Chronological History
1634  Jean Nicolet, first white man in this region, ends his 1000 mile canoe voyage from Montreal to Red Banks, only fourteen years after the Pilgrim landing at Plymouth Rock.

Territory is inhabited by Winnebago, Menominee, and Potawatomi Indians.

1656-58 Radisson and Groseillier explore trade with Indians at Green Bay.

1660  Additional Indian tribes in area: Sauk, Fox, Mascouten, Kickapoo, Miami, and Illinois.

1667  Father Claude Allouez arrives.

1670-71 St. Francis Xavier Mission built by Father Allouez.

1673  Marquette-Joliet explorers spend one year in De Pere after their voyage of discovery.

1681  Explorer La Salle is at Rapides Des Peres to barter materials for his Mississippi River voyage, which ended in discovery of Louisiana Territory.

1686  Gov. Perrot donates famous ostensorium to St. Francis Mission.

1687  St. Francis Mission burned and ostensorium lost.

1701  Fort St. Francis built in De Pere.

1795  Neighboring Ashwaubenon is formed from land deeds made by Menominee Chief Ashwaubemie.

1802  Ostensorium found buried on bank of Fox River.  (Now in Neville Public Museum, Green Bay, Wisconsin.)

1804  First permanent settlers at Rapides Des Peres.  (Rapids of the Fathers.)

1816  Fort Howard built in area.
Soldiers garrisoned at Camp Smith, Menomineeville.  (Allouez, then known as Shantytown.)

1818  Brown County made a territory of Michigan.
1820  Additional Indian Tribes arrive from the East: Oneida, Brothertown, Stockbridge, and Munsee.

1822  Rev. R. Cadle founded Episcopalian Mission.

1829  Wm. Dickinson moves from Shantytown and is founder of De Pere.

1830  Catholic church purchases land from the Fox River to present East River for a cemetery and church.

1834  Jim Sweet, a resident of De Pere, calling himself a Achild of nature, claimed ownership of the sandbar in the Fox River between East and West sides.

1836  Brown County was formed by the Territorial Government of Wisconsin and consisted of the eastern one-half of the State of Wisconsin. Old Fox River Bank built.  (Present De Pere Museum, AWhite Pillars.) De Pere named County Seat (until 1854).

1837  First dam built by John P. Arndt, Charles Tollar, and
Wm. Dickinson.

1838  First Courthouse in Northwest built in De Pere.

1839  Towns of De Pere and Howard established.

1847  Town of Lawrence established.

1849  Charter for first De Pere bridge granted.

1850  Elezar Williams, the ALost Dauphin of France and Episcopalian minister, translated the Bible into Indian language.
First Irish in the area settled in what is now the Town of Rockland; James Hobbins, Maurice Ryan, and Stephen Joyce.

1851-55 Germans and Hollanders settled in the area.

1851  The first lock and toll bridge was built, the Fox River being a half mile wide and 18 feet deep.

1852  A stock company was formed by Jos. G. Lawton to improve navigation on the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers.

1856  The Brown County bank was founded by C. A. Lawton.
The first boat passes through the De Pere lock and canal.

1857  Village of De Pere founded.

1864  Town of Ashwaubenon founded.

1870  West De Pere established as a village.

1871  De Pere News established.

1872  Neighboring Ashwaubenon area families consist of Scandinavian, Dutch-Belgian, and French-Belgian immigrant settlers. Original offices of Smith, Smith & Roels, Attorneys, established.

1873  Allouez-De Pere area becomes stronghold of French-Canadian settlers: Ducharmes, Solomuns, Porliers, Briquelets, Dousmans. Hochgreve Brewery is a flourishing business in nearby Allouez.

1875  Rufus B. Kellogg is Allouez area's largest land owner, importing Percheron horses from France.

1879  C. A. Lawton Company founded.

1881-83 Second bridge built.

1881  Union Hotel built.

1883  West De Pere is changed to City of Nicollet.

1887  Nicollet is changed to City of West De Pere.

1890  City of De Pere and City of West De Pere united.

1891  Third bridge built.

1892  Nicolet Paper Company built near river.
Pope Leo XII established National Shrine of St. Joseph at 
Des Peres.

1893  De Pere Electric Light and Power Company established.

1894  First Congregational Church operates Salmon Public Library of 1700 volumes to be operated as a free public library.

1895  Lee Bros. Store established.

1896  Library accepted by Board of Aldermen of De Pere.

1898  St. Norbert College founded by Abbot Bernard Pennings with four students; Frank Van Dyke, Anthony Vissers, Charles Savageau, and Wm. Merchang.

1900  Train wreck in West De Pere with six people killed.
First car (an Oldsmobile) owned by Dr. F. J. Lenfesty.
State Bank of De Pere begins business.

1901  First football team at St. Norbert College.

1903  First automobile franchise in city granted to Wm. Rupiper
Main Hall, SNC campus, built.

1904  East and west side waterworks purchased by city from private companies.

1910  Turning basin between Wells Dock and paper mill completed with 100,000 cubic yards of dirt removed.

1912  Gas service supplied to city.

1914  Tuberculosis sanatorium built.

1916  Police and Fire Departments commissioned.

1917  Boyle Hall, SNC campus, completed.

1919  Community Bank established.
De Pere Journal Democrat established.

1920  De Pere football team plays Green Bay Packers; De Pere lost 62-0.

1923  Gerald E. ADad Braisher is coach at De Pere High School.

1924  Present Van Straten Trucking Company founded.

1925  WHBY radio station opens, second in State of Wisconsin, with Rev. James A. Wagner as manager.

1926  Ryan Funeral Home established by Robert A. Ryan.

1930  Fred Dillon begins coaching career at SNC; stays until 1957.
Pepsi-Cola Company incorporated in De Pere.

1931  Van Dyk Gym, SNC campus, completed.  Named for first SNC student. 
Present firm of Morris Vanden Heuvel and Basten, Attorneys, established.

1932  Osen Milling Company founded by Cliff A. Osen, Sr. and Roy H. Osen.
Fourth bridge built; present Claude Allouez Bridge.

1934  WTAQ Radio B second serving De Pere area.

1935  U. S. Paper Mills founded by Harold Shilling.
De Pere Federal Savings & Loan Association established.

1936  ROTC program established, SNC campus.
Locktender's house erected.

1937  Leland Wells is first president of De Pere Chamber of Commerce organization.

1938  Minahan Stadium opens in the fall.

1940  James Collins first volunteer for the draft from 3rd District.

1944  Navy Mothers organization formed and named after 
Fred. W. Bakken, the first navy man of De Pere to give his life for his country.

1945  Lee Bros. Store on North Broadway burns.
Algoma Hammock Co. opened plant in De Pere.

1946  Clem Albers Plumbing established.

1948  First utility commission created here.

1952  St. Norbert College becomes co-educational.
City establishes a 99.71% voting record and named ANo. 1 U. S. Small City by Congress.

1953  WBAY-TV B second television station in Wisconsin services our area. Hillcrest Lumber Co. established.

1955  Rev. D. M. Burke becomes first full-time president of St. Norbert College.

1956  Thomson Meat Packing established.

1960  First city-wide Consolidated Charities Fund Drive started by C. of C.

1965  Renovation and widening of George Street completed.
Safety Building on South Broadway dedicated.
First parking mall in city (Marquette Mall) began construction.

1967  ShopKo Stores began in De Pere.

1970  St. Francis Church destroyed by a tornado.

1971  United States Paper Mill purchased by Walter R. Cloud, Jr.
TEC Systems comes to De Pere.
Present City Hall dedicated.


1972  De Pere's Terry Anne Meeuwsen is named Miss America 1973 at Atlantic City, New Jersey.
ALes Voyageurs re-enact journey of Marquette-Joliet through De Pere. 
AWhite Pillars Museum dedicated.
Entered into agreement with the Brown County Solid Waste Authority for disposal of refuse.

Construction of West Side Fire Station.

1973  Purchase of the Wells Dock property.  Preparation of plan for development of the area for park and open space use.

1974  Construction of De Pere Ice Recreation Center (indoor ice facility).

1975  Reconstruction of swimming pools - VFW & Legion Parks.
November 15 - Allouez-Ashwaubenon Bridge is opened.

1978  Creation of TID #1 - East Side Central Business District.

1980  Termination of TID #1 and creation of TIDs #2, #3, and #4.

1980  Employers Insurance development.

1981  Construction of Municipal Service Center.
Closure of the Ashwaubenon-De Pere Incinerator.

1985  Purchase of property for industrial development purposes - West Business/Industrial Park (180+ acres).

1994  North Broadway Street reconstruction.


Date  Church    Location       First Pastor

1849  Presbyterian    East De Pere  Rev. John Stewart
1864  St. Francis Xavier   East De Pere  Father Verboort
1866  Congregational   West De Pere  Rev. E. T. Salmon
1869  St. Mary's     East De Pere  Father Verboort
1869  St. John's Lutheran   West De Pere  Rev. Bock
1870  St. Joseph's    West De Pere  Father Vemare
1884  St. Boniface    West De Pere  Father Smitz
1926  St. Anne's Episcopal   East De Pere
  (Not an active congregation until 1936)
1955  Hope Lutheran   East De Pere


East De Pere

1847  First grade school held in courthouse.

1857  Stone School at James and Wisconsin Streets.
   (Converted to High School, 1870-1898)

1870  Old Grade School at George and Michigan Streets.
   (One story building later destroyed by fire.)

1881  Two story building at George and Michigan Streets was completed.

1899  High School founded (Castle on the Hill).

1927  Irwin Grade School began.

1933  First section of present high school built.

1959  Dickinson Grade School built.

West De Pere

1864  First school established.

1870  First school building.

1880  School building converted to first high school.

1901  Lincoln School founded.

1923  Nicolet High School founded.

1960  Present West High School built.

1971  Westwood Elementary School built.

1971  Syble Hoppe School built.


1870  St. Francis Grade School begun.

1882  St. Mary's Grade School begun.

1887  St. Joseph's Grade School begun.

1892  St. Boniface Grade School begun.

1898  St. Norbert College founded.

1958  Abbot Pennings High School moved into Nicolet High School building.

1962  New St. Joseph's School built.

1971  St. Mary's and St. Francis Xavier Schools consolidated; re-named Notre Dame School.