the Fall/Summer of 1997 on Helena Street in part of the apple orchard that was purchased from St. Joseph’s Convent and next to the Post Office. The Public Library can now offer many more opportunities for our area residents.

Thank you to Carole Marchant Ferber, the Campbellsport Public Library, and Richard A. Hardesty for this information.

For more information click on the following link: Campbellsport Historical Society

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