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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 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 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 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

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

Concordia

Pictured here in 1974, the Robert Faries Residence on State Street was built around 1850 for Robert Faries, who is believed to be Wisconsin's first dentist. It has had a series of owners, including Concordia College, and is currently privately owned.
The Concordia neighborhood is in the City of Milwaukee between Wisconsin Avenue, Highland Avenue, 27th Street, and 35th Street. It is north of the MERRILL PARK neighborhood and northeast of PIGGSVILLE. These three neighborhoods make up the “West End,” so named because it was at the west end of Wisconsin Avenue in the late nineteenth… Read More

Cudahy

An early 20th century postcard of Packard Avenue, one of Cudahy's major streets.
Located in Milwaukee County, just east of Milwaukee’s southernmost portion, the suburban city of Cudahy was named for city founder and meatpacker Patrick Cudahy. Cudahy is bordered by St. Francis to the north, General Mitchell International Airport to the west, Lake Michigan to the east, and Oak Creek and South Milwaukee to the south. The… Read More

Delafield

A 2009 photograph of Delafield's St. John Chrysotom Church, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The City of Delafield is a residential and resort area centered on Lake Nagawicka in the Lake Country area of Waukesha County. The Town of Delafield was created in 1842, allowing local government functions. Approximately 25 miles west of Milwaukee, Delafield was incorporated as a city in 1959. In 2010 the city’s population was estimated… Read More

Downtown

The newest Northwest Mutual Company building is under construction in this 2016 aerial photograph of Milwaukee's downtown. The Henry Maier Festival Park along Lake Michigan is in the foreground.
Milwaukee’s downtown was anomalous compared to its peer cities over a good part of its historical evolution. This uniqueness was expressed most noticeably in its relatively small size, its weaker commercial function, and its tenuous relationship to the balance of the metropolitan area. Primarily because the city was eclipsed economically by nearby Chicago, Milwaukee rarely… Read More

Eagle

Old World Wisconsin reconstructs life in 19th century Wisconsin in a buildings that are clustered by ethnicity. This Finnish log house was moved from its original location in Oulu, Bayfield County, Wisconsin.
Eagle, Wisconsin is a community in the Kettle Moraine State Forest, about 35 miles west of Milwaukee. Eagle consists of two legal entities: the Town of Eagle and the Village of Eagle. Although they are legally separate, they are closely linked by shared official services as well as community history and recreational attractions. Like most… Read More

East Side

This 2008 photograph shows a portion of Milwaukee's East Side, looking north along Farwell Avenue. Highrise private housing is visible along the lakefront, and a public highrise tower stands on the left side of the image.
Milwaukee’s East Side is the area roughly bounded by Lake Michigan to the east, the Milwaukee River to the west, the Village of Shorewood (E. Edgewood Avenue) to the north, and E. Ogden Avenue to the south. Covering a small northeast corner of the city representing only about 4% of Milwaukee’s total area, the East… Read More

Franklin

This advertisement from 1948 announces the grand opening of the 41 Twin Outdoor Theater in Franklin.
Franklin originated as a heavily wooded, 36-square-mile frontier bordering Racine County and bisected by the Root River. It was inhabited by the Potawatomi and Menominee Indian tribes until the mid-1830s, when German, Dutch, and Irish immigrants began arriving to clear the land for farming. Milwaukee County put land up for sale at $1.25 per acre,… Read More
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