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History

History

The City of Mequon and the Village of Thiensville share a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century when adventurers began to trap and trade with the Potawatami and Menomonie tribes living along the Milwaukee River. By the mid 1830’s, many of the early explorers began to build and settle in this area which was designated as the Town of Mequon in 1836.

Not long thereafter, Thiensville saw its beginning when John Henry Thien, a German immigrant, travelled along the Milwaukee River looking for a new home. He and his wife settled near the Native American village known as Mequon Sippi in 1842 and began building a dam to provide water power for a grist mill and saw mill.

As more and more immigrants found their way to the area, the community began to thrive. These adventurous immigrants mostly English, German, Irish and Yankees who migrated from the east, learned and worked with Native Americans as they built their new community.

Mequon became an official township in 1846, and town meetings were held at Thien’s home. Though Thiensville was, and still is, entirely surrounded by the town of Mequon, it remained unincorporated until 1910 when it officially became the Village of Thiensville with a population of 289.

Both Mequon and Thiensville flourished throughout the early 20th
century, and in 1957, the Town of Mequon became the City of Mequon. The area has grown greatly since its beginning, but it still remembers
and honors the culture and history that made it what it is today.

The story of early settlers can be learned through
our community’s array of historical sites
and organizations:

Thiensville Historic Preservation Commission, which oversees
the Main Street and Green Bay Road historic districts, offers a
walking tour booklet that describes the history and architecture
of the heart of the village.

Mequon Landmarks Commission, which designated 27 historical
sites in the City of Mequon since 1981, starting with the Jonathan
Clark House.

Trinity Freistadt Historical Society, located on Mequon’s west
side, offers a unique historic village and records of their
community dating back to 1839.

Mequon Thiensville Historical Society, founded in 1987, offers
a research center which contains a significant collection of local
historical pictures and documents. The society also maintains
the 1839 Isham Day House Museum on Cedarburg Road
opposite the Mequon City Hall.

Jonathan Clark House Museum is the newest historic organization. Located on Cedarburg Road in Mequon, this beautiful 1848 Greek Revival structure is open by appointment for tours and hosts several community events each year.

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