The first train ran in to Horicon on Christmas Day 1855 and a daily mail was Horicon’s pride. The railroad was not built across the river until spring of 1856 since there was no bridge yet over the river. The station was on the east side of Hubbard Street on donated land and would probably have remained there if it hadn’t been for the LaCrosse Railroad and Co had not acquired the road that was built known as the Berlin Rd and the Oshkosh branch of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul later.
Before this road was completed to Horicon, several flat ware houses were erected on the railroad right of way and were filled to overflowing with where when the first cards came in. H H Elkins operated one, and Jonas Schoenmann the other one.
Schoenmann had a general store where the Wendt Jewelry was at 306 E. Lake and into the lot where the barber shop was.
He was a great friend to the Indians, spoke their language and had their trade. He was quite an influential man in the community. He was the first German settler in the village.
In building the railroad, many Irish came in from the directly eastern states, and some from Ireland in search of labor and housing.
When the road was completed many of them followed on and were builders of the road on to LaCrosse, but many decided to stay in Horicon. These families had children that became prominent citizens in Horicon then. Robert Whitty Sr. was one and John Freeman Sr. was a veteran tailor in the shop of John Wood and was always found at his bench. No one had ill against him.
Horicon was settled by people from the east, mainly from eastern New York and New Jersey, and a few from New England. They were followed by the Irish and then by the Germans who dominate the area. Then people from Hungary, Italy, Greece and Servia came. Some came to stay and some made some money and went home before the war.
It was not long after the LaCrosse road was built before the Berlin road was running, and the company had built car shops and a round house near the junction of the two roads. There was no friendship between the two companies and as the Berlin company depended on the LaCrosse Company to haul their freight to Milwaukee. It was not always convenient, which caused much delay and ill feelings.
Soon after, or about 1860, the LaCrosse Company came into possession of the Berlin Road and the station was removed and put on the west side of the river. The road was the only outlet through this section to the Mississippi River and it was doing a good business. In fact all the business, until the company changed into the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St Paul Company built a shorter line through Watertown which was called the “main line,” while this was called the “old line” now, in the northern division.