This Day in Milwaukee County History: A southern portion of the Town of Lake breaks off to form the new town of Oak Creek on August 13, 1840.
Oak Creek’s historical roots can be traced back two years earlier when, on January 2, 1838, the Wisconsin territorial legislature divided Milwaukee County in two civil townships, Everything north of the present-day Greenfield Avenue was designated at the Town of Milwaukee, while everything south was to be part of the Town of Lake. However, new townships began to slowly chip away at the Town of Lake’s holdings. On March 8. 1839, the Town of Kinnikennick was established, encompassing the western portions of Lake (this area would eventually become the towns of Greenfield and Franklin). Oak Creek would follow a year later.
The very existence of Oak Creek was threatened over a century later when the City of Milwaukee sought to annex the town. Town Attorney Tony Basile drafted and, with the aid of State Senator Leland McParland, passed Wisconsin statute 66.0215, also known as “The Oak Creek Law”, which established Oak Creek as a fourth class city, thereby preventing annexation.