History of Brookfield Junction

Excerpts were taken from pages of an old 1880's publication on the history of Waukesha County.

The first depot was built here in 1853, at the junction of the Milwaukee and Prairie du Chien road (then called Milwaukee and Mississippi) and the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway (then called the Milwaukee, Watertown & Baraboo Valley). This depot is now used as a dwelling house. The present depot was built in 1867, after the purchase of the Milwaukee, Watertown & Baraboo Railway, by the Milwaukee & Parry du Chien Company. Dyer Bill kept the first post office here. C.H. Purple, now dead, opened the first store in town, at or near Brookfield, in 1852. He also kept the post office here, which was established after the coming of the railway. Fare from Brooklyn to Waukesha was once about 10 cents. John Ban started a little shop here in 1858. He was engaged in working for the railway company, when a bank caved in on him, disabling him, and compelling him to resort to this means of support. He soon sold out, an addition was built to his shop, and a hotel was opened here by Harry Cox.

A steam saw-mill was built here in 1849 or 1850, by Bean, Clinton, Powers and E.D. Holton. This mill they constructed and fitted up on quite an extensive scale, there being a fifty-horse-power engine and two boilers, but, the various working parts proving very defective, the mill did not work well. After it had been run about a year without paying, E.D. Holton and W.D. Bacon purchased the interests of Bean, Clinton & Powers, becoming joint owners. They at once proceeded to change the working parts and connections in the mill, putting in new and improved machinery, and adding a twenty-two inch circular saw in place of the mulay saw. From this time on the mill proved a complete success. In a short time after, Mr. Bacon purchased Mr. Holton's interest, becoming sole proprietor, and held possession and ran the mill as long as there was need of one in the vicinity.

The Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad Company depended very largely upon this mill for lumber for building cars, bridges and roadbeds. That was before the invention of satisfactory "chairs" for holding the ends of the rails where they unite, and one of the first pieces of work done here was to cut ties 18 inches wide for this purpose. These double ties were laid the entire distance from Waukesha to Eagle. A quantity of timber, twenty-two inches wide, sixteen feet long and six inches thick, enough to lay two to each one of the cattle guards, from Eagle to Prairie du Chien, were sawed here, besides crossing-plank and bridge timbers. All of the first ties in the several "y's" at Milton Junction were cut here, and the plank and all ties used in constructing the first railroad bridge over Rock River, at Janesville. The entire bill of 100,000 feet of joists required to build John Nazro's large double store at Milwaukee, was sawed here. When the mill closed, Mr. Bacon sold the boilers and engine to R.N. Kimball, who set them in his grist mill at Waukesha.