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To form an alliance of concerned citizens, landowners, and public and private organizations to protect and improve the water quality and natural habitats in the Ulao Creek Watershed.
Evolution of the Partnership Organization Structure
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Importance of Ulao Creek Partners
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By Jill Hewitt - UWM Graduate Student

Port Ulao in Ozaukee County is an abandoned place with many roots in the historical past. James T. Gifford came here in 1847 to build a lake port on the site of what had been an Indian village. He hired land surveyors Luther Guiteau and J. Wilson Guiteau to plat about fifty acres into streets and lots. He built a 1000 foot pier into the lake for loading cordwood onto ships. The first Macadam road in the country (a mixture of charcoal and clay) was built to the site. As wood was cut while clearing the farmlands of the surrounding countryside, it was hauled to Port Ulao by horse and wagon and sold to the Lake ships for fuel. Port Ulao was the major hub for shipping in Ozaukee in the mid-1800s.

Eventually, a fishing station was added to the pier where fishing boats docked to clean and smoke their fish. By 1853, Daniel Wells and John Howe took over operations at Port Ulao, but it soon declined as the Lake steam ships stopped using wood for fuel.

Today the landscape and landmarks look much different. Lake Michigan has eroded the cliffs and shoreline and only a few pilings of the pier remain. In the mid-1880s west of the Port Ulao Village, near what was known as Ulao Station on the Chicago and North Western Railroad, there was a feed mill and the Ghost Town Tavern. The tavern is the only remaining remnant of the historic Port Ulao village.

The name “Ulao” pronounced “You-Lay’-Oh” is thought to have been adopted from an American General Ulao who landed at the village port sometime in 1881. He was a descendant of French Huguenots, and his name may have been spelled Ulaeua or in a similar way, as efforts to trace his presence have been unsuccessful. There is also a story that the abandoned Ulao station was given this name because the train’s whistle sounded like “You-Lay-Oh” as it passed through the village (hence the Ulao Whistler).

Also, Charles Guiteau, the assassin of President Garfield, lived in Port Ulao until hanged for his crime in 1880. He was the grandson of General John R. Howe, and the son of Luther Guiteau, the original land surveyor for Port Ulao.

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