Mission Monument

Thwaites

Claude Allouez Monument

Help us rebuild the Claude Allouez Monument! This monument celebrates De Pere’s rich history dating back to 1671 when the Mission of St. Francis Xavier was founded by Father Claude Allouez at the foot of the rapids on the east side of the Fox River. This was the FIRST historical tablet of its kind in Wisconsin and was built in 1899 by the citizens of De Pere. CLICK HERE for more information about the original monument.

Mission plaque photo from Old Green Bay book

Our goal is to re-construct the monument in a long term location with the greatest amount of foot traffic. The total cost of the project is currently estimated at $15,000 to $20,000 and will include a short walkway lined by benches and donor pavers.

One of our downtown business owners, Dave Gagnon (Gagnon Creative), created this representation of what the rebuilt monument could look like in one of the proposed locations. 

Mission Monument concept

Note the location of the monument as it would be seen from the River Walk and as a focal point of the old bridge approach into downtown. It would also be easily visible from the bridge, Broadway, Front street and the Fox River trail.

There has been significant discussion on where to locate the re-constructed monument. The exact site of the original mission is only known by description and the 1899 monument placement acknowledges this on its tablet with the words “near this spot”. The original monument was at the northeast corner of where Front and George streets once intersected and at the landing of the pre-1933 bridge. This would have been a site of great prominence for the city to showcase its history. Likewise, when the 1933 bridge was built the Brown County Historical society moved the plaque to the southeastern bridge railing where it would be seen by all who walked past it. In this way the founders seemed to prefer prominence over precise placement.

The proposed location follows this lineage in that it will be located on the heaviest used trail in the state and can be seen from the Riverwalk, Front Street and Broadway. It also accounts for any of several designs for the old bridge approach as it becomes the gateway park for De Pere. Significantly, this location does not entail the future design and construction of the old bridge approach park to be complete which could delay reconstruction of the monument for 5-10 years or more.

The original monument was one sided and placing it in the 1899 location, it would ideally have multiple sides to view it from which might require additional plaques or signage. An additional benefit of the proposed location would be that additional historical displays could be mounted to the existing railing highlighting the history of De Pere bridges and the history of the lock system. Nearby way-finding signage could also direct trail users to downtown attractions. All these are possible on this proposed location.

The city of De Pere is currently working to obtain a clean title of ownership of this proposed site, known as lots 5 & 6 of the De Pere Plat. This land was not specifically included when the city obtained the old bridge approach land. Should this site for the some reason, be unavailable to rebuild the monument on, Definitely De Pere is committed to seeing this monument built in a number of alternate sites. All will aim to be in a high visibility area that encourages foot traffic.

If you would like to promote De Pere’s history or would simply like to see your name on a brick, donate today!