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A. Gettelman Brewing Company

The A. Gettelman Brewing Company (1856-1961) was one of Milwaukee’s major industrial brewers. Although remaining a mid-sized brewer among the city’s giants, Gettelman was an important innovator of beer packaging and advertising and a significant acquisition in the expansion of the Miller Brewing Company. The Gettelman Brewing Company originated as George Schweickhart’s Menomonee Brewery, established…
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A.O. Smith Corporation

While it is currently recognized as a leader in the production of water heaters, over its history A.O. Smith Corporation has dabbled in a complex inventory of products. Following in his father’s footsteps, company founder Arthur Smith and his successors constantly adapted to market demand and, for the better part of a century, the company…
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African World Festival

African World Festival celebrated the development of African culture and heritage in Africa as well as the Americas, from the age of the Atlantic slave trade to the modern era. Attendees could learn about African history through performances of traditional African dance, drumming, and storytelling. A replica of an African village was also constructed on…
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Agriculture

Throughout its history, Milwaukee has gone from manufacturing center for a myriad of products to a “post-industrial” city struggling to adapt to the realities of deindustrialization. Often overlooked in such a narrative is the role that agriculture has played in the development of the city and the broader metropolitan region. For more than 150 years,…
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Alexander Mitchell

Milwaukee’s leading financier and railroad magnate in the mid-nineteenth century, Alexander Mitchell was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland on October 18, 1817. Twenty-two years later, he immigrated to the U.S., settling in Chicago. That same year, Mitchell moved to Milwaukee to serve as secretary for a marine and fire insurance company owned by a fellow Scotsman,…
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Allen-Bradley (Rockwell Automation)

Founded by Lynde Bradley in 1903 with the financial backing of investor Dr. Stanton Allen, what became the Allen-Bradley Company has served the Milwaukee community for over one hundred years, specializing in the design and manufacturing of various electrical products. During the twentieth century Lynde and his brother Harry built the company into one of…
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Alleys

Alleys have been part of the infrastructure of the City of Milwaukee and several of its surrounding towns from their founding. The 1846 Charter of the City of Milwaukee gave it authority “to lay out new highways, streets, alleys[,] and public walks.” Milwaukee developed a grid pattern of city streets already common in other eastern…
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Allis-Chalmers Corporation

Operating from 1847 to 1999, the Allis-Chalmers Corporation was one of Milwaukee’s key manufacturing giants and for a time the city’s largest employer, producing what one historian describes as “the ‘big stuff’ for America’s expanding urban and industrial markets.” Allis-Chalmers originated in James Seville and Charles Decker’s Reliance Works, a pioneer iron foundry and machine…
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American Indian Movement

On August 14, 1971, Native American activists in Milwaukee staged a takeover of an abandoned Coast Guard station along the lakefront (at 1600 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive). Inspired by the Alcatraz occupation of 1969, these local members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) demanded, according to the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868, that abandoned…
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Anarchism

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines anarchism as “a political theory holding all forms of governmental authority to be unnecessary and undesirable and advocating a society based on voluntary cooperation and free association of individuals and groups.” In the early twentieth century, and again in the late 1960s and early 1970s, though little remembered today, advocates of…
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Animal-Human Relations

Milwaukee’s past includes an inestimable number of nonhuman animals: germs; animals raised in or transported to the city for slaughter; working and service animals; wild, zoo, and laboratory animals; pets; and stray and abandoned domestic animals. The city’s earliest ordinances, passed by 1856, regulated horses, livestock, and dogs as well as soap factories, tanneries, stables,…
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Arab World Fest

Arabs are an ethnic linguistic group who trace their cultural heritage to one or more of the twenty-two modern Arab nation states. They began to settle in Milwaukee in late nineteenth century and since then have contributed significantly to the cultural, social, economic, and political life of the city and its surrounding regions. The Arab-Syrian…
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Asian Indians

Scholars have described Asian Indian immigration to America as the “quiet migration.” Asian Indians began arriving in Milwaukee after the passage of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. Asian Indian immigrants usually possessed advanced degrees and became professionals and entrepreneurs after settling in Milwaukee. Milwaukee and Waukesha became home to many of these immigrants due…
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Asian Moon Festival

In 1994, the Wisconsin Organization for Asian Americans announced the creation of Asian Moon Festival. Named after the festival in Amy Tan’s children’s book, The Moon Lady, the multi-day celebration took place at the north end of the Henry Maier Festival Grounds and offered visitors the opportunity to experience a variety of Asian cultures through…
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Austrians

From 1980-2010 about 10,000-15,000 people in the Milwaukee metropolitan area reported Austrian ancestry in the census. This number was quite similar to those who reported an Austrian birthplace in 1940, but quite a bit smaller than the 24,000 who reported their mother’s birthplace as Austria in 1910. The variability in these numbers reflects the assimilation…
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Banking Industry

The story of banking in the City of Milwaukee begins in 1836, the year that the Wisconsin Territory separated from Michigan and the year before the economic depression of 1837 caused a national crisis in banking. Newly-established banks across Wisconsin, such as the Bank of Milwaukee, failed as a result of President Andrew Jackson’s “Bank…
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Basilica of Saint Josaphat

St. Josaphat Basilica Roman Catholic parish church is located on the corner of Lincoln Avenue and 6th Street on Milwaukee’s historically Polish south side. The parish was founded in 1888, the fifth in its burgeoning Polish immigrant community. After the first church burned down and a second was too small for a parish of 12,000…
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Bastille Days

As the only Milwaukee ethnic celebration that operates as a genuine street festival, Bastille Days has been held in the Cathedral Square neighborhood on the East Side every July since 1982. The multi-day festival is inspired by Bastille Day, the French national holiday, which commemorates the storming of the eponymous prison on July 14, 1789,…
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Bennett Law

The conflict over the Bennett Law of 1889 reveals the social forces acting on Milwaukee’s schools in the late-nineteenth century. Immigrant culture, nativism, and the push for “Americanization” were all at issue in this contest over the instructional language to be used in education. The roots of the Bennett Law lie in a speech by…
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Betty Brinn Children’s Museum

The Betty Brinn Children’s Museum reflects a larger national trend of educational institutions embracing a child-centered design. Since 1975, the number of children’s museums in the U.S. has grown from approximately 38 to nearly 350 in 2015. By that year there were at least ten children’s museums in Wisconsin alone. Opened in April 1995, Milwaukee’s…
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