Black River Advancement Association was created in 1934, by a group of residents concerned about fire protection and the development of the Black River area in the Town of Wilson.
Below is an excerpt from The Frederick W. Hainer Black River History (Frederick W. Hainer is a past-president of BRAA and long-time Black River resident)
If the dreams of early real estate speculators had ever materialized, the Black River Community we live in today would be known as Charleston — the name chosen for the city they envisioned at the mouth of what was then known as Black Water Creek.
Whether for better or worse, their city never saw brick or stone. Widespread financial panic in 1837 saw the market for western lands drop, and the platted lots in Charleston were never sold. Charleston, Wisconsin never was. Black River is.
Until 1831, the area between Lake Michigan and Black River belonged to the Native Americans. In fact, all of Sheboygan County belonged to the Indians, as they were called. However, in 1831 the Menominee Tribe ceded two million acres of land, including the county, to the Federal Government.
Over the next few years, the Indians left their villages along the Lake Michigan coastline, moving north to Shawano County and the reservation established by the government. They left behind them dozens of trails through the woods along the lake shore, and to their hunting ground at Lake Sheboygan, now the Sheboygan Marsh. These trails became the future road systems in the Black River area.
The Native Americans withdrawal from the area was not exactly a mass exodus. Some stayed long enough to see the coming of the first white settlers to the area — David Wilson in 1840, the Osgood brothers James and Leonard, and Joseph Fairchild in 1845.