“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Port Washington in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

The History of Knellsville, WI

The History of Knellsville, WI Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devon Polzar, 2019
1. The History of Knellsville, WI Marker
Inscription.  You are standing in the heart of what was once known as Knellsville, WI. Established around 1852, this hamlet was named after one of its earliest settlers, William Knell. For over 100 years, Knellsville was a bustling community of homes and businesses including a cheese factory and cannery along with farms, restaurants, taverns and shops. In the early 1970s, the Interstate Highway Act brought the concept of a new "super highway" to the area. This new interstate (I-43) route was to be laid directly through Knellsville, and the 600-foot wide road spelled the end of this charming community.

Mink Ranch
The Johannes Mink Ranch was established in Knellsville in 1926. Valued for their high quality, Johannes-raised minks were known as "the minks that looked like sable." Raising and pelting up to 6,000 minks per year, the 10 acre family-run ranch was profitable shipping pelts to auctions in New York and Seattle until its closure in 1969.

Green Bay House
One of the earliest buildings in Knellsville still stands today and is a popular area restaurant. Originally a tavern/hotel, stagecoaches once pulled up to the same

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doors that now welcome diners arriving in automobiles. Built in 1849, it was known as the Green Bay House due to its being a popular stop for travelers on their way to Green Bay, WI. Most recently, the restaurant was known as Tulip Gardens, Nisleit's Country Inn, and General Wooster's Bar & Grill.

School House and Town Hall
In 1918, the old school house was torn down and a new one erected in its place. Once a one-room, one-teacher school house, the building still stands and currently serves as the Town of Port Washington's Town Hall. A fire on April 1, 2000 destroyed much of the interior but resulted in a remodeled building to serve the community.

Pauly Cheese Factory
Started in 1878 by Nicholas and Lucy Pauly, the Pauly Cheese Factory began as a one-vat, one-press factory in the family kitchen. With its quality products and vast distribution, it expanded throughout the state and became one of the largest cheese factories in the world. The cheese-making empire was also an innovator in the area of processed cheese manufacturing and individually wrapped cheese slices. Lucy Pauly is honorably known in history as "Wisconsin's First Woman Cheesemaker."

Knellsville Canning Co.
One of the most important industries in the area was the cannery started by the Johannes, Ganter and Sampont families in 1910. Surrounded by farmland, business boomed

The History of Knellsville, WI Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devon Polzar, 2019
2. The History of Knellsville, WI Marker
for the company which canned peas, lima beans, and corn. The cannery employed many Knellsville residents in addition to hundreds of summer helpers for over 40 years until its closure in 1955.
Erected 2017 by Eagle Scout Project of Luke Didier, Rotary Club of Port Washington Saukville.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AgricultureEducationIndustry & CommerceSettlements & SettlersWomen. In addition, it is included in the Rotary International series list.
Location. 43° 24.865′ N, 87° 52.194′ W. Marker is in Port Washington, Wisconsin, in Ozaukee County. The marker is located at the Port Washington Town Hall. The marker is between the parking lot and the east side of the building. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: Port Washington Town Hall, 3715 Highland Dr, Port Washington WI 53074, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. St. Mary's Church (approx. 1.6 miles away); Lakeside Brewery Site (approx. 1.6 miles away); Cistern (approx. 1.6 miles away); Oil House (approx. 1.6 miles away); Well (approx. 1.6 miles away); The Lights of Port Washington (approx.
Port Washington Town Hall image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devon Polzar, 2019
3. Port Washington Town Hall
1.6 miles away); Port Washington Light Station (approx. 1.6 miles away); Northerner (approx. 1.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Port Washington.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 29, 2019. It was originally submitted on June 27, 2019, by Devon Polzar of Port Washington, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 827 times since then and 208 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on June 27, 2019, by Devon Polzar of Port Washington, Wisconsin. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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Sep. 29, 2023