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Annexation

Published in the Milwaukee Journal in 1956, this political cartoon by Ross Lewis illustrates how Granville's contested status left residents unsure of which municipality they lived in.
Milwaukee’s uniquely jagged borders and large size relative to most Midwestern cities are historical byproducts of its dramatic and often controversial territorial growth. Throughout the city’s history, Milwaukee has grown through two primary means: annexation, which expands a city’s boundaries through the gradual addition of adjacent territory, and consolidation, in which entire municipalities fully merge… Read More

Bay View

The Bay View Rolling Mills employed many neighborhood residents for decades after opening in 1868. This photograph shows the plant in 1938, shortly before its demolition.
Bay View is a residential community in the southeastern section of the City of Milwaukee. Its borders are Lake Michigan (east), Morgan Avenue (south), Kinnickinnic River/Chase Avenue (west) and the Kinnickinnic River north of Becher Street (north). Bay View has its own school, post office, library, historical society, community center, park, newspaper, neighborhood association, and… Read More

Belgium

The Village of Belgium, located within the larger town, was incorporated in 1922 and maintains its own village hall, pictured here in 2006.
The Town of Belgium, located in the northeastern corner of OZAUKEE COUNTY, contains the Village of Belgium. The unincorporated communities of Lake Church, Dacada, Holy Cross, Decker, and Sauk Trail Beach are also within the Town of Belgium’s boundaries. Belgic LUXEMBOURGERS were among the first Europeans to settle the area in the late 1840s. According… Read More

Brewer’s Hill

The Frederick Ketter Warehouse, built around 1891, has housed a variety of manufacturing operations, including a horseradish and honey factory. Situated near the edge of Brewer's Hill and Halyard Park, the building has been claimed by both communities throughout its history.
The Brewer’s Hill neighborhood has experienced a cycle of prosperity, neglect, and renaissance. Brewer’s Hill is located to the north of DOWNTOWN between North Holton Street and North Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. It stretches as far north as North Avenue, with the Milwaukee River making up its southern border.An industrial neighborhood from its development… Read More

Bronzeville

Three people walk past local businesses located near 12th and Walnut Streets in 1958. Some of the businesses include a men's clothing and jewelry store and a tailor.
Known variously as the “Inner Core,” “Sixth Ward,” and (pejoratively) “Little Africa,” among other names, Bronzeville was the historic core of African-American Milwaukee on the city’s Near North Side. Racial segregation roughly defined its boundaries along State Street, North Avenue, North 3rd Street (now Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive), and North 12th Street. Milwaukeeans… Read More

Cedarburg

This photograph shows the flour mill built in 1855 in the heart of Cedarburg.
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

Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railway

This 1910 postcard showcases the large Milwaukee Road station once located on W. Everett Street. It was designed by prominent architect E. Townsend Mix and first opened in 1886.
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

City of Brookfield

Three men provide a ski demonstration for onlookers at the Brookfield Square Mall in 1980. Opened in 1967, it was the first enclosed mall in the Milwaukee area.
The City of Brookfield is located in the northeast corner of Waukesha County. It is north of New Berlin, south of Menomonee Falls, and east of Pewaukee. According to the U.S. Census, the City of Brookfield had almost thirty-eight thousand residents in 2010. Its elected officials include a common council of fourteen alderpersons and a… Read More

City of Glendale

The Milwaukee Town Hall was constructed in 1872 and utilized as a meeting place until much of the town was incorporated into Glendale in 1950. The building was restored by the Glendale Women's Club in the 1960s.
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

Clarke Square

Architect Henry C. Koch drew inspiration for the 1898 Mitchell Park Conservatory design from the Crystal Palace in London. It was replaced by the iconic Domes in 1965.
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
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