The settlement was first called Hart's Mill after Charles Hart. It was later going to be changed to Wauwautosa (note the 2nd "u") after an Indian chief, but somewhere along the way the spelling became Wauwatosa. No matter, today most people in the greater Milwaukee area simply call it Tosa, for short.
Several meanings for the Indian name Wauwautosa have been suggested.
One refers to swarms of fireflies (Wau-wau-rae-sie). Others include...
- what he works for
- what he earns
- dim memory
- I grabbed something
- he shines as he walks
Pick your favorite.