Acme, Hill Top, High View and Carleton Spring
As you can see in the title, this spring has been identified with many different names. It was first called High Top by owner Isaac Lain, but became known as High View. Within a few short years was then changed to Acme. Lain later sold the property and became known as Carleton Spring. By the 1970s the spring had ceased flowing, most likely due to the extension of a street through the hillside. The limestone structure that is seen today is due to the restoration effort of the City of Waukesha Landmarks Commission with the cooperation of previous apartment building owner Bryce Styza.
Backstory and Context
The land on which thee springs were located was on the west side of St. Paul Avenue, just north of the Wisconsin Avenue bridge. The first mention of a spring there was in an 1879 Waukesha Freeman newspaper article that mentioned that Isaac Lain (a local businessman) had fixed iron pipes to his spring to use the water for street sprinkling. Later, Lain developed a park around his spring and called it High View Spring. In 1883 or 1884, the name was changed to Acme. Acme water was shipped to Chicago via rail car. An 1891 plat map of Waukesha showed that another spring, Sunnyside, was located on the property.
Eventually the spring was sold to one of its managers, George Carleton. He did not develop the spring, but there were published news reports in 1914 that he considered doing so.
The limestone structure built into the hill sat neglected and forlorn for many years. The water stopped running in the 1970's when a street was extended through the hill.
In 1995, the Landmarks Commission, along with owner Bryce Styza, restore the limestone structure.
Spring City Past, Waukesha Landmark Commission
Plat book of Waukesha County Wisconsin drawn from actual surveys and the county records
Minneapolis, Minnesota: C.M. Foote & Co., 1891. Available online: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/WI.PlatWaukCo1891
Bob Salb Photo
Waukesha County Museum - detail of aerial photo