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Allan Huber “Bud” Selig

Low-angle shot of the front side of Bud Selig metal statue. The figure is depicted in a suit and tie, standing with his left hand inside his pants pocket and right hand holding a ball. The exterior wall of the American Family Field's stadium is visible in the background.
Allan Huber “Bud” Selig began serving as Commissioner of Major League Baseball in 1992, but his baseball roots were established in Milwaukee decades earlier. Born in Milwaukee on July 30, 1934, Selig grew up watching the minor league Milwaukee Brewers at Borchert Field. After graduating from UW-Madison and serving in the U.S. Army for two… Read More

Amateur Sports

Grayscale group photo of the Maple Leaf amateur football team posing in a studio. They pose in three rows. Seven men stand in the back row. Five men sit in the second row. The person in the middle holds a ball that read "Milw. League Champions 1914." Five men in the front row sit cross-legged on the carpeted floor with a large "Maple Leaf" pennant flag.
Participation in amateur organized sports, played for fun or pride, has long been a staple of both recreation and entertainment in Milwaukee. The first formal organized amateur sports clubs in the city were cricket teams. Then-congressman Abraham Lincoln reportedly watched a Milwaukee cricket team play a Chicago club in 1849. By 1852, newspapers were carrying… Read More

Amusement Parks

Image of the "Shoot the Chutes" in a wide shot shows the attraction from top to the bottom part that is attached to a large swimming pool. Two people riding a boat have just landed on the water after sliding from the top of the flume.
Amusement parks were important commercial leisure institutions in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Milwaukee. The development of such spaces with thrilling rides, midway games, stunt exhibitions, and other spectacles reflected a growing demand for new forms of American mass cultural amusement. The Americanization of Milwaukee’s large working-class immigrant communities found them enjoying local amusement… Read More

Animal-Human Relations

A grayscale image of two girls sitting on the fence in an outdoor space with a horse's appearing between them. The girls wear formal suits, ties and round hats. The one on the left carries a small trophy with her right hand and touches the animal's head with the other hand. The other girl smiles while holding the horse's reins.
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,… Read More

Auto Racing

Wide shot of at least five antique cars speeding on dirt-surfaced track. This image's upper part shows a cloud of dust thrown into the air behind the automobiles driving through the corner of the circuit. The bottom portion of this grayscale picture displays a blurry image of the circuit fence.
Since the advent of the automobile, auto racing has been a constant presence in Milwaukee, reflecting the competition and innovation that makes the sport one of the most popular in the world. The Milwaukee Mile, on grounds of the Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis, had been the site of horse racing since 1876… Read More


A grayscale group photo of Marquette Men's Basketball team in two rows. All five men sitting in the first row wearing uniforms that feature the word "Marquette." The one sitting in the middle holds a basketball that has the number "1917" painted on it. In the second row are four men in jerseys and three men in suits standing next to each other.
The game of basketball appeared in Milwaukee shortly after it was first played by students at Springfield College in Massachusetts in 1891. The popularity of the game increased rapidly and, by 1896, Milwaukee was home to five organized teams, including the city’s first high school squad at East Division High School. These clubs competed with… Read More

Beer Gardens and Beer Halls

A painted postcard of the Schlitz Palm Garden's interior in predominantly red and green color. It shows an array of dining tables and palm trees scattered in the hall under its vaulted ceiling. Inscribed in red ink on the bottom part of the painting is "Interior Schlitz Palm Garden, Milwaukee."
Beer gardens and beer halls were key early institutions in the vibrant beer culture that accompanied the development of Milwaukee’s iconic brewing industry. Milwaukeeans and visitors from various ethnic and class backgrounds frequented these establishments located throughout the city to drink beer, listen to music, play games, socialize with friends, neighbors, and family, and partake… Read More


High-angle shot of a bicycle race from the viewpoint of the spectators who sit on the hill. This grayscale image shows two people sitting on the grass under a tree shade, watching the racers heading down the hill on a winding road. The vast expanse of Lake Michigan appears in the distance, in the upper portion of this picture.
The Milwaukee region has been the epicenter of Wisconsin’s long and complicated love affair with bicycling since the last decades of the nineteenth century. In January 1869, a young man named Joshua G. Towne rode a velocipede—the all wood-and-iron frontrunner to today’s more modern bicycle design—through the city for the first time. Milwaukee residents soon… Read More

BMO Harris Bradley Center

The facade of the BMO Harris Bradley Center's northeast entrance outlined against the blue sky. Hanging between the building's pillars are two banners. One reads "Welcome to BMO Harris Bradley Center" and the other advertises an upcoming match between the Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit.
The BMO Harris Bradley Center, located in the heart of DOWNTOWN Milwaukee, hosted sports and entertainment events, including concerts, ICE SKATING shows, and corporate gatherings. Opened as the Bradley Center in 1988, the facility was funded by JANE BRADLEY PETTIT to honor her father, the industrialist Harry Lynde Bradley. In 2012, the Bradley Center sold… Read More


Aerial shot of rows of boats moored in the marina in Lake Michigan. In the background of this image is the wide landscape of Milwaukee against the blue sky.
Since its founding in 1846 at the site where the Milwaukee, the Menomonee, and the Kinnickinnic Rivers join to flow into Lake Michigan, Milwaukee has depended on its waterways for business, industry, and recreation. These waterways were important features of the city and county parks that were created starting in the late nineteenth century. Indeed,… Read More

Borchert Field

Image of a portion of Boerner Botanical Gardens showcasing its green landscape. Different plants and lawns grow on the ground. A group of purple landscaping flowers is set under the shade of a big lush tree in the background. A white gazebo is visible in the distance behind them. A white stone bench stands in the foreground.
Originally called “Athletic Park,” Borchert Field was the longest lasting professional ballpark in Milwaukee. Built in 1888, the field stood at Burleigh and 8th Streets. The park was home to the major league Milwaukee Brewers (1891), Negro League Milwaukee Bears (1923), All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Milwaukee Chicks (1944), and the minor league American Association… Read More


Long shot of the interior of a bowling alley full of spectators watching the bowlers in action. The long bowling lane looks dominant in this black and white photograph, filling the frame from the left side until almost the entire right side of the image. Some players stand still, watching the balls they have just thrown rolling down the bowling lanes. A replica of the Statue of Liberty is visible in the background of the spectator stands.
The game of tenpins, or bowling as it is more commonly known, has been associated with Milwaukee since German immigrants began arriving in the Midwest before the Civil War. Bowling took many forms before it was popularized as the game of tenpins. It has been said that, during the third and fourth centuries, German Christians… Read More


Grayscale full shot of Anton Chmurski demonstrating a boxing motion with eyes staring directly into the lens. For this studio portrait, he wears a sleeveless shirt, short pants on top of tight-fitting pants, socks, and shoes.
Boxing’s historical trajectory in Milwaukee paralleled its rise and fall on the national scene. Local fascination with prizefighting faded in the second half of the twentieth century, although amateur boxing has continued into the twenty-first century. The popularity of boxing grew in Milwaukee during the second half of the nineteenth century. At the time, boxing… Read More


Full shot of four men posing with their curling equipment in sepia tone. Two sit on chairs, including John Johnston, interspersed with two others that stand. They all hold brooms in their warm clothes and hats. Three curling stones are placed on the floor close to their feet.
The Milwaukee Curling Club (MCC), established in 1845, is the oldest continuous curling club in the United States. Curling, brought to the area by Scottish immigrants, was initially played on the Milwaukee River. James Murray served as the first president of the organization. Milwaukee curlers joined the Grand National Curling Club of America in 1867… Read More


Sepia-colored photograph of the 1936 Marquette University football team in the Cotton Bowl stadium. Four rows of the men in their uniforms pose with backs to the empty bleachers.
Milwaukee has a rich football history at a variety of levels: amateur, collegiate, high school, and professional. Although the sport had already attracted public interest in the nation and the state, perhaps the first notable game played in Milwaukee came on November 23, 1889, when a team sponsored by the Calumet Club defeated the University… Read More


Grayscale wide shot of three slot machines lining the wall of the Star Bar and Grill Room. On its right are two people, each holding a drink in a glass. A bartender stands smiling behind the bar. Bottles line the wall.
As is the case with most matters of vice, gambling has a history in Milwaukee that dates back to the community’s foundations. The area’s earliest gambling dens catered to lead miners from across southeastern Wisconsin. These men, flush with cash and accustomed to a rugged lifestyle, made sure that the village’s earliest card games were… Read More


Grayscale long shot of a woman showing a golf swing movement on a Milwaukee course. Two women play several feet behind. They all wear casual clothes and hats.
The game of golf is typically seen as a warm weather sport which thrives in sunbelt states, but it is also a vibrant and popular pastime in the Upper Midwest, including Wisconsin and Milwaukee. In 2016, there were over 600 private and public golf courses of different kinds in Wisconsin. In the five-county greater Milwaukee… Read More

Green Bay Packers

Wide shot of two football teams playing at the County Stadium. Lines of photographers kneel by the green football field while aiming their camera at the players, who are in action. Sun rays hit the field and the packed grandstand.
The Green Bay Packers, founded by Earl (Curly) Lambeau and George Calhoun, joined the American Professional Football Association (later the NFL) in 1921. One of the NFL’s most successful franchises, the Packers have won thirteen national championships, more than any other team in NFL history, and four Super Bowls (following the 1966, 1967, 1996, and… Read More

Henry Aaron

A grayscale portrait of young Hank Aaron in an outdoor space holding a baseball bat in a Milwaukee Brave jersey and cap. His left hand casually grips the barrel while his eyes look into the end cap of the wooden bat. The sun rays hit the right side of Aaron's face and body.
Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron became one of Milwaukee’s first major sports icons when he helped lead the Milwaukee Braves to their only World Series championship in 1957. Born in Mobile, Alabama, on February 5, 1934, Aaron began his baseball career with the Mobile Black Bears, a semi-pro team, at the age of seventeen. After briefly… Read More


Sepia-colored full shot of John Cooper and Hank Kearns playing hockey in the horizontally striped uniforms. Each holds a hockey stick while gliding through an outdoor ice arena. Faraway buildings and leafless trees are visible in the background.
Hockey in Milwaukee has had a rocky history, although the Admirals are quite beloved in the region. A hockey demonstration sponsored by Schlitz Park Polo Club on the Milwaukee River in 1887 first introduced hockey to Milwaukee, but it was only thirty years later that organized games were consistently played. The Milwaukee Drueckers, named after… Read More
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