Brown County Historic Sites

De Pere

Site Monument Text Location
Francis Xavier Mission
Marquette and Jolliet

Marquette - Jolliet

Here in June, 1673, an expedition headed by Jesuit priest Jacques Marquette and his companion Louis Jolliet departed from St. Francis Xavier Mission to find and explore the upper Missippi River. In September they returned here to record their discoveries in their journals. The next spring Jolliet left for Quebec but the ailing Marquette remained at the mission until October. The mission stood on the bank of the Fox River directly west of this spot.

Erected 1973

In Creviere Commons at the corner of Broadway and George Street, above the east shore of the Fox River in downtown De Pere
Rapides des Peres [+]marker

Rapides des Peres -

Voyageur Park

The rapids at De Pere were well known to all early travelers along the Fox and Wisconsin rivers, which provided the best access to the Mississippi. Despite Indian domination, the waterway served explorers, fur traders and voyageurs, missionaries, and soldiers ~~ principally from France and from Canada (New France).

Beginning in the late 1600s the French sent various emissaries to maintain good relations with the Indians and to Christianize them; to seek a water route to the Pacific; and to barter with the Indians for furs. In 1668 Nicolas Perrot and Toussaint Badry came here to establish fur trading; in 1671 Father Claude Allouez built the St. Francis Xavier Mission (hence the name Rapides des Peres); and in 1673 Marquette and Jolliet left from here to search for the Mississippi. Trouble with the Indians along the Fox River resulted in military expeditions in 1716 and 1728.

Until the completion in 1837 of the military road connecting the forts Howard, Winnebago, and Crawford, the waterway was the only channel of communication linking Green Bay with other developing areas of Wisconsin.

Erected 1981 by De Pere Historical Society members Ted and Jo Lenfestey

On the east bank of the Fox River below the lock of the De Pere dam and inside the boundaries of Voyageur Park
White Pillars [+]marker

White Pillars

This building was erected in 1836 to serve as the office of the Fox River Hydraulic Company, which was chartered by Wisconsin's first Territorial Legislature to construct a dam at Rapides des Peres. Following the 1837 financial crisis, notes issued by the company circulated as currency, making it one of the first de facto banks in Wisconsin. In subsequent years the building served barber shop, newspaper office, cabinet shop, private school, church and residence.

Erected 1980

On the northwest corner of North Broadway and Cass Street
First Courthouse [+]marker
[+] plaque only
The site of the Brown County Courthouse from 1838 to 1854
Erected by Jean Nicolet Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 1930.
On Wisconsin Avenue at the northeast corner with George Street

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