PADDOCK LAKE — For more than a century, a brass ball has hung over the intersection of Highway 50 and 83 in Paddock Lake.
The corner is known as Brass Ball Corners, and the highway has historical significance.
In 1842, a farmer by the name of Seth Huntoon built an Inn on the corner and placed a wooden ball coated with copper at the intersection, to bring attention to the resting stop.
"It was a major road in southeast Wisconsin," said Village President Terry Burns.
The original ball was replaced with a mine buoy but because of the weight, it was taken down, and now a replica hangs over the intersection.
With Kenosha County growing, and more people driving along that stretch of the highway, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) said improvements are needed.
According to WisDOT's latest traffic count numbers in 2017, 21,500 vehicles traveled along that stretch of the roadway daily, that number was up compared to 2014, with 18,800 vehicles.
The proposed design includes fixing the pavement, sidewalks and adding new traffic lights but because of the new project, the brass ball must come down. Burns said the cross-cables that hold the ball up, would impact the new traffic signals.
"The road is going to widen six feet the improvement to the road is necessary because the base of the road, especially the eastbound lanes is crumbling," said Burns.
"There is fear that ball will intersect with the signals and the overall vision of intersection," said Burns.
Although the intersection will get an upgrade, Burns said it's important to improve the roadway for safety and at the same time preserve the historical significance. The ball will now hang next to a sign at the intersection.
"I have had this desire to bring the history to the area to our residents and anyone who cares to study this area," said Burns.
To learn more about the history of Paddock Lake, click here.