A Lakefront in Transition

Photographed February 28, 2014
Port Washington, Ozaukee County, Wisconsin
43° 23.228′ N, 87° 52.071′ W

A Lakefront in Transition
1835: Port Washington is founded. No natural harbor exists.

Circa 1844: A private pier is built at the end of "Pier" Street.

1849: The first lighthouse and keeper's dwelling is built on the north bluff (St. Mary's Hill).

1860: New cream city brick light station with a tower capping its roof is built on the same site. Three private piers now extend out into the lake.

1870: The federal government funds the construction of the first artificial harbor on the Great Lakes. It consists of two east/west piers extending from the mouth of Sauk Creek and the current west slip. A north slip is built soon after to reduce the storm surges.

1889: A wooden pierhead lighthouse is erected at the end of north pier.

1931-1935: The present federal breakwater and lighthouse is built. Electric generating plant and docking facility is constructed at the same time, creating a whole new harbor. Instead of making a safer harbor, the result is a harbor that provides safe refuge only in fair weather.

1981: Federal funds are appropriated to create a safe inner harbor. The marina is built as a joint city/county/state project. West and north slips are still unprotected.

1997: Port Washington enlarges the marina by closing off the north slip and cutting a channel through the peninsula.
The marker is part of the Commercial Fisherman's Memorial located at Rotary Park at the farthest east end of West Grand Avenue / Wisconsin Highway 32, Port Washington, Wisconsin 53074.

Port Washington Port Fish Day ("The World's Largest One Day Outdoor Fish Fry")


The marker is located at Rotary Park.

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