Astor Street neighborhood home to Green Bay history
You can feel the history as you walk around the Astor Street neighborhood in Green Bay.
The neighborhood was designated a Historic District in 1980 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Perhaps the best-known structure in the neighborhood is Hazelwood, a great example of Greek Revival architecture, built overlooking the Fox River in 1837.
Hazelwood served as the home to three generations of the Martin family -- a political and culture force in the city and state for 100 years. Morgan Martin, a prominent attorney and civic leader, bought the land on which Hazelwood is built from John Jacob Astor in 1837.
Martin was elected president of the state convention, which drafted the Wisconsin constitution in 1848 and helped lay the foundation for statehood. He later served in Congress.
Elizabeth Martin, Morgan's wife, wrote about life in early Wisconsin. Deborah Beaumont Martin, the youngest child of Morgan and Elizabeth, was the head librarian of the Kellogg Public Library for 30 years and along with her sister, Sarah, and Ella Hoes Neville, authored, "Historic Green Bay," one of the first written accounts of the settlement.
Hazelwood sits on its original site. It has 10 rooms, filled with art and artifacts. It was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1964 and purchased by the Brown County Historical Society in 1989. Tours of Hazelwood are conducted May through August.
The historic attraction to the Astor Street neighborhood does not stop with Hazelwood. Indian burial grounds can be found along Grignon Street.
French fur trader cabins, dating back to 1745, were located along what now is Adams Street. Charles de Langlade, the first permanent white settler in Wisconsin, made his home in the district in 1765.
In 1797, Pierre Grignon built the first grist mill in Wisconsin on Madison Street. The first Catholic and Presbyterian churches in the state were located in the Astor Street area.
The neighborhood is named Astor for a good reason. In 1835, John Jacob Astor platted Town of Astor. That town united with the Town of Navarino to form the Borough of Green Bay in 1838.
As the borough developed, an area known as "The Hill" in the Astor district became a place for many of the finest homes in the community. Page 1 of 2 (view all on one page)
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