The abundance of whitefish in the Lake Michigan bay that frames this village gave it its name. The whitefish also helped feed the appetites of patrons of the resorts that once graced the community. Whitefish Bay quickly grew away from fishing and resorts to become the “Gold Coast” village north of Milwaukee. Nestled close enough to the city to allow an easy work commute, yet far enough away to provide an attractive community atmosphere, Whitefish Bay became a desirable location for families to put down roots. Stately homes went up alongside early farmhouses. Stores and other vibrant commercial enterprises quickly followed along with schools, churches, clubs, and organizations that continue to provide residents with a strong sense of community.
The village’s history will be of interest to anyone who has had the good fortune of living in Whitefish Bay or who may be researching the history of relatives from the area. The author has selected the best images from over 400 photographs in the Whitefish Bay Historical Society’s extensive photographic archives—many of which were never before published—to narrate this visual voyage, charting the course of a lovely backwater transformed into a vibrant and inviting community.
The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.
About Thomas H. Fehring (Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author)
Tom Fehring is an engineer by training and practice, having worked for thirty-five years at "keeping the lights on" at Wisconsin Energy Corporation and its various subsidiaries. Earlier in his career, he worked for a time at Falk Corporation, Briggs & Stratton and Ford Motor Company.
He was born and grew up in Milwaukee in the shadows of the A.O. Smith factory near 35th and Capitol Drive. Fehring attended Marquette University and attained bachelor and master's degrees in Mechanical Engineering. Along the way he married. He and his wife Suzan have raised three children.
Fehring considers himself an accidental historian. Early in his engineering career one of his supervisors helped to "plant the seed" that led to a fascination with industrial history. That supervisor encouraged him to give back to the engineering profession by volunteering his time and talents. Taking to the call, Fehring served for years as the history and heritage chair of the local chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). He eventually was named to the Society's international history and heritage committee, which he chairs. Forty years later, industrial archeology continues to be his hobby and an important part of his life.
Fehring also serves on the Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, Historic Preservation Commission. He has published two books on the Village's history.
Fehring first published a book on Milwaukee's industrial heritage in 1980. It was a modest effort, but was surprisingly well received. Since then he has continued to gather information and materials about the early companies of Milwaukee, the incredible machines that were built here over the years, and the innovative engineers who designed them.