New Berlin is located in the SE corner of Waukesha County, its eastern edge lying on the western border of Milwaukee County. Originally a six mile by six mile area, the borders are little changed today. The township became a city in 1959.
New Berlin township settlements date from the early 1830's, but the major pioneer influx began when land grants became available in 1839. The area was mostly hardwood forest, but became predominantly general farming and orchards. After WWII, housing subdivisions and industrial parks replaced farm land. Today, however, there are still open spaces and even a few active farms in the western and southern sections of the city.
New Berlin's pioneer history has been documented by the late Professor Mary Ella Milham, PhD in her book New Berlin to 1900; Not as German as You'd Think. This book is available from the New Berlin Historical Society by contacting Sue Hemmen. It is also available ffrom the New Berlin Public Library gift shop.
The New Berlin Historical Society was incorporated in 1965 with the intent of preserving and promoting the history of our city. In 1970, the city purchased the Winton-Sprengel house (1884) a property located in the Prospect Hill Settlement District, which was a pioneer crossroads community. This 4.5 acre property is now the location of Historical Park, a complex containing additional historic buildings moved to the site. These include the Winton-Martin house (1848), Meidenbauer log cabin (c. 1853), and our little red school house(1863). Pictures and information on the Prospect Hill Settlement District and Historical Park can be found here.
The settlement district also includes the historic Freewill Baptist Church built in 1859. After the congregation disbanded in 1925, the building became a community center maintained by the Prospect Aid Society. Following a disastrous fire in 1985, the building was painstakingly restored by the Prospect Hill Foundation, culminating in a dedication to the city in 2006. The paper, A Pioneer Church at Prospect, written by Theodora Winton Youmans just after the congregation disbanded is available here.
The Weston Antique Apple Orchard Foundation was formed to provide ongoing support for this unique resource. In December 2004 the property was donated to the city to become a passive park but the orchard operation continues as a private business. Over 150 antique and rare apple varieties are grown. Public access and educational programs are sustained. For more information on the Weston Orchard visit http://www.westonapples.com/.
The City of New Berlin and the New Berlin Historical Society jointly administer and maintain our Historic Park.
An extensive treatise on New Berlin History and current historical assets and maps can be found at http://www.newberlin.org/DocumentView.aspx?DID=215.