The Milwaukee Northern Railway was incorporated in Ozaukee County on October 25, 1905.One of the founders was John E. Uselding of Port Washington, who was a County Judge from 1914 to 1931. The other 2 founders were from Sheboygan County. The main offices and shops were to be located in Cedarburg and the venture was to be financed through an initial offering of $100,000 in capital stock. Actual construction of the track for the interurban electric railway took place just northeast of Cedarburg on April 6, 1906. The first interurban from Milwaukee to Cedarburg was put into operation on October 28, 1907. About 10 days later, the track from Cedarburg to Port Washington was opened. On September 22, 1908, the entire 57 mile line from downtown Milwaukee to downtown Sheboygan was opened for service.
There were 5 trestles or bridges built from Mequon to Port Washington. The huge one that is pictured crossed the Milwaukee Road tracts south of Cedarburg. The next one was located in the City of Cedarburg over Cedar Creek. Pictured is one of the trains that traveled to Sheboygan. The next trestle crossed Wisconsin Avenue at the south end of the Village of Grafton. Most of the journey through Grafton was on a village street. North of Grafton, the Milwaukee River and old Highway 57 (now CTH W) had to be bridged. Upon arrival at the south end of Port Washington, another trestle was built to cross South Spring Street. The trip through downtown Port Washington was over 4 blocks of city street.
Service to Sheboygan was discontinued on Sept 23, 1940. This action probably was the beginning of the end. The interurban was heavily used during World War II, but the number of passengers began to dwindle after the war. March 28, 1948 marked the end of interurban service from Milwaukee to Port Washington. Service from downtown Milwaukee to Racine, Kenosha, Burlington, East Troy, Waukesha and Watertown also saw a decrease in ridership, and by 1951, the interurban "was no more".
One memory of the interurban is the depot in Cedarburg. It was purchased by the Ozaukee County Historical Society and will be restored, starting later this year.
Another memory is the bridge in Cedarburg. It is only open to pedestrian and bicycle traffic. A state grant was received to
cover the cost of this work and improving the bicycle trail through Cedarburg. The Ozaukee County Park Commission will receive a State grant to finish a bicycle trail that essentially will extend from one end of the County to the other. It is anticipated that this trail will open in 2001.
Credits: Historical information for article - Brian Siegl and Jack Gervais and The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Transit Historical Society.