A brief history the Father Claude Allouez Monument & Plaque:￼
Rueben Gold Thwaites met De Pere’s civic leaders on August 9th, 1899*
The monument was dedicated September 6th, 1899… just one month after Thwaites visit. De Pere was the first city to have a memorial tablet of this type erected.*
Funds for the monument were raised by “Personal Subscription” (private donations)*
The massive 2’x3’ bronzed tablet was made by Wilson Bros. in Chicago and cost $50.*
The project cost was first published as $100, but just one week later it was said to be $200.*
Dr. A.C. Mailer was elected president of the memorial tablet organization with M.J. Maes as secretary. The executive committee included Miss Elizabeth Smith, Mrs. M Burnett, Mrs. J.C. Outhwaite, Rev. Father Smits, and J.A. Kuypers.*
M.J. Maes and J.A. Kuypers were part of the Brown County Historical Society in 1931 when it was determined they would move the Plaque onto the railing of the new bridge with the blessing of the Wisconsin Historical Society (December 3rd & 10th, 1931).*
The name for the new bridge was undetermined until September 15th, 1932 when it was published that the Catholic Women’s Club suggested “Claude Allouez” for the new structure.*
The Plaque was mounted to the South East railing of the Claude Allouez bridge where it remained for 74 years, even enduring being painted silver to match the railing once.
The first Claude Allouez Bridge was razed in 2007 and the Mission Plaque was moved to the White Pillars for safe keeping by the De Pere Historical Society.
Despite being exposed to the weather for about 106 years total, the plaque looks new.
Anyone interested in making a donation to help with the reconstruction efforts of the monument can contact the Definitely De Pere office at (920) 403-0337 for information. Donations of any amount will be greatly appreciated. Definitely De Pere is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donations are tax deductible.
*Research findings from the Brown County Democrat & The De Pere News using the De Pere Historical Society’s search engines.