The Ethnic Settlement Trail is a 200-mile corridor that passes through 14 counties along the Lake Michigan shore from Racine and Kenosha counties in the south to Marinette and Door counties in the north.
Many of the immigrants who came to Wisconsin in the 1800s settled in this eastern portion of the state. Nationalities tended to live in clusters - Irish, German and Italian, as well as a dozen other groups including Swiss, Dutch and Belgian. Before long, a collection of ethnic villages dotted the shore. The Ethnic Settlement Trail links the remnants of those Old World communities and cultures in the largest concentration of 19th-century ethnic settlements in the U.S. Travelers also can follow markers outlining the Green Bay Ethnic Trail, an early route Native Americans traveled through the region from Kenosha to Green Bay.
Along the loops and chains of highways that make up the Ethnic Settlement Trail, you can visit sites such as the public museum in Kenosha, displaying Asian and African art, as well as the community's three historic districts; Dheinsville Settlement Park and Museum in Milwaukee's Germantown (Milwaukee alone represents more than 56 ethnic groups); Ozaukee County Pioneer Village near Port Washington, where the town's brick homes reflect its Luxembourg roots; Henschel's Museum of Indian Heritage near Elkhart Lake; the Old Country Farm, a restored Czech/Bohemian homestead south of Kewaunee; Heritage Hill State Park, a 40-acre complex of 25 historic buildings in Green Bay; and the Scandinavian log homes and Pioneer Store in Door County's Ellison Bay.