Mequon's Rich History and Culture

Mequon is a multi-cultural city settled by several groups of Native Americans. The Menominee Indian Tribe claimed the land between the Milwaukee River and Lake Michigan. It included five clans: Bear, Eagle, Wolf, Moose, and Crane, many of whose descendents live on the nearby reservation. Another tribe, the Potawatomi, occupied the area west of the Milwaukee River but has since relocated.

Mequon’s name, by the way, originated from “emikwaan” or “miguan,” the Native-American word for ladle. It describes the outline of the Milwaukee River that flows through the area.

A Brief Historical Timeline

According to early historical accounts, the Mequon area was surveyed between 1834 and 1936. Soon after, settlers from New York and England arrived, followed by German and Irish immigrants.

In 1839, a large group of immigrants from Pomerania -- 20 families -- landed in Mequon. They came to avoid religious persecution and founded the community of Freistadt (which means “free city” in German) in the western part of Mequon.

In 1840, they exercised their religious freedom by planting the first Lutheran church in Wisconsin. The Freistadt community was later annexed by the city and is now a neighborhood of Mequon.

The Township of Mequon was established in 1846, and in 1957 Mequon was incorporated as a town.

National Historic Buildings

Historic buildings bear evidence of Mequon’s past. The city is home to 10 National Historic Register Places, including the Jonathan Clark House, O'Brien-Peuschel Farmstead, John Reichert Farmhouse, Mequon City Hall and Isham Day House, which is now a museum.

Virtual Tour of Jonathan Clark House

View of the Jonathan Clark House through the trees

Yesterday, I popped over to the Jonathan Clark House during their Open House. Camera in hand, I eagerly followed Dr. Nina Jo Look, volunteer Museum Director, as she gave a tour of the house and grounds. The stories and history of Jonathan Clark and his house are absolutely fascinating. What a difference he made in early Mequon's development! While no substitute for actually going to the ... [Read more]

Mequon’s Jonathan Clark House: Take a Step Back to 1848

Back view of the Jonathan Clark House in Mequon, Wisconsin, showing fieldstone side walls

Ever drive by the corner of Bonniwell and Cedarburg Roads and see the old grey fieldstone house up on the hill? Ever wonder about its history, who lived there and just how long the house has been standing there? This historic Mequon landmark is the 165 year-old Jonathan Clark House and it’s an important piece of our community’s history. And, thanks to a group of local supporters, the house will ... [Read more]