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Historic District Walking Tour

Category: History

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"The buildings are started, only with rough material, the carpenters are working every day to finish the in and outside of (them), so they be a light of the hardworking Swiss people and for the American citizens to copy our buildings...." 

J.G. Propst, 1896
New Switzerland Developer

Explore The Past 1The Historic District is located in the original 1895 New Switzerland Township.  The Swiss Pioneer Union of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with help and encouragement from the NC & St.L Railroad and developer J.G. Propst, purchased the land from Eliza Smith and divided the land into lots.  Streets were laid out at 90 degree angles.  A train depot and a few wooden store buildings were built.  The Union then advertised for immigrants in the Midwest to move to a new Switzerland in America.  Union members had the first opportunity to buy the lots; however, many lots were sold to immigrants from countries other than Switzerland.

The first settlers lived in a temporary barracks built on what is now South Park Avenue.  At first, many new arrivals could only afford to build two room houses, just enough for their families to survive the first year.  Additions were soon added.  The style of the first generation houses was similar to the late Victorian and Colonial Revival houses that were common for that era.

By 1899, the New Switzerland Township merged with the smaller town of Hohenwald and assumed its name.  The Kursheedt Manufacturing Company of New York bought a large central portion of the District in 1901 and built an embroidery factory and houses for its supervisors.

Each lot in the District was fenced and animals were allowed to roam free on the streets until the 1920's.  Most lots were small farms, complete with a garden patch and a barn for horses, cattle and chickens.

Hohenwald began to prosper in the 1920's, and second generation houses were constructed in the District in the Arts and Crafts style.  Three of the oldest houses were "modernized" in the 1920's by adding a stucco facade and bungalow features.

The next major wave of the building in the District occurred during and immediately after World War II.

So download the map, and we can begin our tour! 

Hohenwald Historic District Walking Tour Map 


Download the full size pdf file:

pdfwalking-tour-map.pdf1.13 MB



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