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Great Depression

A team of men, some from the Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company and some employed by the Works Progress Administration, work to repair power lines on North Avenue.
The 1930s were a volatile decade in Milwaukee. The Great Depression that gripped United States had a dramatic impact on the city, throwing thousands of Milwaukeeans into poverty, creating tensions that sometimes turned violent, and producing an intense crime wave that shocked the city. The first signs of the Great Depression began with the crash… Read More

Indigenous Milwaukee in the Age of Empire

Wild rice was once a plentiful food source in the Milwaukee area. Indigenous peoples harvested the rice by knocking the grains with paddles into canoes.
Milwaukee is Indigenous land. The word Milwaukee comes from the Anishinaabemowin word minowakiing, meaning “good earth.” Anishinaabemowin is the language of the Anishinaabeg or Three Fires Confederacy made up of the Ojibwe, Ottawa, and Potawatomi whose villages dotted Lake Michigan’s coast and whose presence is still felt throughout Wisconsin today. The word referred to a… Read More

Wartime Milwaukee

Children accompanied by women march down Lincoln Avenue on April 1, 1918 during a liberty loan parade.
The United States has fought three major wars since Milwaukee became a city. Milwaukee’s wartime history reflects its evolution from a frontier town to an industrial center, highlights the city’s changing political priorities and gender roles, and provides a case study of the stresses and strains war has put on American cities since the mid-nineteenth… Read More