Whiskey Corners, 100 years ago 1910
With the coming of the railroad, Main Street had to be bent south at the Frank Pfeil Farm (today Lied's Nursery) thus this became a major intersection. It claimed lives through the years because of the odd configuration and the tendency of some drivers trying to take the corners at too high a speed.
In the recent reconstruction of Highway 74, this intersection has received a major make over. It is now much wider and there is more signage including traffic lights. Meanwhile the railroad bridge has aged and the 100-year-old concrete is flaking here and there.
In 1962, with the opening of the nearby Sussex Hamilton High School, the bridge took on a new life as the billboard for graffiti. It is estimated that some stretches of this bridge abutment have nearly 50 layers of paint as each class tried to out-do the preceding class by adding initials, hearts, fighting challenges, etc. However, with a new police regime in Sussex, augmented by a similar group in the Town of Lisbon, plus a public push, graffiti has been painted over as fast as it occurs and possibly the continuance has been broken.
The big deal in 1910 was that a third railroad coming through Lisbon was in the works. The North Western Railroad took two years to complete in the adjacent towns of Menomonee and Lisbon.
As a reference, the Sussex Depot for the North Western Railroad was built in the fall of 1910. Today, this depot has been moved from its original site to downtown Sussex and is the home of the Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society.
The construction created a massive disturbance for Sussex, Lannon and Menomonee Falls because where Sussex-Templeton Main Street east crossed Town Line Road, forming a "four corners" was the Lannon Post Office, a store and tavern, but all in the Town of Menomonee.
The tavern back then was named after the creek that snaked south past St. James Catholic Church and Willow Springs School. The 1873 map lists the name of this tributary to the lower Fox River as Spring Creek and the nearby school acquired the name, Willow Springs School. According to old maps it seems this Springs Tavern was on the south side of Mill Road. However, when the North Western Railroad right-of-way was laid out, the tavern had to go.
This leads to a July 8, 1910 bit of information in the Menomonee Falls News:
"Henry Umhoefer took possession of McCarty Springs Tavern July 1. The change of location and the obliterating of the old site long known as 'Whiskey Corners' with the coming of the forty foot grade, and underway passageway has created a new name for the former hostelry."
So the current Alber's Whisky Corners was a rebuild job in 1910.
The success of Whiskey Corners just east of Town Line Road was helped by the recalcitrant policies of the Town of Lisbon which did not seem to allow taverns other than in Sussex-Templeton up until 1970 when Joe Marcheses broke the log jam for a Lisbon tavern license.
In time, the Lannon Springs Post Office left the area of Town Line Road and Mill Road in 1873. Mail was sent to Duplainville or Sussex and later to Templeton. But in 1890, a "Lannon" was in full flower at the intersections of modern Good Hope, Lannon Road and Main Street. Besides getting the post office, Lannon got the tavern business between Sussex and Menomonee Falls, other than the era when the Gissal family had the Whiskey Corners ownership in the 1930s and '40s.
Now Whiskey Corners - which seems to more than hold its own - has a cross street competition in the old Ed McLaughlin barn, Shooters Pub.
I hear the hope of the community is that the graffiti war is a thing of the past. Time will tell, but with determination and perseverance, it can be truly a thing of the past, RIP 1962-2008.