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In May 1995, the Kenosha County Archeological Society and the Archeological Rescue of Milwaukee dedicated a plaque recognizing the preserved remains of the Jambeau Trail on the Momper farm located at the 11100 block of Green Bay Road. The Jambeau Trail was an early Indian trail, also used by early Euro-American travelers, that became an important link in the early transportation system in Wisconsin.
Early travel between Fort Dearborn (Chicago) and Fort Howard (Green Bay) was accomplished either by water along the Lake Michigan shore or by land along the rivers and ridges parallel to the lakeshore. Because of the importance of Forts Dearborn and Howard as military and commercial centers, trails and roads were quickly established to connect them. The routes were so popular that they became clusters of early settlement, which in turn became cities between Chicago and Green Bay.
In 1993, members of Kenosha County’s Archeological Society and Archeological Rescue conducted a joint investigation in search of the original Jambeau Trail. The excavation of a portion of the trail showed that the surface of the trail was worn down nearly 20 centimeters, about 8 inches below the adjacent non-trail surface land, indicating that the trail had been well traveled over a long period of time. Research further indicated that three different trails (routes of the Jambeau Trail) may have crossed the Momper farm, perhaps due to periodic weather conditions or other environmental challenges.
The Hathaway 1836 Trail roughly bisected the farm north/south. The Brown Atlas Trail was S-shaped and entered the farm at the southeast corner, exiting at the northwest corner. The third, Momper’s Trail closely paralleled Green Bay Road, has evident topographic features, and has been attested to by the Momper and Dexter families. A portion of the Momper farm was donated to the Village in 2000 for use as a future park. If you would like to contribute to local stories, collections, or other “Peeks at the Past,” you can reach the Historical Society at HistoricalSociety@plprairie.org or (262) 947-3600.