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Milwaukee-Watertown Plank Road

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Milwaukee-Watertown Plank Road

Milwaukee-Watertown Plank Road in 1858.

The Milwaukee-Watertown Plank Road, known more commonly in the modern era as the Watertown Plank Road, was a plank road important to the early development of southeastern Wisconsin, especially to its terminal cities Milwaukee and Watertown, in the period shortly after statehood. Construction began in 1848 and it was completed in 1853.[1]

The original incorporators of the company which built the road were Elisha Eldred, Hans Crocker, Joshua Hathaway and Eliphalet Cramer, with Eldred as the first President. The terms of the company's charter allowed them to charge a toll, and they made as much as $1300 per week on an initial construction investment of $119,000. It was heavily used until the completion of the Watertown Railroad in 1855.[2]

Truman H. Judd, later a Milwaukee industrialist and state legislator, was the principal contractor, and served as the road's superintendent for four years after he completed construction.

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