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City of Festivals Parade

High-angle shot of Wisconsin Avenue during the 1983 inaugural City of Festivals Parade shows a line of floats stretching down the road. The crowd on the sidewalks gazes at the floats decorated in various themes, shapes and sizes.
Inspired after witnessing the parade and pageantry that commences Munich’s Oktoberfest, Mayor Henry Maier envisioned something similar to kick off Milwaukee’s festival season. Beginning in 1983, the City of Festivals Parade opened Milwaukee’s summer festivals and celebrated the city’s ethnic diversity. Every June, high school bands and floats featuring ethnic dances and musicians wound their… Read More

City of Glendale

The Milwaukee Town Hall facade in grey-colored exterior wall. The single-story building has a covered porch supported by three columns. Atop the porch's roof is a sign that reads "Town Milwaukee Hall." The front side has an entrance on the furthest right and two rectangular windows on the left. A front stair connects the building with the sidewalk.
Glendale, Wisconsin, is an inner ring suburb just north of Milwaukee that was carved from the remains of the old Town of Milwaukee. When incorporated in December 1950 at the leading edge of a postwar suburban wave, Glendale included 3,152 residents in a strangely shaped area that stretched east of the Milwaukee River and west… Read More

City of Mequon

The Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in the community of Freistadt was established by Mequon's first German settlers in 1839. The structure that stands today is the congregation's fourth building and was constructed in 1884.
The City of Mequon, located north of MILWAUKEE, forms the southern border of OZAUKEE COUNTY. Encompassing over forty-eight square miles, Mequon extends from LAKE MICHIGAN to WASHINGTON COUNTY and surrounds the VILLAGE OF THIENSVILLE. Incorporated in 1957, the City retains many rural traits such as low population density and undeveloped properties. The land that became… Read More

City of Milwaukee

An industrial area along the lakefront fills the foreground of this 2016 photograph, while Milwaukee's downtown stands in the background.
According to the 2010 census, the City of Milwaukee was the largest city in the State of Wisconsin, with 594,738 residents. It was ranked thirtieth most populous city in the United States in 2012. It has grown from seven square miles in area in 1846 to 96.8 square miles. Milwaukee has a mayor-council form of… Read More

City of Oak Creek

The Wisconsin Electric power plant in Oak Creek, pictured here in 2012, began operation in 1953 and catalyzed an annexation battle with the city of Milwaukee. The culminating legislation, known as the Oak Creek Law, resulted in the incorporation of the City of Oak Creek.
Oak Creek’s historical development was similar to many other suburban communities. But its incorporation effort in the early 1950s resulted in a change to Wisconsin state law that transformed the Milwaukee area’s municipal landscape. The first town meeting in Oak Creek took place on April 5, 1842, when an estimated forty families lived in the… Read More

City of Pewaukee

The building that was home to this Rexall Drug Store in 1937 still stands in Pewaukee today. It is currently home to a pet supply store.
The City of Pewaukee is located approximately seventeen miles west of Milwaukee in WAUKESHA COUNTY. It surrounds the independently governed VILLAGE OF PEWAUKEE, which in 1876 voted to separate from the Town of Pewaukee (initially established by the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature in 1840). Self-promoted as “The City in the Country,” the sprawling City of Pewaukee… Read More

City of Port Washington

This 2006 view from Lake Michigan features the Port Washington port light with the city in the background.
The City of Port Washington was first founded in 1835 as part of an expansion of American interests into lands controlled by the French and British prior to the War of 1812. The area was largely settled by members of the Potawatomi tribe prior to 1835. There was a large village approximately three miles inland… Read More

City of South Milwaukee

The Bucyrus Steam Shovel Company, later known as Bucyrus-Erie, has served as a significant economic force in the South Milwaukee community since locating its headquarters there in 1893.
South Milwaukee was incorporated as a village on November 8, 1892, following in the footsteps of Whitefish Bay and Wauwatosa, which both incorporated earlier that year. Located along the shores of Lake Michigan and the banks of the Oak Creek, the new village included the Oak Creek settlement, which dated back to the 1840s. A… Read More

City of St. Francis

Neighbors in the Town of Lake resisted the incorporation of St. Francis starting in the 1920s because the new city would take with it tax revenues from the Lakeside Power Plant.
At 2.55 square miles, the City of St. Francis is one of the smallest suburbs by area in MILWAUKEE COUNTY. According to early white settlers, native residents called the area “Nojoshing,” possibly meaning “strip of land extending into the water.” When the territorial government divided Milwaukee County into townships, Nojoshing became part of the Town… Read More

City of Waukesha

Visitors relax at Hygeia Springs in Waukesha at the end of the nineteenth century. Prior to the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, developers attempted to lay pipes from this spring to pump water to Chicago, but local residents vehemently fought against the plan.
“Wi-saka” does not adorn the gate of any park, or the entrance to a school. However, the Potawatomi people who inhabited Waukesha and surrounding areas before European arrival know the name well. Potawatomi oral tradition calls Wi-saka “the Great Spirit” and credits him with the creation of the world. The naming of modern-day Waukesha, though,… Read More

City of Wauwatosa

This postcard from the early twentieth century provides a view of a Wauwatosa street scene along the TMER&L Company interurban line.
Wauwatosa is a city in the western portion of Milwaukee County. It is immediately east of the City of Brookfield and the Village of Elm Gove, both in Waukesha County. It shares a tiny section of its southwestern border with the City of West Allis but is otherwise surrounded by the City of Milwaukee. According… Read More

City of West Allis

Visitors enter State Fair Park in West Allis in the early 20th century.
West Allis is a city in Milwaukee County, nestled against the City of Milwaukee’s western boundary. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 60,411, which makes West Allis the eleventh most populous municipality in Wisconsin and the third most populous municipality in the four-county metropolitan area, behind only the cities of Milwaukee… Read More

Civil Defense

Red lines on map of Milwaukee County shows routes radiating from the downtown toward the peripheral areas. The pathways follow diagonals, straight, and zig zag directions. Each route is stamped with a combination number and letter code. Written as a subheading on top of the map is the slogan "Knowing Your Evacuation Route Today Means Survival Tomorrow."
Civil defense was adopted as an important policy in postwar Milwaukee by Mayor Frank Zeidler. In 1948, fearing atomic warfare, Zeidler helped create the Civil Defense and Disaster Committee, and in 1952, city officials created the Department of Civil Defense. Milwaukee gained notoriety for comprehensive civil defense efforts which included over 3,000 volunteer “block wardens,”… Read More

Civil Disorder of 1967

People of all ages in church attire walk the sidewalk past the Badger Paint shop. The women at the front have sad expressions on their faces. Cars are parked in the foreground of the photo.
The Milwaukee civil disorder of 1967, often referred to as a riot, began on the evening of Sunday, July 30. By the following morning, confrontations on the city’s streets had essentially ended. Its brevity was the result of rapid, muscular responses by Milwaukee police, Mayor Henry Maier, and Wisconsin governor Warren Knowles, who sent in… Read More

Civil Rights

Grayscale long shot of protesters marching on the sidewalk. A child in short pants and a jacket walks in the front row among a group of adults. In the background are trees, bus stop and restaurant signs, and cars parked on the side of the road.
Milwaukee’s Civil Rights Movement was the culmination of longstanding efforts by African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and their white allies to improve social, political, and economic prospects for non-white Milwaukeeans. During the 1860s, a small group of African Americans struggled to win the franchise. With the arrival of thousands of Southern migrants during the Great… Read More

Clarke Square

Postcard depicting the Mitchell Park Conservatory's long building on the upper portion of the image. A large pond in the bottom portion reflects the conservatory's central dome. The top edge of the postcard reads "Greetings from Milwaukee" on the left and its German translation "Gruss aus Milwaukee" on the right.
Clarke Square, one of Milwaukee’s most diverse, storied, and densely populated neighborhoods, dates back fifty years before Milwaukee became a city. In 1795 French-Canadian fur trader Jacques Vieau built Milwaukee’s first settler’s cabin there as part of his trading post overlooking the Menomonee Valley (a site marked in Mitchell Park). In 1819 Vieau gave the… Read More

Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center

Aerial shot of Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center and its surrounding area partly covered by snow. The tall structure of the building stands out among other buildings in the neighborhood. Glowing in the distance is the name sign of the building that appears above a large American flag.
The Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center is the direct descendant of the Northwestern Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers (NHDVS), established by Congress in 1865 to care for Union soldiers who had suffered disabling wounds or illnesses due to their service in the Civil War. The home was funded partly by… Read More

Clement Zablocki

Representative Zablocki speaks with President Lyndon B. Johnson at the White House in this photograph from April 1968.
Clement J. Zablocki (1912-1983) represented Milwaukee’s South Side as a Democrat in the Wisconsin state senate from 1943 to 1948 and in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1949 to 1983. Of Polish ancestry, Zablocki was a lifelong devotee of his community and his Catholic faith. He attended St. Vincent DePaul Parish School, Marquette University… Read More

COA Youth and Family Centers

Low-angle shot of the main entrance of the Goldin Center. Inscribed on its exterior wall beneath the roof is "COA Youth and Family Centers GOLDIN CENTER" beneath the COA's logo. The main entrance has two pillars made of stones. One on the left has a "no loitering or prowling" sign. Installed on the right pillar is the street number "2320."
The Children’s Outing Society was formed in 1906 by Florence Friend, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Black Kander, and other women from the Personal Relief Society, a social service organization active in Milwaukee’s Jewish community. The Society changed its name to the Children’s Outing Association (COA) in 1930. COA’s initial purpose was to improve the physical well-being of… Read More

Commercial Fishing

Grayscale long shot of Jones Island adults and children residents standing in front of fishing nets stretched out to dry on wooden structures.
Fish have long been an important part of Milwaukee’s diet and culture, perhaps most notably in the “Friday night fish fry.” The city’s commercial fishing industry expanded to meet the needs of local customers but never developed larger markets as did peers in other parts of the Great Lakes. Native American communities subsisted on fish… Read More
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