Old Town of Humboldt

On the far northern end of Riverwest was a town named Humboldt, the namesake of the street. The town was built to equip a distillery, flour, and paper mills which used the river as its source of power by way of a dam. The dam, which was located just south of Capitol Drive was destroyed several times by high water in the 1850s and again in the 1860s, and was eventually abandoned.  The factories succumbed to the elements.  The distillery fell into the river in 1862 and the the paper and flour mill were destroyed by fire in 1866.  If you know where to look you can still see some evidence of their existence.  — Mark Towne

courtesy of oldmilwaukee.net

According to census information, in 1860, Humboldt was an unincorporated community home to workers (968 households!) in nearby flour and paper mills. Residents were primarily German immigrants.  Reflecting the demographics, which consisted primarily of German immigrants, street names included “Leibnitz,” “Schiller,” and “Goethe”.

To learn more about this bit of local history check out “Relics of Old Humboldt,” an article published in Evening Wisconsin in 1897, posted on OldMilwaukee.net.