Port Washington History
A Closer Look at Port Washington, WI
Port Washington’s History Goes Well Beyond the Marina. What Secrets Does this City Harbor?
Port Washington history starts far beyond it’s establishment as a town in January 1846. It was initially an area along the coast of Lake Michigan inhabited by the Sauk people, a group of Native Americans who lived throughout Wisconsin. It was later explored by the French in the late 17th century until 1835 when the first permanent settler staked their territory.
Port Washington is named in honor of first President George Washington and found economic success when the Wisconsin Chair Company opened in 1888. The Gilson manufacturing Company came soon after to help boost the city’s growth. Later on in 1896, the Smith Bros. family business would capitalize on the harbor bringing fishing tugs, fish retail, restaurants and a hotel to the city.
Paramount Records called Port Washington, Wisconsin home between 1910 and 1935 while WE Energies would establish “the most efficient steam power plant in the world” just south of the Marina.
In 2019, Port Washington has the largest collection of pre-Civil War buildings in the state and boasts a courthouse built in 1854 which once served as a jail, county offices and courtrooms.
Watch: The Official City Promo Video from 1959
Watch: A Presidential Visit in 1987
Watch: 2013 Dive to Visit The Northerner Ship Wreck
Lake Harbor Lofts Tour | 3D Rendering
*Click the 3 white dots in the upper right hand corner of tour to go fullscreen!*
Interior Selections & Design by Lynn Buckley Design