Page 5 - Summer 2013 | Columns Newsletter | Wisconsin Historical Society
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State R egister of Historic Places

SRR ecent Wisconsin Additions

EMBA S hipwreck                                     years. R enamed EMBA (for the Employees              Fromm Brothers Fur
                                                    Mutual Benefit Association) and converted to         and Ginseng Farm
Lake Michigan, Milwaukee County                     a self-unloader in 1923, the vessel served the
                                                    Milwaukee Electric Company for nine years,           Town of Hamburg, Marathon County
The remains of the early self-unloading barge       transporting coal between Milwaukee’s lakefront
EMBA are located five miles east of Milwaukee’s     docks and power plants upstream on the               In 1901 13-year-old Walter Fromm read aloud
North Point in Lake Michigan. Built as the          Milwaukee R iver. In 1932 the ship’s owners          to his brothers John, Edward and Henry a story
schooner barge A.C. Tuxbury at the F.W.             unceremoniously towed it onto Lake Michigan          about a silver fox pelt that sold in London for
Wheeler shipyard in West Bay City, Michigan,        and scuttled it. Today, the vessel remains upright   $1,200. At that point, the four young brothers
in 1890, the vessel saw service as a towed          and intact in 170 feet of water with only minor      decided that they too would breed and raise
consort to the steamer W.H. Sawyer for 33           damage to its bow and much of its unloading          silver fox and made that their life’s work.
                                                    machinery extant. As a result, the EMBA’s
                                                    hull is an important site to study construction      The brothers grew ginseng as a cash crop
                                                    techniques used by one of the Great Lakes most       to support their interest in fox farming. The
                                                    important shipyards, as well as a superb site to     Fromms pioneered ginseng growing and
                                                    study the development and adaptation of self-        drying methods, designed specialty machinery,
                                                    unloading technology on the Great Lakes.             and marketed their product in China. For more
                                                                                                         than 50 years they were the largest producer
Cudahy Chicago & N orth                             Company. The railroad began construction of the      of ginseng in the United States.
Western R ailway Depot                              Queen Anne-style depot in 1892. Initially only
                                                    a passenger station, increasing passenger and        With the monies from the ginseng operation,
Cudahy, Milwaukee County                            freight traffic necessitated the construction of a   they began the largest silver fox and mink
                                                    freight addition in 1907, almost doubling the size   farm in the United States. In 1915 the
In 1891 Patrick Cudahy and his brother              of the depot.                                        brothers began to purchase their first silver
John bought 700 acres of farmland south                                                                  fox breeding stock. As with the ginseng, the
of Milwaukee to build a meatpacking plant.          The Cudahy depot continued to serve the              brothers pioneered methods in fox raising.
Cudahy lobbied the Chicago & North Western          community as a transportation and social hub         Perhaps their most important contribution was
R ailway to build a new depot on its existing line  until the post-World War II decline in rail travel.  toward the discovery of a distemper vaccine.
near the site of the proposed Cudahy Brothers       The rail line discontinued passenger service         After suffering extreme losses in their silver
                                                    in 1956. By the early 1970s Chicago & North          fox breeders, the Fromm brothers sponsored
                                                    Western had all but abandoned the station, but       research to develop a vaccine for distemper.
                                                    the newly formed Cudahy Historical Society           The vaccine was later modified for use in
                                                    fought to save it from demolition. The local         canines.
                                                    historical society succeeded in those efforts and
                                                    now owns, operates and maintains the depot as        The remaining buildings on the farm tell the
                                                    a museum of local history.                           story of the Fromm Company. The brothers’
                                                                                                         homes remain, as does the giant warehouse
H erman and H anna                                  homeland as the model. Herman took three             where they stored ginseng and graded and
H ediger H ouse                                     trips to Switzerland to study chalets and            auctioned fox pelts. Especially noteworthy is
                                                    Swiss building methods. He brought John              the R ustic-style clubhouse built both for the
Neillsville, Clark County                           Morgenthaler, a Swiss cabinet maker, and             use of employees and to entertain visiting fur
                                                    Hans Haefeli, a skilled mason, to Neillsville        dealers.
When Swiss immigrants Herman and                    to assist with the construction of the house,
Hanna Hediger decided to build a new                which they completed in 1949.                        Other Properties Listed:
house, they chose the Swiss chalet of their
                                                    The house features deep gable and side eaves,        America shipwreck, Kewaunee vicinity,
                                                    a red tile roof, stucco walls, half-log siding       Kewaunee County
                                                    and large decorative brackets. The full-width
                                                    balcony and gallery both exhibit the decorative,     Carl and T herese S chauwitzer H ouse,
                                                    scroll-sawn balustrades characteristic of            Muskego, Waukesha County
                                                    the Swiss chalet. The interior exhibits chalet
                                                    features as well.

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