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Pleasant Prairie Village


Pleasant Prairie Village Hall is located at 9915 39th Avenue, Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158; phone: 262-694-1400.

Beginnings [1]

The Pleasant Prairie area was the center of Indian activity in pre-pioneer Wisconsin. The remnants of Indian culture abound in Pleasant Prairie. Some of the earliest traces of Indian life in Wisconsin were found along Highway 32 and Highway 165 and in the Carol Beach area. These early Indian campsites, along what was once the shoreline of Lake Michigan, represent some of the highest quality archeological sites in the United States. Pleasant Prairie also saw pioneers arrive in Wisconsin through the Jambeau Trail (now known as Green Bay Road, Highway 31) located in the central portion of the Village. In addition, several natural historic sites such as the Chiwaukee Prairie and the Kenosha Sand Dunes lie undisturbed in the eastern portion of Pleasant Prairie and provide Wisconsin residents with an opportunity to see what Wisconsin looked like before the advent of our earliest settlers.

Pleasant Prairie originally was a township that was nearly 42 square miles in size. Over the years, the City of Kenosha began to annex lands south of 60th Street and east to Lake Michigan, and the Town of Pleasant Prairie was slowly reduced in size over the next 150 years as the City of Kenosha grew. There were nine separate settlement areas in the township that in some cases became the starting point for significant growth in the future, and some no longer exist at all.

The most colorful area was the old village area of Pleasant Prairie located at 104th Avenue and Bain Station Road. Prior to 1875 it was known as Tar Corners because a thief was once tarred and feathered there. It is also the area of the Pleasant Prairie Powder Plant which exploded after the turn of the century and rocked buildings and shattered windows miles away. Today it is the location of many residential homes and the Pleasant Prairie Ball Park where many children play recreational baseball, softball and soccer.

Another old settlement area is the Bain Station and Ranney areas. Its location was along Bain Station Road between the current Canadian Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads. These settlement areas were not as residential as they were rail stops for the Chicago North Western, the Kenosha-Harvard line, and the CSMP & P Chicago-Milwaukee main line. The Ranney site ended as a stop prior to 1862 and Bain Station site was named for the Bain Wagon Works and was listed as a stop well after 1800s. It is now the end of the line for trains coming out of Kenosha. The current site is immediately north of the Pleasant Prairie Power Plant and south of the We Energies Power Plant landfill.

Another more recent settlement area is the Carol Beach area that is along Lake Michigan, which extends from the Kenosha city limits to the State line. One subdivision of Carol Beach in the Chiwaukee area was platted in the 1920s. The rest of Carol Beach was subdivided and began platting in 1947. The area is one of the most significant wetland areas in the United States and was largely protected through a compromise land use agreement between the Town of Pleasant Prairie, Kenosha County, the State of Wisconsin, and the Army Corp of Engineers in 1985. Today many of the areas that can be developed have been, and the State of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin Board of Regents and The Nature Conservancy of Wisconsin continue to buy remaining properties on a "willing seller/willing buyer" basis for prairie land preservation.

Along with the aforementioned areas, other areas of the old township such as Tobin, Truesdell, Erly, and State Line have been incorporated within the Village of Pleasant Prairie.

Pleasant Prairie had its beginnings as a political entity in April 1842 when the first town meeting was held and the first election of township officials took place. The early township officials met in the Williams' Congregational Church located at 93rd Street and Green Bay Road. Later the old church became the official Town Hall and served the quiet agricultural community until urban growth finally necessitated more modern quarters in 1961. In that year, the Town rented office space in a small commercial strip center located on 22nd Avenue and 91st Street. In 1967 the Town government moved into a newly constructed municipal building on Springbrook Road and 39th Avenue that provided offices, an auditorium, Fire Department apparatus room, and sleeping quarters.

  1. Village of Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, 2035 Comprehensive Plan: Volume 1. 2009, http://www.pleasantprairieonline.com, accessed January, 2014.
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