Waukesha is the county seat of Waukesha County, WI. In the 2010 census, the city population was over 70,000. In 1834, Waukesha was first inhabited by European-Americans. The first settler of the land was Morris D. Cutler. The land was a vast empty grassland when the early settlers arrived. They cleared the area and laid out farms, and also made roads. Over the years, they constructed government establishments as well as post routes.
The first inhabitants of Waukesha were most from New England, Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine. The settlers from New York were children of those who migrated to the area after the American Revolution. They were called the “Yankee” settlers who came from the English Puritans that inhabited New England. A large percentage of these people arrived following the end of the Black Hawk War and the construction of the Erie Canal. The settlers of Waukesha brought with them their passion for education, which resulted in them building schools. Most of the settlers are from the Congregationalist Church but some of them were Episcopalian. Some of the population converted to Methodism and Baptists following the Second Great Awakening.
The region’s incorporation as the Town Prairie Village took place in 1846. After a year, it changed its name to Waukesha. Prairieville became a different settlement from what we now know as the town of Waukesha in January 1852. In 1896, Waukesha’s incorporation as a city was recorded. John Brehm was the first mayor of the city of Waukesha. His term lasted until April 1896.
For many years, many people thought that the name “Waukesha” means “fox” or “little foxes.” But in reality, Waukesha came from the Anglicization of the proper name Waagoshag or the Potawatomi name Wau-tsha who was the leader of the first local European tribe who inhabited the area. The historian Increase A. Lapham further confirmed this fact. He was also a settler of the town.
Waukesha became a famous watering resort after Matthew Laflin offered the capital to begin the construction of the Fountain Spring House. Waukesha was initially known to be the “spa town” and its tasty spring water. Waukesha was regarded as the “Saratoga of the West” and the “Spring City.”
The spring’s “healing waters” became valuable to the people. Charles Welsh initially thought of laying a pipeline between Waukesha and Chicago, but it didn’t realize because they, later on, found out that the cost was too high.
Unfortunately, the natural springs have been spoiled because of pollution over the years. Some of the springs have gone dry. Waukesha seeks to get the right to draw water from Lake Michigan in 2013. However, the city was not eligible to withdraw water from the lake because it is not part of Lake Michigan’s basin. The city of Waukesha had to seek approval from the governors of several states, including New York, Michigan, and Wisconsin. They got the approval from the governors in June 2016.
One of the most significant historical events in the city of Waukesha happened on September 5, 1906. It was this day that the Caroll College hosted the football team from St. Louis University. The visitors won with the score 22-0.