|County||Fond du Lac|
|Elevation||804 ft (245 m)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||1571550|
Pipe, Wisconsin is an unincorporated community in the Town of Calumet in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, United States. It is located approximately one mile east of Lake Winnebago. Its name comes from a translation of the Menomonee name for the area: Calumet.
"...we saw it at a distance. It was a village of Fals Avoines [rice gatherers], situate on the edge of a prairie which borders Lake Winnebago. The Lake lay before it on one side, and on the other the prairie, rising with a gentle acclivity from the margin of the water. The spot was well chosen for beauty, warmth, and fertility. There was nothing about that indicated a recent commencement. The grounds bore marks of long cultivation, and the few trees were left standing seemed as if distributed for ornament and shade. The village has received the name of Calumet [Pipe]; it consists of about 150 souls, and has rarely been visited by whites, except a few voyageurs on their way to Ouisconsin [Wisconsin]."
Pipe was originally known as Calumet Harbor. George White, who came to Calumet Harbor in 1837, established a hotel and bar along Military Road, then became a real estate agent. He proposed that the town of Calumet be annexed from Calumet County into Fond du Lac County. When the town was annexed into Fond du Lac County in 1842, White was named its first town supervisor. A stagecoach inn was built in 1846 by Henry Fuhrman, which became a major stop on Military Road. The inn was a three-story building with a dance floor on the second floor that served as a gathering place for the youth in the community. The third floor was a rooming house for guests, most often fishermen. Tom Brown purchased the building in the 1940s, named it Club Harbor, and later erected a modern electric sign and added a large cedar dining hall to the building. The inn existed as Club Harbor until it closed in the late 1970s. Club Harbor was sold in 2004. It has been extensively remodeled and is now called Capone's.
The next oldest structure in Pipe was a bank that failed during the Great Depression, closing overnight as a run was made on its deposits. Some time later, the brick building was converted into a butcher shop, which remains to this day. The vault door, made of oak, still exists and serves as the entry to a meat locker. A portable vault now serves as a file system and table top. A cash register manufactured in the 1920s is still in use. A very large, vintage, mechanical Burroughs adding machine in the building was the pride of the corporation, its workings visible through thick glass walls. The viability of the building is now in question because of a proposed widening of Highway 151.
The southwest corner of the crossing of Hwy 151 and W held a block building until it was leveled in the 1980s to provide parking for an adjacent fire department. It was a lively gathering place during the 1960s and 1970s as a satellite auction center owned by the Danner family of Glenview, Illinois, but is still nostalgically remembered as a tractor and vehicle garage run for nearly 50 years by Edward Halfman. Regarded as the best mechanic in the Fond du Lac and Calumet area by area residents, consumers had their Ford Model T cars shipped to his garage in crates to be assembled, a cost-saving alternative to purchasing a fully assembled car from a dealer's lot. In his retirement years, Halfman repaired children's bikes and educated young adults about the care and maintenance of their cars.
On the northeast corner a small tavern and a large concrete block community hall that held a basketball court on its second floor was razed in the 1980s to make way for a modern bar and grill that features the taxidermy craft of its owner.
The southeast corner is a multi-family building but previously was a grocery and hardware store.
The largest employer is located just beyond the southern end of Pipe. Groeschel Company, operated by descendants of Frank Groeschel, is a HVAC and sheet metal fabrication company.
A few miles east of Pipe is the Blue Sky Green Field Wind Farm, an electric generation windmill farms. Surveys of wind patterns nationwide in the 1980s identified a potential windmill electric generation path along the Niagara Escarpment from Pipe toward Brownsville. At an average wind speed of 18 mph, this was considered uneconomical for electric generation in the 1980s, but windmill technology improvements and government incentives for alternative energy sources at the dawn of the 21st century quickly transformed farming communities into an electric generation industry.
Pipe is located on U.S. Route 151. Originally called Fort Howard military road, it was one of the first marked routes through the Wisconsin wilderness. The other main road into the community is the east-west County Highway W, which leads to the shore of Lake Winnebago. Cty Hwy W terminates at Calumet Harbor. The public harbor area is a popular regional recreational and camping area, and a boat and ice fishing launch.
Looking south at Pipe along U.S. Route 151
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- William A. Titus, "Calumet, on the Old Fort Dearborn Trail." Wisconsin Magazine of History, vol. 7, no. 4 (June 1924).
- Betz, Maureen; Ebert, John (1999). Fond du Lac County: The Gathering Place. Fond du Lac, Wisconsin: Action Printing. p. 17.
- Marytown, A Holyland Community: Built on Dreams, Persisting on Spirit, 1849-2003; Kathryn Bartel; Retrieved October 10, 2007