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Sister Joel Read

Revered both within Milwaukee's community and nationally for her leadership and commitment to education, Sister Joel Read served as the president of Alverno College for 35 years.
Sister Joel Read, SSSF, was the central figure in transforming Alverno College on Milwaukee’s South Side from a small, religious-oriented institution run by the School Sisters of Saint Francis into a pioneer in programs serving non-traditional students and measuring student success in innovative ways. During her thirty-five years as president of Alverno, Read became a…
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Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers

  Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers (SSCHC) have provided free and affordable health care services to low-income patients since 1969. That year, neighborhood organizers opened a small, volunteer-run health clinic at the corner of South 16th Street and West Greenfield Avenue. Since its earliest days, SSCHC has worked to serve the needs of the South…
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A skateboarder is caught mid-flip at Cream City Skate Park, an indoor facility in Butler.
A California import, skateboarding appeared in Milwaukee in the 1960s and rose in popularity in the 1970s. Local authorities perceived skating as dangerous and wasted little time banning it from most public places. According to contemporary accounts, this led to confrontations between skaters and authorities, which supported skateboarding’s outsider image. Nevertheless, skaters careened down the…
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Photograph of a group of young men and women part of a Sokols gymnastics group, taken in 1931.
The Milwaukee area’s Slovak population dates from the 1880s, when economic dislocation at home and nationalist resistance to the Magyarization policies of the Austro-Hungarian Empire prompted immigrants to come to the United States in search of jobs and a better life. At the time, labor agents from American industrial plants, including southeast Wisconsin’s Patrick Cudahy…
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This photograph showcases Harmonie Hall, a social gathering space for Milwaukee's Slovenian community. The building was built in 1894 and razed in 1962.
Living in tight-knit communities in southern Milwaukee, West Allis, and Cudahy, Milwaukee Slovenian immigrants constructed an assortment of churches, fraternal orders, and cultural institutions that preserved their traditions while they also adapted to America. The earliest Slovenes arrived in Wisconsin in the 1870s when Slovenia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the migration continued…
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Kate Gordon of Marquette University's women's soccer team tries to outrun her opponent from the University of Wisconsin in 1999.
Metropolitan Milwaukee boasts a rich history of youth, amateur, and semiprofessional soccer programs. It can even lay claim to holding the first recorded match in the United States, a challenge between Carroll College students and Waukesha youths in 1866. By the early twentieth century, clubs in the city of Milwaukee formed among immigrants in ethnic…
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Social Development Commission

Since 1963, the SDC has served as a community action agency in Milwaukee and provided resources for individuals to move beyond poverty.
The Social Development Commission (SDC) is the largest of eighteen members of the Wisconsin Community Action Program Association, with responsibility to develop and oversee programs designed to improve the quality of life for low-income Milwaukeeans. Created in 1963 by state statute, the Commission involved the collaboration of civic organizations including the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee…
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The Socialists' ardent support for the labor movement is evidenced here by Mayor Daniel Hoan's speech before hundreds of strikers at the Seaman Auto Body plant.
Many German immigrants came to Milwaukee in the mid-nineteenth century influenced by the doctrines of Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, and Ferdinand Lassalle. And in the process, they came to form the core of Milwaukee socialists. Holding their early meetings in German, this informal socialist Vereinigung (or association) initially did not expand to the wider community.…
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Society of Friends

Members of the Society of Friends, also known as Quakers, were among the early Yankee-Yorker settlers in Southeastern Wisconsin in the 1830s. Over a century later, the current Milwaukee Monthly Meeting—the Society of Friends congregation in Milwaukee—was founded. The Milwaukee Friends Meeting, like its counterpart in Madison, arose from the pacifist movements of the 1920s…
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Solomon Juneau

Portrait of Milwaukee founder Solomon Juneau at age 60, originally from an oil painting.
Milwaukee co-founder Laurent Solomon Juneau was born on August 9, 1793 at Repentigny, a small farming village near Montreal. Juneau entered the fur trade as a teenager, working (perhaps) for the Hudson’s Bay Company before becoming an independent agent based in Prairie du Chien. In 1818 the young voyageur met Jacques Vieau, a well-established trader…
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Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission

This map of the Milwaukee area's growth since 1850 suggests the challenge SEWRPC faces in the twenty-first century of checking urban sprawl and encouraging the preservation of the region's natural environment.
Since 1960, the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) has prepared and published long-range, comprehensive plans to guide physical development in Wisconsin’s southeastern counties of Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington, and Waukesha. SEWRPC was authorized by an executive order from Governor Gaylord Nelson, recognizing that “problems of physical and economic development and of environmental…
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Spanish-Language Media

Roberto Hernandez (left), along with Esequiel Guzman (center) and another man work to set the layout of an issue of the "La Guardia" newspaper.
As Latinos (mostly Mexicans) began to settle in Milwaukee in the 1920s, they developed newspapers to disseminate news and information about their community in their native Spanish language. The earliest known newspapers were the Boletín Informativo and Sancho Panza, which was named after the fictional character in Cervantes’ novel Don Quijote. In 1930, several Latino…
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Special Schools

Opened in 1939 as a school for children with polio, Gaenslen School continues to serve students with special education needs.
Perspectives on disabilities and how to incorporate individuals with disabilities into mainstream society have evolved over the past couple of centuries. People with disabilities were viewed as less than human and treated as such. The views of individuals with disabilities in the 1800s reflected the assessment of value and worth in society. For example, people…
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St. Benedict the Moor Mission and Church

This photograph, looking north on 10th Street just south of State Street, captures three elements of the St. Benedict the Moor Mission in the 1930s: on the far right a sliver of the church (with cupola along roofpeak), St. Anthony Hospital (right of center), and the boarding school (on the left, for decades the original home of Marquette College).
Established in 1908, St. Benedict the Moor Mission was the principal focus of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s early ministry to African Americans. Its school was one of the few boarding schools for African American children in the country. While priests and sisters formed good Catholics, they also nurtured strong, knowledgeable, and confident individuals able to…
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St. Catherine’s Residence

St. Catherine’s Residence was established in 1894 to provide temporary housing to the large numbers of young women moving from rural areas to Milwaukee for jobs or schooling. The home, originally located at 1131 Sycamore Street (later West Michigan St.), was first known as St. Catherine’s Home for Working Girls. It was administered by the…
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St. Francis de Sales Seminary

Photograph of Henni Hall, the main building of St. Francis de Sales Seminary, dedicated in 1856.
This institution is the major training facility for Roman Catholic priests who serve in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. It also forms young clergy who serve in other parts of Wisconsin and sections of the Midwest. Moreover, some of its graduates are found in Rome and Africa. Although it currently does not support an accredited academic…
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St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral

Completed in 1958, St. Sava remains a centerpiece of Milwaukee's Serbian Orthodox community.
St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, located on 51st Street just south of Oklahoma Avenue, is currently the main place of worship for Milwaukee’s Serbian Orthodox community. The congregation has its roots in an influx of Serbian immigrants to Milwaukee in the early twentieth century, a migration that called for the creation of a new church.…
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St. Stanislaus Parish

2015 photograph of the front entrance to St. Stanislaus Parish in the historic Mitchell Street District of downtown Milwaukee.
Founded in 1866 as the first Polish parish in Milwaukee (and, perhaps, the first urban Polish church in the United States), St. Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr served as “the mother church for more than twenty Polish parishes” across the area. A towering, twin-spire church topped by golden domes arose at 5th and Mitchell Street in…
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State Forests, Parks, and Trails

This colorful mural on Pierce Street marks an entry point to the Hank Aaron Trail.
Despite its urban location, Milwaukee is a beneficiary of Wisconsin’s investment in protecting natural areas. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources manages the state’s forests, parks, and trails. Three are housed in Milwaukee County: Hank Aaron State Trail, Havenwoods State Forest, and Lakeshore State Park. Winding through an area once home to Native Americans and,…
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Story Hill

This 1934 photograph displays houses in Story Hill neighborhood, as well as the recently improved intersection of North Story Parkway and West Wisconsin Avenue.
The Story Hill neighborhood is on the west side of the City of Milwaukee. The neighborhood’s boundaries are roughly the Menomonee River to the north, Frederick Miller Way to the south, Hawley Road to the west, and US Highway 41/Miller Park Way to the east. But parts of it extend along Blue Mound Road to…
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