Welcome to Port Washington, Wisconsin

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Port WashingtonThe wonderful community of Port Washington is located in Ozaukee County, just 25 miles from Milwaukee, and is also the county seat. Port Washington has a rich fishing heritage, while it offers a great quality of life that many generations have enjoyed.

The city can be found north of Grafton and south of Belgium along Interstate 43, making it an easy commute for several other communities in the surrounding area.  Anyone looking for a great place to relocate will find that Port Washington has many businesses and manufacturing firms with international reputations.  Port Washington also has a variety of wonderful homes for sale in great price ranges.

History of Port Washington
In the latter part of the 17th century, the area now known as Port Washington was explored by French explorers, but it wasn’t until 1835 that the first permanent settler, General Wooster Harrison, came to town.  The original name of the town was Wisconsin City until Harrison changed it to Washington.  The first settler to die and be buried in the new town was Rhoda Harrison, Wooster’s wife, in 1837.  The town’s name changed again in 1843 to Sauk Washington before it was incorporated as the City of Port Washington in 1882.

The city soon became a port on Lake Michigan since there is a natural harbor at the head of Sauk Creek.  Exported items included hides, fish, bricks, rye and wheat flour, cordwood and much more.

The first church in the area was a Methodist Episcopal Church in 1843.  The second church was a Catholic Church in  1847.  The town also got its first newspaper in 1847, run by Flavius J. Mills.  The railroad came through Port Washington real estate and extended through Ozaukee County in 1870, which improved the harbor.   The population continued to grow through the years and nearly doubled in population when Paramount Records and other labels came to town in 1910. Port Washington has the biggest collection of pre-Civil War buildings in the entire state.  All the buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.  Some historic buildings include the courthouse built in 1854, which once served as a jail and the Port Washington Visitor Center which was once known as the Peeble House.

Education in Port Washington
Port Washington schools are served by the Port Washington-Saukville School District.  There are three elementary schools, one middle school and one high school in the district. Students in the district continuously demonstrate academic strengths and consistently score well above state levels on test in all grades.  Students also have increased their community services over the years, which helps them have compassion for others.

The district has a nationally recognized six-week summer school program that offers enrichment, academic and life skills programs.

Things To See and Do in Port Washington
Port Washington has an abundant amount of activities within its city limits to keep everyone busy in their free time.  The downtown area has a diverse mix of restaurants and a variety of shops.  Visitors and residents enjoy guided tours of the Port Washington Brewery, the Lighthouse Museum, the Commercial Fisherman’s Memorial and the Art Deco Lighthouse.  Other great places to visit and things to do include two country clubs with great golf courses, bike paths, hiking trails at the Sauk Creek Nature Preserve, YMCA, a community water park, an indoor public pool, ball fields, ball courts, the Harbor Hills Recreation Center, a fitness club and much more.

Fishing is a popular sport in Port Washington, as it has the best sports fishing port on Lake Michigan.  Some of the fish you can find here are lake trout, rainbow trout, brown fish, coho salmon, and chinook.  There are also many water activities to enjoy such as swimming, boating, water skiing, snorkeling and more.  Visitors also enjoy ice skating, skiing, snowmobiling, sledding and snowshoeing.

Local events and festivals include free concerts in the park, free movies in the park, a local farmers’ market, Maritime Heritage Festival, Lion’s Fest & Fishing Derby, Pirate Festival, and Fish Day, the worlds biggest outdoor fish fry.

Port Washington offers so much to do and so many amenities for its residents.  After just one visit you’ll want to stay a lifetime.
Photo via Good Free Photos