Irish Patch

Date in History: c. 1880

By the 1870s a small group of Irish immigrants had settled in Fort Atkinson, occupying a few unpainted shacks just east of the railroad tracks near the intersection of North Main and North Fourth Streets. “The Irish Patch,” as the locals called it, was notorious for rowdy behavior, particularly on Saturday nights when fistfights, drinking, and athletic contests often led to general mayhem. Contemporaries reported that this lively group would raise “what for” at the least provocation.

But it wasn’t always this rambunctious. Attorney Charlie Rogers would remember a quieter more congenial group, writing that he had many “happy memories” of the Irish shanties, “for their occupants were always ready to joke when we boys started up the track.”

This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on 03/15/2004.

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