Ephraim E. Stevens was born in Maine in 1851 and came to Oshkosh with his parents the following year. As a young man he worked as a sailor on the Great Lakes before learning the building contractor’s trade in Green Bay. He returned to Oshkosh to take advantage of the opportunities for construction presented by the City’s frequent fires. His first Oshkosh contract was to build the Union National Bank, later known as City National Bank which stood at the northwest corner of Main and High.
Stevens served as Alderman in 1881-82 and 1885-86. He was elected mayor in 1889. He promoted the purchase of the land which is now Menominee Park, as well as South Park. Many in the city felt that such large parks were an unnecessary expense and he was defeated in the next election. By the time of his death in 1907, the parks had become a well-used source of pride for the citizens.
Sources: Randall, Illustrated Atlas of WInnebago County 1889, p. 46
Oshkosh Daily Northwestern July 22, 1907, page 10.