Bay View Rolling Mill : The Reason We Exist
Scope & Content:
Scan of 1918 map of Bay View Rolling Mill.


What's the story?:
The location of the rolling mill was chosen because it was close to rail and water routes, because the land was cheap, and because it was far enough from the city to avoid city taxes. Being that it was so far from Milwaukee proper, a company town needed to be built for workers to live. In total, the factory covered 27 acres, while the company town encompassed 76 acres around it. The factory was situated north of Russell Avenue, and east of the the Chicago and Northwestern railroad tracks, with Lake Michigan to its east.

Bay View was Wisconsin's first company town, and Milwaukee's first industrial suburb. Residents decided to incorporate in 1879, because the Town of Lake and the mill could not provide for the company town. At the time Bay View had a population of 2,592. As the mill expanded, Bay View grew by 50 percent over the next 8 years. With a vote of 262 to 147, residents decided to be annexed by Milwaukee. They did so because they didn't have the funds necessary for streetlights, sewers, and other amenities that Milwaukee had.
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