Interurban Logo - Link to Home page
  Click for Main

by Justin Engebregtsen

What's New About History Maps Photos Request Volunteer Links Home

 Interurban Trail

To promote the public use of the Ozaukee interurban trail for transportation, recreation, health, education, economic development and enjoyment of Ozaukee Countyís cultural, historical and natural resources

Interurban Trail

Bike Path Opening Speech by

Gus Wirth Jr.

Chairman Ozaukee County Board

What a wonderful day to be outside. This dedication marks the culmination of a lot hard work by a lot of people.

There is some trail yet to be paved in Mequon, which should be completed next spring; however, I thought you would be interested in some of the statistics so far. Your trail has approximately 14,208 tons of gravel from your County Gravel pit, and 10,795 tons of asphalt from your county hot mix plant, 20,919 yards of excavation went into the trail. The bridge over the Milwaukee River spans 325 feet and cost over $328,000.00. There are 390 wood posts, 114 steel posts and 180 feet of culvert pipe ranging in size from 36 inches to 72 inches. A lot of work went into this trail, and we should all give a round of applause to the Highway Department for the fine job they did.

Even if they told me personally, not to use the trail in spring because of load limits. Guess I will have to trim down a little. I asked Tom Meaux if I could bike to work with him in the morning, I was thinking that maybe I could ride in the back of a bicycle made for two so I donít have to peddle.

I also want to take this time to thank Governor Scott McCallum for guiding us through the maze of DOT funding, without him this could not have been accomplished.

As many of you know, this trail follows the old interurban streetcar route that was the lifeline from the urban to the rural areas. It goes back to 1905 or thereabouts. The interurban was discontinued in 1951. Some of us can remember putting pennies on the track to have them smashed down into thin ribbons of copper. I even heard that some young boys would put stones on the track to see how high they could make the streetcar jump. The district attorney isnít here is she? Hopefully, the statute of limitations has run out.

Today, you will hear a lot about the trail and the connecting of the Future, Present and Past of Ozaukeeans. And speaking of the past, I would be remiss if I did not mention the restoration of the courthouse that is the newest project that will be accomplished with your help. I personally invite each and every one of you to take a look at the courthouse in downtown Port Washington. It is a beautiful building and deserves to be recognized. Please visit it soon and join with us to preserve our heritage.

They often accuse me of giving tidbits of useless information. In keeping with that, I have to tell you that many decades ago they used the old courthouse for school dances and proms. During an inspection of the tower, we found that many of Ozaukeeís forefathers had written their names on the wall in the tower. It will be interesting to see what else we uncover along the restoration path.

We all have to be proud of what Ozaukee County means to each of us. This trail that we are dedicating today, will eventually link from the Mississippi, to Chicago to Green Bay. The people who worked on this project to make it the success that it is have not gone unnoticed. I want to thank each and every one of them on behalf of all of the citizens of Ozaukee County. Without them, this trail would never have been accomplished. Letís give them a round of applause.

To me, this trail represents a ribbon of activity weaving through communities that represent the bulk of all Ozaukeeans and connecting with trails that will expand our boundaries. What a fantastic way to bring us all together in an atmosphere of enjoyment and healthy activities.

So I leave you today with this in mind.

We must Learn from yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow.

Thank you so much for coming today, enjoy your trail, enjoy your county.

Presented by Gustav Wirth
Chairman Ozaukee County Board

Interurban Trail