Green Bay - Encyclopedia

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GREEN BAY, a city and the county-seat of Brown county, Wisconsin, U.S.A., at the S. extremity of Green Bay, at the mouth of the Fox river, 114 m. N. of Milwaukee. Pop. (1890) 9069; (1900) 18,684, of whom 4022 were foreign-born and 33 were negroes; (1910 census) 25,236. The city is served by the Chicago & North-Western, the Chicago, Milwaukee & St Paul, the Kewaunee, Green Bay & Western, and the Green Bay & Western railways, by an inter-urban electric railway connecting with other Fox River Valley cities, and by lake and river steamboat lines. Green Bay lies on high level ground on both sides of the river, which is here crossed by several bridges. The city has the Kellogg Public Library, the Brown County Court House, two high schools, a business college, several academies, two hospitals, an orphan asylum and the State Odd Fellows' Home. It is the seat of a Roman Catholic cathedral, the bishopric being the earliest established in the North-west. The so-called "Tank Cottage," now in Washington Park, is said to be the oldest house in Wisconsin; it was built on the W. bank of the river near its mouth by Joseph Roy, a French-Canadian voyageur, in 1766, was subsequently somewhat modified, and in 1908 was bought and removed to its present site by the Green Bay Historical Society. Midway between Green Bay and De Pere (5 m. S.W. of Green Bay) is the state reformatory, opened in 1899-1901. Green Bay's fine harbour accommodates a considerable lake commerce, and the city is the most important railway and wholesale distributing centre in N.E. Wisconsin. Its manufactures include lumber and lumber products, furniture, wagons, woodenware, farm implements and machinery, flour, beer, canned goods, brick and tile and dairy products; and it has lumber yards, grain elevators, fish warehouses and railway repair shops. The total value of the factory product in 1905 was $4,873,027, an increase of 79.9% since 1900. The first recorded visit of a European to the vicinity of what is now Green Bay is that of Jean Nicolet, who was sent west by Champlain in 1634, and found, probably at the Red Banks, some 10 m. below the present city, a village of Winnebago Indians, who he thought at first were Chinese. Between 1654 and 1658 Radisson and Groseilliers and other coureurs des bois were at Green Bay. Claude Jean Allouez, the Jesuit missionary, established a mission on the W. shore of the bay, about 20 m. from the present city. Later he removed his mission to the Red Banks, and in the winter of 1671-1672 established it permanently 5 m. above the present city, at Rapides des Peres, on the E. shore of the Fox river. In 1673 Joliet and Marquette visited the spot. In 1683-1685 Le Sueur and Nicholas Perrot traded with the Indians here. In 1718-1720 Fort St Francis was erected at the mouth of the river on the W. bank, and after being several times deserted was permanently re-established in 1732. About 1745 Augustin de Langlade established a trading post at La Baye and later brought his family there from Mackinac. This was the first permanent settlement at Green Bay and in Wisconsin. The British garrison which occupied the fort from 1761 to 1763, during which time the fort received the name of Fort Edward Augustus, was removed at the time of Pontiac's rising, and the fort was never re-garrisoned by the English, except for a short time during the War of 1812. The inhabitants of La Baye were, however, acknowledged subjects of Great Britain, the jurisdiction of the United States being practically a dead letter until the American fort (Fort Howard) was garrisoned in 1816. As early as 1810 fur traders, employed by John Jacob Astor, were stationed here; about 1820 Astor erected a warehouse and other buildings; and for many years Green Bay consisted of two distinct settlements, Astor and Navarino, which were finally united in 1839 as Green Bay. The city was chartered in 1854. In 1893 Fort Howard was consolidated with it. The Green Bay Intelligencer, the first newspaper in Wisconsin, began publication here in 1833.

See Neville and Martin, Historic Green Bay (Green Bay, 1893); and Martin and Beaumont, Old Green Bay (Green Bay, 1900).

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