We Love Wisconsin
West Bend couple collect the history of their hometown
WEST BEND - The origin of West Bend dates all the way back to the early 1840s when settlers were making the trek from Milwaukee to Fond du Lac.
"They needed a stopping point about half way," said Lee Krueger. "They came across a bend in the Milwaukee River. They may have said let's camp and set up a tent at the west bend of the river."
Hence the name, West Bend.
Historians Lee and Mary Krueger have lived in West Bend all their lives. They said West Bend was once the largest producer of dairy in the state.
"Train car-loads of condensed milk were shipped out every day," Mary Krueger explained. "To Milwaukee, Chicago, New York, and around the world."
Near the turn of the century, the industrial and financial economy began to boom. Many have said West Bend was immune to the Great Depression.
The Krueger's family roots run deep in the area. Mary's relatives were dairy farmers while Lee's great-grandfather was a 49er who started up a lumber mill.
There's so much history in the area the Krueger's decided to write a book, "The Town of West Bend. A collection of Histories, Stories, and Memories of the Farms and Lakes."
"We call it the genealogy of the land," Lee said.
According to the Kruegers, many families didn't know the history of their property.
"People told us 'This is about my family! I didn't know any of this!'" Mary recalled.
Thanks to the book, the city's rich history will live until the end of time.
"We wanted to keep it preserved," Mary said. "(Otherwise) it would be lost forever."