In 1837, in anticipation of the “Great Wisconsin Land Sale” of 1839, Aaron and Elvira Putnam settled near a “big bend” in the Fox River. Potawatomi Indians camped on the river, but there were white settlers at what was then the Milwaukee and Prairieville trails (now County Highway L and State Highway 164). Aaron was later joined by his brothers and early Big Bend owed nearly everything to their enterprising ways. The Putnam brothers built the first sawmill in 1831, the first inn (still standing on the corner of Nevins street) in 1842 and the first post office in 1846.
In 1893, the Hygeia Spring #2 pumped water to be sold for a penny a glass at the World’s Fair in Chicago. Big Bend was noted for its sugar bushes, maple syrup, black walnut and oak trees – the descendants of which are still enjoyed today. The village was incorporated in 1928, the first police department formed in 1941, the first volunteer fire department in 1951, the library in 1964, and the Sibyll Yug Memorial Museum in 1981.
Today the museum contains a collection of Big Bend and Vernon historical pictures and artifacts. The Big Bend Library also has a historical book collection.
What’s in Big Bend
The Village has a post office, realty, pharmacy, several dentists, two banks, restaurants, several hair salons and many other businesses. There are Catholic and Lutheran Churches in the Village as well as a Presbyterian in the Town of Vernon. There are three industrial parks in the Village. The main one is on Industrial Ave. off of Edgewood. The others are on Vernon Lane and Adam Court, off of National Ave., and a small one located on Wynn Drive.
The Village has two parks. The main park is located next to the river and has playground equipment, boat launch, baseball diamond, and picnic and camping facilities. The other park contains a soccer field and is located on Cherry St.
The Village of Big Bend, Wisconsin (population 1,296) is a quality of life community located in southeastern Waukesha County bordered by the Fox River on the south and along I-43 on the north. The Village offers a full range of services and is governed by a seven-member Village Board of Trustees.
The Village Hall (W230 S9185 Nevins St.) holds Village Board meetings, municipal court and Village administrative offices. The Library, Police Station and Fire Station #1 buildings are also located at this address.
Big Bend is located within the Mukwonago Area School District. The High School and Middle School (grades 7 & 8) are located in Mukwonago and the children are bused. The Big Bend Elementary School (grades K-6) is located on the edge of the Village in the Town of Vernon. Any school questions should be addressed to the Mukwonago School District. Their phone number is 262-363-6300. There are also two private schools in the Village. They are Christ Lutheran School, located on Clark St and St Joseph’s School, located on Milwaukee Ave.