History of TETNA
Editor of “Historic Wauwatosa”
Past President of the Wauwatosa Historical Society
(collected and given to TETNA by Diane Euting)
Long ago, intrusions by glaciers made our area quite fertile, drained by a small stream that would come to be known as Schoonmaker Creek, which we now see flowing through the Washington Highlands. Many people enjoyed the land we call Eastown including Potawatomi, Ottawa, Sauk, Chippewa and other tribes of Native Americans, each migrating across our area at different times in our history. A treaty was negotiated with the Native American tribes in September 1833 transferring our area to the United States Government.
Charles Hart was the first white settler to arrive here in 1835. Two years later his brother, Thomas Benjamin joined him and they built a sawmill in 1838 or 1839 and a grist mill in 1841. Around this nucleus grew our community, Wauwatosa – named after Sauk Indian Chief Wauwatosa.
The area that came to be known as Eastown is located in the southern half of Section 15 of the Town of Wauwatosa. The limits of our town are between 27th Street and 124th from east to west and between Hampton Avenue and Greenfield Avenue from north to south.
The first owners of our area split the land down the middle, more or less. Aaron and Nathan Paddack owning the western half and H. H. Freeman, who obtained his land patent in 1839, owning the eastern half. These men sold off parcels of land to men and women who farmed our area. The most famous farmer in the Eastown area was Abraham Lefeber, who purchased 62 acres in 1868. After he died in 1922, his farm was subdivided into lots and in his honor, Lefeber Avenue, was constructed through the center of his land. In the late 1800s Wauwatosa went through some changes in the style of government overseeing the area. In 1892, Wauwatosa changed from town-type government to village form. Then on May 27, 1897, we became a city. In both cases, the northern boundary of Wauwatosa was Wright Street.
In Eastown all areas north of Wright Street were added as subdivisions. The subdivisions developed in Eastown were: Rittoer Highland View and its Extension (1925), Ritter Oak Ridge and its Extension (1925), Wauwatosa Homestead (1926), Hauser Homes (1926), John Weinz Acreage (1926), J. F. LaBoule’s (1926). The decade of the 1920’s was Eastown’s greatest growth period.