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Ice Skating

Pictured here in January of 1897, city residents ice skate on the Milwaukee River near Wright Street.
The Milwaukee area has a rich history of ice skating, providing opportunities for speed skating, figure skating, and amateur and public skating. In 1928, the first United States Olympic speed skating time trials were held in Oconomowoc. In 1949, the West Allis Speed Skating Club’s winning reputation earned West Allis the title of “Skating Capital… Read More

Indoor Recreation

Indoor recreation in Milwaukee traces its roots to German gymnastics. This image, circa 1914, showcases the interior of a Milwaukee gymnastics hall.
Since Milwaukee’s earliest days, organized indoor recreation has promoted fitness, hygiene, entertainment, and civic betterment. While a wide variety of Milwaukeeans participated in these activities, there were noticeable class, gender, and age distinctions that often reflected the deeper social goals at work. The earliest references to indoor recreation in Milwaukee date to the 1850s and… Read More

Miller Park

Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers National League baseball team.
Miller Park serves as the home of the Milwaukee Brewers and bears the name of its primary sponsor, the MillerCoors brewing company. Located west of downtown, Miller Park features North America’s only fan-shaped retractable roof and houses a retro-style asymmetrical playing field designed to benefit hitters and baserunners. Miller Park was the site of the… Read More

Milwaukee Admirals

The 2004 Milwaukee Admirals celebrate after winning the Calder Cup.
Milwaukee has been home to the Milwaukee Admirals since 1970. After memberships in the United States Hockey League and International Hockey League, the Admirals joined the American Hockey League (AHL) in 2001. Previously affiliated with the National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks, the Admirals became the minor league affiliate of the Nashville Predators… Read More

Milwaukee Braves

Photograph featuring, from left to right, Joe Adcock, Eddie Mathews, Bobby Thomson, and Hank Aaron of the 1957 Braves at spring training.
The Milwaukee Braves were unique among professional sports franchises. When owner Lou Perini moved his National League baseball club from Boston to Milwaukee in March 1953, the Braves became the first major league ball club to change cities in half a century. The shift initiated a series of westward migrations by teams and provided the… Read More

Milwaukee Brewers

Team photograph of the 1979 Milwaukee Brewers. During this season they accumulated 95 wins, 66 losses, and finished second in the American League East.
Numerous baseball teams have used the “Brewers” moniker in Milwaukee since the 1880s. The Milwaukee Brewers (1902-1952) of the minor league American Association departed upon the arrival of the major league Braves franchise. The present-day Milwaukee Brewers joined the American League in 1970, when the Seattle Pilots relocated to Milwaukee, and shifted to the National… Read More

Milwaukee Bucks

Mural showing the members of the 2021 Milwaukee Bucks championship team
The Milwaukee Bucks joined the National Basketball Association in 1968 and won the league championship three years later—setting a record for the shortest time from entering the league to becoming world champions. The team has won thirteen division titles and played in the conference finals twice. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Junior Bridgeman, Bob Lanier, Jon McGlocklin, Sidney… Read More

Milwaukee County Stadium

Aerial view of Milwaukee County Stadium, looking north, taken in 1985.
Construction began on Milwaukee County Stadium in 1950 with the hope of bringing professional baseball back to Milwaukee, but the stadium ultimately served as a multi-functional entertainment venue in the city’s industrial Menomonee Valley. Its construction was unique among Major League ballparks in two ways: it was the first one to be erected with lights… Read More

Milwaukee River

Photograph featuring a downtown view of the Milwaukee River with a boat docked in the foreground.
About 12,000 years ago, the Laurentide Ice Sheet began to retreat from northern and southeastern Wisconsin. This ice sheet, which covered most of Canada and the northern United States, left its mark on Wisconsin, cutting moraines, kettles, drumlins, and rolling hills into the state’s landscape. This glacial retreat also created Wisconsin’s many ponds, lakes, rivers,… Read More

Milwaukee Turners

Illustration of the 1880 Milwaukee Turners' team. This group of men competed in Germany's Fifth National Turnfest in Frankfurt and won five medals.
Turnen is simply the German word for gymnastics, but the Turner movement has been defined by its compelling combination of physical exercise, cultural activity, and civic engagement. The German-American group played a leading role in the public life of Milwaukee, especially in the late nineteenth century. At that time, an estimated one in twelve Milwaukeeans… Read More

Milwaukee Wave

Milwaukee Wave forward Ian Bennett dribbles the ball away from an opponent from the Baltimore Blast in 2013.
In 1984, club president Tony Ramos announced the formation of an indoor soccer franchise known as the Milwaukee Wave. The Wave have played their home games at various locations, including the Milwaukee Auditorium, the Bradley Center, and the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. Although mired near the bottom of the American Indoor Soccer Association ranks for… Read More

Model Railroading

A crowd gathers around a large scale model railroad at the Wisconsin Hobby Exposition in Milwaukee in 1949.
Whether fabricating color-matched dirt for a layout or studying U.S. topographical reports to achieve a precise scale, model railroaders strive for accuracy and authenticity. While there are a number of cities that boast clubs and manufacturers, Milwaukee is arguably the historical headquarters of model railroading. One of the nation’s oldest model railroading organizations, the Model… Read More


A man wearing a Harley Davidson jacket races an automobile driver at a track in Cedarburg some time in the 1920s.
Motorcycling and Milwaukee have long and intertwined histories. In 1903, the Harley-Davidson factory was founded by William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson. Throughout the early twentieth century, the Harley-Davidson brand expanded its customer base and factory and employee size and began selling motorcycles outside the United States. The popularity of motorcycling grew with the formation… Read More


This 1911 postcard illustrates the domed interior of the Schlitz Palm Garden, which offered patrons fine food, music, and dancing.
Beginning in rustic boardinghouse barrooms serving straight whiskey and lively conversation and evolving into multi-million dollar night clubs with state-of-the-art sound systems entertaining finely-attired patrons, nightlife in Milwaukee has changed considerably as the city has grown and its population has diversified. Nightlife—the after-dark pursuit of entertainment, liquor, social mixing, romance, and sex—is an essential aspect… Read More

Outdoor Recreation

The Milwaukee Cricket Club, pictured here in 1908, was part of the Tri-City League, along with teams from Kenosha and Racine. That year, the Milwaukee Club had a record of one win and seven losses.
Throughout the city’s history, Milwaukeeans have engaged in outdoor recreational activities in pursuit of fitness, entertainment, community development, and other benefits. Outdoor recreation varies from individual to collective in scale, and from relaxing to active in character. Unlike indoor varieties, outdoor recreation changes with the seasons, and Milwaukeeans commonly engaged in both warm and cold… Read More

Pettit National Ice Center

Interior photograph of the Pettit National Ice Center with international flags hanging from the rafters.
The Pettit National Ice Center hosts international speed skating competitions, offers HOCKEY and ICE SKATING lessons and leagues for children and adults, and is an official United States training site for Olympic speed skating. Since the Ice Center’s opening in 1992, all U.S. speed skaters who have participated in the Winter Olympics have competed or… Read More

Professional Baseball

Baseball card featuring Milwaukee minor league pitcher John Freeman, circa 1889.
Milwaukee has been an important baseball location in professional baseball since the 1870s. It has never been the hub of mid-western baseball and certainly never could be with Chicago’s close proximity. The last quarter of the nineteenth century and first half of the twentieth century often found Milwaukee in the thick of major league baseball… Read More

Professional Wrestling

A popular tag team in the 1950s and 1960s, Dick "The Bruiser" Afflis is pictured with his wrestling partner, Milwaukee-born Reggie "The Crusher" Liswoski.
Professional wrestling, distinguished from other forms of wrestling by its tacit fakery and showmanship, has provided performance art for the masses in Milwaukee for more than a century. The modern American pastime emerged as a spectator sport in the second half of the nineteenth century as strongman acts in touring carnivals. These small-time shows looked… Read More

Recreational Fishing

In this photograph from between 1900 and 1910, two men and a young boy stand next to the line of fish they caught one morning in Oconomowoc.
Humans have fished Milwaukee area lakes and rivers for centuries. Natives, fur traders, and early settlers subsisted in part on the fish they caught in these waters. While the commercial fishing industry reduced the need for Milwaukeeans to fish for their survival by the 1860s, many residents continued the practice to maintain a connection to… Read More

Robert George Uecker

Bob Uecker acknowledges the crowd at Miller Park before throwing out the first pitch to start the NL Divisional Series between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011.
Robert George “Bob” Uecker is best known as a Milwaukee Brewers’ radio broadcaster, but he also has gained fame as a national baseball commentator, actor, author, and commercial spokesman. Born in Milwaukee on January 26, 1935, Uecker grew up watching the minor league Milwaukee Brewers at Borchert Field and aspired to a professional baseball career.… Read More