The Mill Pond was formed in the early 1840’s when John Fowle (a pioneer settler) came to South Milwaukee (then called the Oak Creek Settlement) and made his home here. He built a dam near the mouth of the Oak Creek to power his Grist Mill, and later a saw mill. The Mill was operated by John’s son Alfred and his nephew Jesse Dibley until 1867 when it was sold to Charles Ahrens. The mill’s primary function was to grind corn, wheat and barley which provided flour throughout Southeastern Wisconsin, and ran successfully until 1932 when it was torn down.
This area, along with being a functional mill was also a recreational destination for many local residents. Rowboat activities were held here until the early 1960’s. The original granite millstones made by John Fowle and William Sivyer still exist today, and have been placed on either side of the dam along with commemorative plaques. The Works Progress Administration Program replaced the original wooden dam with the existing limestone spillway dam in the mid 1930’s.
Once a jewel of Grant Park and South Milwaukee, years of neglect and abuse have left the area in need of revitalization.
Currently, the natural resources of the area have been over-run by goose-droppings, trash, invasive species and vandalism. Our organization is interested in improving water quality, wildlife environment, and respect for the ecosystem in order to help it gain increased public respect and reduce the litter and vandalism, which affects the watercourse.