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Caroline Quarlls

Grayscale headshot of Caroline Quarlls from the chest up in a black-colored frame. The image is blurry. Quarlls' body faces slightly to the left. She makes direct eye contact with the camera lens.
Caroline Quarlls (later Quarlls Watkins) is widely recognized as the first enslaved person to migrate through Wisconsin using the Underground Railroad, reaching Canada and freedom in 1842. Born in 1826 in St. Louis, Missouri, Quarlls decided at age 16 to escape slavery, leaving her home on July 4th, 1842. She traveled by steamboat from St.… Read More

Carroll University

Aerial shot of Carroll University and its surrounding area in grayscale tone.
Founded by territorial charter in 1846 in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Carroll College grew out of the then five-year-old Prairieville Academy, a preparatory program to fit young men for entry into the state university or eastern colleges. Carroll’s official charter, signed on January 31, 1846 by Territorial Governor Henry Dodge (two days before he signed the Beloit… Read More

Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist

Exterior view of Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist against the blue sky. The magnificent three-stage domed tower appears prominently in the surrounding area. A round clock appears on the tower's first tier showing the time at 3:30. The belfry is in the third stage. A cross stands atop the domed roof.
This historic church, often used as an emblem of the city of Milwaukee, is the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. The cathedral was the work of the first bishop of Milwaukee, Swiss-born John Martin Henni, who served as head of the local Catholic Church from 1843-1881. When Henni arrived in Milwaukee in… Read More

Catherine B. Cleary

A blurry medium shot of Catherine B. Cleary from the chest up smiling in glasses and a checked pattern blazer. A small headshot of Cleary when she was younger appears on the left bottom corner of this image.
Catherine B. Cleary (1917-2010) was a formidable figure on a local and national scale, and a trailblazer for women in business. Born to a prominent family, she intended to pursue a career in education and law. When, despite her credentials, local law firms only offered her positions that did not take advantage of her legal… Read More

Catherine M. Conroy

Catherine Conroy sits on the left in glasses and long sleeved blouse showing a necklace she holds with both hands to other women beside her. Their eyes look at the chain while smiling in their formal attire.
Catherine M. Conroy (1919-1989) was a prominent leader in the labor and feminist movements in Milwaukee. Born in Milwaukee, Conroy worked as a cafeteria worker in a county tuberculosis sanitarium and County General Hospital after high school in 1938. She was hired as a long-distance operator at Wisconsin Bell in 1942, later transferring to the… Read More


Exterior view of Cedarburg Mill facing left next to a small filling station. This grayscale image shows the five-story building that has one wing on the left. Two cars are parked by the building. The structure stands out in its surrounding area.
The City of Cedarburg is located in Ozaukee County approximately 20 miles north of the City of Milwaukee. Incorporated as a city in 1885 with a population of approximately 1,000 people, by 2010 the city’s population was 11,412. The Town of Cedarburg remains a separate entity that manages services such as parks and roads. Cedarburg… Read More


A page of the 1871 plan of the Forest Home Cemetery shows multiple numbered areas in the complex. The cemetery borders Janesville Plank Road in the northwest, Kilbourn Road in the west, and Loomis Road in the south. The named streets within the cemetery suggest its curvilinear design.
Like all urban areas, early Milwaukee faced many issues when it came to burying the dead. There were concerns with sanitation and the threat of disease, the competition for space with businesses and housing, and the need to properly memorialize those who died. Milwaukee’s early cemeteries had neither the permanence nor the grandeur of its… Read More

Chain Belt Company

Grayscale photo of the Chain Belt Company's interior filled with machinery equipment and gears placed on the left and right sides of the room. An aisle is visible along the center of the room between the machines. Some men sit and some stand while working at metal lathes.
Chain Belt Company originated in the late-nineteenth century as a manufacturer of chain links designed to replace leather belts in driving large agricultural implements. Throughout the twentieth century, it diversified, improving the inner workings of machinery in a wide array of industries. The company’s success was largely attributed to the fact that its innovations were… Read More

Charles Whitnall

Sepia-colored headshot of young Charles Whitnall from the chest up in a suit and tie. He makes eye contact with the camera lens.
Charles B. Whitnall, planner and conservationist, is considered the main inspiration for Milwaukee County’s system of public parks and also an influential advocate of regional planning in early twentieth century Milwaukee. Whitnall was born in 1859, four miles north of downtown, in present day Riverwest. Charles’s father, Frank Whitnall, was an English immigrant and gardener… Read More

Charlotte Partridge

Sepia-colored medium shot of three people in formal attire smiling while standing next to each other. The one on the right is Charlotte Partridge in glasses carrying a piece of paper. The one on the left is Miriam Frink with eyes looking at the document. A man in a suit and tie stands in the middle while glancing at Partridge.
Charlotte Partridge (circa 1881-1975) was an internationally renowned art educator, the founder of Milwaukee’s Layton School of Art, and Chair of the Federal Art Project in Wisconsin. Her legacy allows us to trace the growth of socially-engaged art practice during the first half of the twentieth century in the United States. Partridge was born in… Read More

Charter Schools

Facade of Tenor High School in daylight. The image shows the three-story building's exterior wall composed of bricks. The facade consists of three bays. Groups of rectangular windows are set on the left and right bays. The center bay has an entrance below a tall arched window. Atop the door is inscribed "gymnasium." On top of it is the building's sign that reads "Tenor High School."
The concept of a public charter school emerged as a response to calls for public school reform, with the first charter school law in the United States passed in 1991 and the first school charter awarded in 1992 in Minnesota. Since then, more than forty states and the District of Columbia have established charter school… Read More

Chicago & North Western Railway

Grayscale long shot of the Chicago and North Western rail depot. The center portion of this image displays long railroad tracks headed toward a shelter at the center of the photograph. The train depot appears in the background with a tall clock tower on the right.
Until its corporate death in 1995, the Chicago & North Western Railway (C&NW) had long served greater Milwaukee. Although the Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad was the first carrier to appear in the area, in the early 1850’s a predecessor of the Milwaukee Road, two future units of the C&NW, the Illinois Parallel Railroad, and the… Read More

Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railway

A vintage postcard featuring the facade of the Milwaukee Road station against the sky. The large building, which features a clock tower, is built on a corner of a street. Some horse-drawn vehicles are parked in front of the station. Across the building is a park with green grass and trees. In the upper left corner, red text identifying the depot is printed in English and German.
The Milwaukee Road, incorporated in 1847 as the Milwaukee & Waukesha Railroad Company, operated a 10,200-mile system stretching from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest into the 1970s. Its accomplishments included the first tracks connecting Lake Michigan at Milwaukee with the Mississippi River; high-speed, luxurious, beautifully designed HIAWATHA passenger trains; efficient freight services; an innovative… Read More

Childhood and Youth

Grayscale long shot of two small children standing on the rear porch of an apartment building made of bricks. In the yard next to them are pieces of scrap metal from junked cars, bent barrels, and other assorted trash. The alley's surface is covered with dirt.
Over the course of Milwaukee’s history community leaders worked to provide the ideal childhood to the city’s boys and girls. Educators, social workers and other child experts believed that every boy and girl should have adequate food, clothing, and shelter, as well as a stable family. The ideal upbringing also required girls and boys to… Read More

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Long shot of the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin's facade. The image shows its new eleven-story structure. The hospital's logo and name sign sit on the building's top front.
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin traces its history from a little house on Brady Street offering free pediatric care in the late nineteenth century to its current manifestation on the County Grounds in Wauwatosa, where it is part of the Regional Medical Center. Unique among the state’s hospitals with its exclusive focus on child care, Children’s… Read More


Facade of the Toy Building by a sidewalk in grayscale. The image showcases its six-story structure with a touch of Chinese roof architecture. Chinese letters adorn its exterior walls. The building features a long canopy on the ground floor and a balcony on the second floor. A sign reading "Toy Chop Suey Dancing" projects from the building's third story.
Due to restrictive legislation, Chinese immigration to America remained very small in the late nineteenth century and remained so until the 1940s. Originally from Canton, China, the immigrants that arrived in Milwaukee migrated from the West Coast. The Chinese who came to Milwaukee usually were men who left behind their wives and children to find… Read More

Christian Scientists

Grayscale image of the former First Church of Christ's interior showing its large nave with an altar and organ pipes in the center background and rows of pews under a vaulted ceiling.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder and discoverer of Christian Science, published her landmark book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, in 1875. Four years later, Eddy founded the Mother Church in Boston, and within five years, Christian Scientists began practicing their Christian healing faith in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Christian Science community is one… Read More

Church of the Gesu

Grayscale long shot of the north facade of Gesu Church. The central building is flanked by two iconic towers topped by crosses. The taller tower, on the right, has a clock. This image shows the main entrance with three arched openings atop four columns. A huge rose window is installed above the entrance.
In 1894, along Milwaukee’s most elegant of boulevards (Grand Avenue, now Wisconsin Avenue), arose an imposing, twin-towered Gothic church whose façade was reminiscent of the cathedral at Chartres. The Church of the Gesu was designed by H.C. Koch who also served as architect for Milwaukee’s city hall, then still under construction. It named after the… Read More

City Beautiful Movement

A colored postcard of the Lake Park staircase set in the center of the picture surrounded by lush trees, landscaping flowers in various colors and green lawn. Blue sky emerges in the background. Text on the top of the image reads "Grand Stairway, Lake Park, Milwaukee, Wis."
The City Beautiful Movement was a turn of the twentieth century national movement focused on creating attractive, well-designed urban landscapes. While the City Beautiful crusade is typically associated with places such as Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Denver, Milwaukee also experienced a push for beautification during this period. Influenced by the municipal reform movement and inspired… Read More

City Hall

Panoramic view of the City Hall facade from the South side in grayscale tone. This massive building ornamented with a massive bell tower appears prominently among other buildings in the area. Far below, cars drive and are parked on the side of the surrounding streets.
The Milwaukee City Hall is located on the site of the previous “Market Hall” on the triangular parcel of land between Market Street, Water Street, Wells Street, and Kilbourn Avenue. In 1891 an architectural contest was held to replace the “Market Hall” with a new headquarters for city government. Chicago architect Henry Ives Cobb submitted… Read More
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