The City of West Bend got its name from its location on a large westward-reaching bend of the Milwaukee River. Settled mainly by German immigrants in the 1840s, the city was bestowed with leaders possessing entrepreneurial know-how. West Bend became an international center of manufacturing with companies such as the West Bend Aluminum Company, Enger-Kress Pocket Book Company, and Gehl Brothers Manufacturing. Knowing how to work hard, West Bend's residents also played hard with a booming downtown area, local sports teams, parks, and cultural entertainment. Recent decades have seen a decline of local industry, but unlike many communities, the historic downtown continues to thrive with shops, restaurants, and lively cultural offerings. Home to unique architecture such as Old Courthouse and Jail, beautiful Victorian homes, and the new Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend continues to thrive and take pride in its past while looking to the future.