Welcome to the Grafton Riverwalk
Healthy river, healthy people.
The Riverwalk project not only helps improve water quality in the watershed, it also makes the riverbank easier to access and more appealing for a number of recreational activities including walking, jogging, fishing, and boating.
Heart of Grafton: Powered by the River
The timeless draw of the River. Humans have always been drawn to water for sustenance and transportation; Grafton is no exception. Native
Reshaping the economy. In 1870 the railroad arrived in Grafton, signaling a shift from agriculture toward manufacturing. This rail line followed the Milwaukee River valley north to Green Bay. A competing rail line was also laid five miles to the east, making the ownership history and eventual fates of these lines into a tale with as many twists and turns as the river they paralleled.
From electric rail to interurban trail. The 30-mile Ozaukee Interurban Trail crosses the River and follows a route based on the Interurban electric railway that connected Ozaukee County to the Cities of Milwaukee and Sheboygan beginning in 1905. The line ran until 1951, with stops in Brown Deer, Thiensville, Cedarburg, Grafton, Port Washington, Belgium, Cedar Grove, and Oostburg.
Layers of geologic and industrial history. One of Grafton's early industries
Wellspring of blues and jazz. In the early 1900s the Wisconsin Chair Co. opened along the River at Falls Road, at what is now Chair Factory Park. The company diversified by making phonograph cabinets for subsidiary Paramount Records. From 1917 to 1932 they also recorded and pressed promotional 78 rpm discs, becoming a primary source of early recordings by the African American artists who would help shape our country's blues, jazz, and rock music.
Veterans Memorial Park
The Old Mill Pond. This area along the old mill pond was originally known as Mill Pond Park, a feature of the river formed by the construction of the dam that powered the mills downstream. The quiet water here forms smooth ice in the winter that has been enjoyed as a skating rink by Grafton children for decades.
Veterans Memorial dedication. In 1992 Mill Pond Park was renamed Veterans Memorial Park to honor the Grafton veterans who served in the country's military conflicts. The memorial features a 75mm Pack Howitzer, a World War II-era gun originally designed to be broken down and carried across difficult terrain by pack animals. Once used in training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, the piece was installed in the Park in the 1950s.
Basketball court dedication. The Park's basketball court was refurbished in 2012 and dedicated by friends to Josh Davis-Joiner, a Grafton High School youth who died during a practice doing what he loved: playing basketball.
The Village thanks you!
The Village thanks the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Fund for Lake Michigan for partnering with the Village on this recreation and natural resource restoration project. The Village also thanks Meijer for generously funding this informational kiosk which enhances Veterans Memorial Park and the Riverwalk.
Location. 43° 19.219′ N, 87° 57.017′ W. Marker is in Grafton, Wisconsin, in Ozaukee County. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: Veteran Memorial Park, 1000 13th Ave., Grafton WI 53024, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Paramount Records Legacy (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Blues Trail: Paramount Records (approx. ¾ mile away); Chair Factory History (approx. ¾ mile away); Lime Kiln Dam Removal (approx. 1.1 miles away); Lime Kiln Dam (approx. 1.1 miles away); Grafton Lime Kilns (approx. 1.1 miles away); Cedarburg Woolen Mill (approx. 2.4 miles away); The First 100 Years (approx. 2.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Grafton.
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Parks & Recreational Areas • Railroads & Streetcars • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on March 29, 2019. This page originally submitted on March 27, 2019, by Devon Polzar of Port Washington, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 28 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on March 27, 2019, by Devon Polzar of Port Washington, Wisconsin. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.