In 1835, Silas Stedman of Massachusetts happened on the cascades of the Sheboygan River. Recognizing this as an ideal site for a sawmill, he and several land speculators founded a town at the falls. Industries soon clustered along the river to take advantage of the abundant water power. Among these was the Brickner Woolen Mills. The firm began as a custom mill for local farmers, but George Brickner, its founder, later added a mass production department. By 1900, his employees were weaving 250,000 pounds of wool annually into shawls, blankets, dress goods, and yardage.
The mill is a dour utilitarian building of cream brick, mostly three stories tall, with a monotonous rhythm of segmental-arched windows, characteristic of Victorian industrial buildings. A five-story tower with a tin-covered mansard roof makes the building more impressive. A smokestack balances the composition and reminds us of the building’s former industrial function. The Alexander Company rehabilitated it into apartments.