There was a drastic change in how Silver Spring Drive enters downtown Sussex in 2016.
In early Sussex, Silver Spring Road was designated as "Milwaukee Street." It was a near “path” in 1910 that meandered eastward, after slanting off from Sussex’s Main Street to North Milwaukee and eventually to Whitefish Bay on Lake Michigan.
In 1910 photos, there were hints of a grass strip (weeds) in the center of very narrow car-and-a-half width.
One can compare the 62-year difference in Silver Spring Drive — 1910 in one picture and 1972 in the second, both taken from basically the same point of view.
Originally, William Weaver claimed this land officially in 1849. It was a half-square mile stretch of land, bordered on the north by Main Street, from Maple Avenue east to what is outer Circle Drive, and then south to where Spring Green Park and Sussex Creek are today, hence west to a half-mile south of Main Street on Maple Avenue, just north of Clover Drive east — 160 acres in all.
In 1837, just to the south of Weaver, was the claim of 160 acres by John and the famous Melinda Weaver, the first woman settler in Lisbon.
Early on, it appears that J.R. Weaver gained control of the triangle formed by Silver Spring Drive, Waukesha Avenue and Main Street.
According to the 1857 property map of Sussex, the Elliott family gained control of the triangle formed by Silver Spring Drive, Waukesha Avenue and Main Street. Then, as indicated by a 1873 property map, J.R. Weaver had a sawmill on the lot apex. Silver Spring Drive has been reconfigured, cutting off this "tip" for an anticipated new development.
Milwaukee Street/Silver Spring Drive was also known by community slang names, such as "Slant Road" and "Grogan's Alley," referring to Frank Grogan, an important Irishman living in a home by the east Sussex Creek crossing of the roadway.
Today, a street in "new" Sussex is named after Frank Grogan, near the west end of Champeny Drive — Grogan Drive, a north/south subdivision road, which leads into Grogan Park.
So, while the former "Grogan's Alley" slang name is now long gone, Frank Grogan is still honored.
Grogan was a signer of the Sussex incorporation in 1924, and the first elected Sussex Village President (he served 10 years). His Sussex was on the east side of the Sussex Creek crossing, in what is called the Plein Home.
He left the Sussex village presidency to take a government job in routing water to the Pewaukee River Shed (past Maple Avenue School) and ultimately was somewhat involved in completing the Sussex Community Hall construction in April to October 1937. This was torn down in 2016 to make way for the new configuration, straight onto Main Street, eliminating the old "slant" entrance.
The "apex lot” with a “four-square home” eventually had its heyday with the Brown family, who had a steam engine to run the sawmill that custom cut and furnished lumber for Sussex barns, sheds, homes and businesses.
As the 1970s came, Wisconsin Ice and Coal Company of Milwaukee began building filling stations, and Sussex was chosen as a location — the Brown home had to go. It was picked up and moved to Maple Avenue (W240 N64524), across the street from the St. Alban's cemetery, where today it is a nice “living home antique.”
The "Hometown Station" went along at the site for almost 46 years, with Frank Gill and Jim Heck as the primary owners. The Hometown Station was most recently a Citgo, until the village of Sussex bought it out in 2015.
The year 2016 saw the destruction of the Citgo station and its cleanup. A new development is planned for 2017 on the now-vacant site.