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A large group of people pose for a photograph on an indoor stage. Small children sit in front while adults stand behind them. Some wear colorful traditional Korean attire. A banner that reads "Lunar New Year Celebration" in English is attached to the stage backdrop. There is also a large blue and white banner in Korean.
Estimated at approximately 4,000 residents in 2014, the Korean American population in the greater Milwaukee area has grown by at least twofold since the 1980s, when the community was estimated at 1,200 to 2,000 members. Yet the number of Korean restaurants was the same then as it is now: two. While Seoul Korean Restaurant and… Read More


Facade of the Milwaukee Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Holy Trinity Church, set between green trees. Cream bricks compose its exterior walls. The building features a door on the corner left and an entrance tower on the corner right. Each connects with a front staircase. Four rectangular windows are placed in between. A rose window adorns the facade peak.
The current Baltic state of Latvia became independent from the Russian Empire in 1918, was absorbed into the Soviet Union in 1940, was invaded by the Nazis in 1941, retaken by the Soviet Union in 1944, and was a Soviet Socialist Republic until the fall of Communism and independence in 1991. That political history served… Read More


A white sign with blue edges announces the Luxembourg American Cultural Centerl Museum. Three flags on flagpoles stand behind the sign. Open green landscape is visible on the background, with a blue sky.
Milwaukee’s population from Luxembourg played important roles in the development of several towns in the metropolitan area. Like the Germans, from whom their language descended, the Luxembourgers settled along Lake Michigan from Chicago through Milwaukee and northward through Ozaukee County and into Sturgeon Bay in the middle of the nineteenth century. In the nineteenth century,… Read More


Long shot of a colorful mural featuring an eagle looking right and a white dove carrying an olive branch as the iconic symbol of peace. The mural's background includes a rainbow and a globe on the left, and an array of colors involving the color of the Mexican flag spreading on the right behind the dove. Leafless trees are visible in the foreground of this photograph along with cars parked below the murals. Above is a clear blue sky.
Many of the earliest Mexicans to settle in Midwestern cities of the United States arrived from Mexico in the late 19th century to work maintaining the tracks for U.S. railroads. In Milwaukee, the earliest known Mexican resident was Rafael Baez, a musician who arrived from Puebla, Mexico in 1884 and was the organist and music… Read More

Native Milwaukee

A map of land cessions showing Wisconsin's area is divided into several colors. There are light blue, yellow, pink, grey, orange, and green. The colors indicate different sections of Native Americans' lands taken over by the United States. Lake Michigan and Lake Superior are colored in darker blue. Areas of Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan that border Wisconsin arenot colored. The text at the map's top left corner reads "Bureau of American Ethnology," and at the top right corner says "Eighteenth Annual Report. PL. CLXXI."
The Indigenous Peoples of North America have always claimed Milwaukee as their own. Known as the “gathering place by the waters,” the “good earth” (or good land), or simply the “gathering place,” Indigenous groups such as the Potawatomi, Ojibwe, Odawa (Ottawa), Fox, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Sauk, and Oneida have all called Milwaukee their home at some… Read More


Side view of the Norwegian Lutheran Church in sepia. The humble wooden structure consists of two sections topped by gabled roofs. Each section has two-level windows. A simple wooden fence appears on the right of the building. No other building is visible in the area. Only trees line the far background. Text at the bottom left of the image reads "The First Norwegian Church in America. (Wisconsin)."
In 1839, the Milwaukee area’s earliest Norwegian settlers arrived at Muskego Lake in search of better economic prospects and freedom from the doctrinal strictures of the State Church of Norway (Lutheran). While some settled in Milwaukee, most used the city as an entry point into Wisconsin and Illinois’ larger Norwegian communities. Still, Norwegian-Americans living in… Read More


Sepia-colored long shot of a large crowd of people sitting on bleachers at the Centurama Amphitheater. Some empty seating and rear view of people seated are visible in the foreground. The spectators face a stage that appears on the right in the distance. Only a small portion of the stage is visible. Rope fences surround the stage. The bleachers in the distance left, center, and right are packed. Trees grow in the background.
People have inhabited the geographic area that is the scope of this encyclopedia, what we now call the Milwaukee Metropolitan Area, for many millennia. Burial mounds, once quite common, but now mostly covered or leveled by later inhabitants, provide archaeological testimony to the thousands of years of human life in the area. The mound builders… Read More


Grayscale elevated shot showing dozens of people sitting in rows of long dining tables in a large hall. They pose in formal attire and make eye contact with the camera lens. Women in identical dresses sit in a row in the right background. A group of people sit on the stage in the left background. Strands of ribbons ornament the ceiling and ceiling lights. Small flags appear here and there in the background.
People of Polish immigrant origins and ancestry have made up the second largest European origin and ancestry grouping in Milwaukee since the 1880s, after the far greater population of German immigrants and their descendants. Millions of Poles wound up emigrating from every region of their country from the 1850s onward in quest of work opportunities… Read More

Puerto Ricans

Medium shot of Pascual Romero smiling at the camera lens in a red short-sleeve shirt, glasses, brown pants, and a black belt. Romero stands in an indoor space. The image is slightly blurry. The palm of another person's right hand with the ring finger and little finger bent appears in the right foreground.
The Puerto Rican community in Milwaukee dates from the early 1950s when workers were recruited to the city’s foundries and tanneries through the Chicago office of the Puerto Rican Department of Labor. As the economy in Puerto Rico shifted from agriculture to manufacturing in the 1940s, thousands of farm workers were displaced. Island political leaders… Read More


Russian Food & Gifts shop facade faces slightly to the left. The store has a display window in green colored-frame. Part of its entrance is visible. The red-colored store sign hangs on the exterior brick wall. An adjacent commercial place is visible.
Immigrants from the part of the world that was the Russian Empire until 1917, the Soviet Union until 1989, and the Russian Federation today, arrived in two waves, at two different bookends of the twentieth century. In 1910 some 15,000 people reported that they were born in “Russia” in the Milwaukee metro area. Of those,… Read More


Full shot of Billy Mitchell Scottish Pipe Band in Scottish clothes performing on an open stage. Some that are visible in this image play the bagpipes. They perform in white-colored long-sleeve shirts, red plaid kilts and socks, and black hats. A small group of people appears in the far right background.
The first Scots came to Milwaukee in the 1810s as fur traders. James Murray arrived in 1835 and became the first permanent Scottish settler in the city. A renaissance man of sorts, Murray was a painter, glazier, and real estate broker. As a Presbyterian, he played a role in founding the First Presbyterian Church in… Read More


Long shot of the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral building facing slightly to the left in daylight against the clear blue sky. The image shows two sides of the structure with the facade on the left. The facade features a triple-arched entrance portico and arched windows. The stone building has several copper-clad domes with a cross atop each.
Milwaukee’s Serb population dates to the late nineteenth century, when Serbs seeking industrial employment immigrated to Milwaukee and other cities along Lake Michigan’s waterfront, including Racine, Kenosha, and Chicago. This early Serb population arrived in Milwaukee as part of a larger movement of peoples from the Austro-Hungarian controlled areas of the Balkans, such as Slavonia,… Read More


Grayscale formal photograph of the Sokols gymnastics group posing in three rows in an indoor space. Men in suits and ties sit in the back row. Men in sleeveless gymnastic uniforms stand in the third row. A combination of female and male gymnasts in uniforms and two other adults sit with arms crossed in the second row. In the front row, six female gymnasts sit cross-legged on the floor with their arms crossed.
The Milwaukee area’s Slovak population dates from the 1880s, when economic dislocation at home and nationalist resistance to the Magyarization policies of the Austro-Hungarian Empire prompted immigrants to come to the United States in search of jobs and a better life. At the time, labor agents from American industrial plants, including southeast Wisconsin’s Patrick Cudahy… Read More


Long shot of Harmonie Hall facade on a street corner in grayscale. It features an arched dormer window at the top and several square windows beneath. The entrances of this three-and-a-half-story building are closed. A sign that reads "Harmonie" is above the main entryway. A beer advertisement painted on the building's side is visible. A car is parked in front of the Hall. Adjacent buildings and an intersection are visible.
Living in tight-knit communities in southern Milwaukee, West Allis, and Cudahy, Milwaukee Slovenian immigrants constructed an assortment of churches, fraternal orders, and cultural institutions that preserved their traditions while they also adapted to America. The earliest Slovenes arrived in Wisconsin in the 1870s when Slovenia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the migration continued… Read More


Grayscale photograph of Gustav Unonius in formal clothes sitting on a chair with his left hand resting on a table. His head faces slightly to the image's right.
According to the 2009-2013 American Community Survey, some 27,000 people in the Milwaukee metropolitan area identify themselves as of Swedish ancestry. Despite these numbers, the state’s and Milwaukee’s Swedish population, arriving in their largest numbers in the late nineteenth century, never represented a substantial portion of the population either in the city or outstate, and… Read More


A grayscale painting depicts John Martin Henni in a short cape and a pectoral cross sitting on a chair with his body facing slightly to the right. His right hand rests on the chair armrest.
The Swiss population in Milwaukee has not been a large one over the years, but Swiss immigrants and their descendants have contributed to Milwaukee’s political, religious, and cultural climates in critical ways. In 1930, some 4,000 people in the metro area reported their father’s birthplace as Switzerland. In the early twenty first century, some 8,000… Read More


Reproduction of a sepia-colored group photo of thirteen Milwaukee Syrians posing on stairs. Some hold the USA stick flags. A large American banner appears in the background behind a statue. This photo is slightly torn on the lower right side.
Milwaukee’s Syrian population dates to the late nineteenth century, when villagers from Ain Bordai, near present-day Baalbek in Lebanon, arrived in Chicago for the World’s Fair. At the time, Syria was a province in the Ottoman Empire. With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I, the region came under… Read More


Exterior view of St. Michael's Ukrainian Catholic Church in grayscale tone. The image shows the church's facade and side. The facade features three bays with an entrance and stairs in the center. A three-pointed arched window is on the left and right bay. Two windows of a similar type are above the entrance. Atop them is a small structure topped with a steep roof. Several arched windows are on the building's side.
The small Ukrainian-American community in Milwaukee began with immigrants in the early twentieth century and received additional migrants after World War II and the fall of the Soviet Union. For over a century, religious institutions, affiliated either with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church or the Ukrainian Catholic Church, have provided a place to sustain and maintain… Read More


Group photo of Father Joseph Quang and several choir members posing in two rows inside St. Martin of Tours church. Father Quang, in black-colored attire, stands in the center, between the first and second rows. Female choir members in light-blue and white dresses stand in the front. Six male members stand in the back. They are in white shirts and light-blue ties. All men are in suits except the one on the far left. A wooden cross is attached to the wall in the background. Sunshine goes through a mosaic window that appears on the left background.
Vietnamese refugees arrived in Milwaukee in several “waves” during and after the Vietnam War. In the years following, the Vietnamese who arrived in Milwaukee assimilated into American society. “First wave” refugees, with medical educations and middle- or upper-class backgrounds, came to America before 1975. These refugees used their connections to former American military officers they… Read More


Grayscale long shot of North Presbyterian Church facade sitting across a street in the background. Its central tower and entrance are visible in the distance. A fence surrounds the front yard. Trees grow next to the church and on the road verge in the image's foreground. A fence can be seen in the foreground.
The Milwaukee area’s Welsh population generally left their homes in Wales in southwestern Great Britain in the mid-nineteenth century due to the paucity of available land for farming. There is evidence that many people in Wales were aware of the 1841 American preemption laws, which allowed for the purchase of 160 acres for $1.25 per… Read More