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Basilica of Saint Josaphat

Photograph of the Basilica of St. Josaphat over the lagoon in Kosciuszko Park.
St. Josaphat Basilica Roman Catholic parish church is located on the corner of Lincoln Avenue and 6th Street on Milwaukee’s historically Polish south side. The parish was founded in 1888, the fifth in its burgeoning Polish immigrant community. After the first church burned down and a second was too small for a parish of 12,000… Read More


Team photograph of the Marquette University men's basketball squad from 1917.
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

Bastille Days

A man balances a tray with wine and wine glasses as he takes part in the Bastille Days waiters' race in 1983.
As the only Milwaukee ethnic celebration that operates as a genuine street festival, Bastille Days has been held in the Cathedral Square neighborhood on the East Side every July since 1982. The multi-day festival is inspired by Bastille Day, the French national holiday, which commemorates the storming of the eponymous prison on July 14, 1789,… 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

Beer Gardens and Beer Halls

First opened in 1896, the Schlitz Palm Garden was Milwaukee's most famous beer hall.
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

Bel Canto Chorus

Members of the Bel Canto Chorus take part in a sing-along performance of Handel's "Messiah" with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in 1983.
Milwaukee’s Bel Canto Chorus originated in the city’s numerous German singing clubs of the 1930s, a tradition brought to the area by nineteenth-century immigrants. One group, the “Festival Singers of Milwaukee,” founded in 1931 as a small a capella chorus, featured eight volunteers who performed sacred music. The organization evolved into the Bel Canto Chorus,… Read More


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

Bennett Law

The German-English Academy (left), founded in 1851 as a private school whose curriculum emphasized the German language, came under government regulation with passage of the Bennett Law.
The conflict over the Bennett Law of 1889 reveals the social forces acting on Milwaukee’s schools in the late-nineteenth century. Immigrant culture, nativism, and the push for “Americanization” were all at issue in this contest over the instructional language to be used in education. The roots of the Bennett Law lie in a speech by… Read More

Beth El Ner Tamid Synagogue

Dedicated in 1951, the Beth El Ner Tamid Synagogue was used by its congregation until a new building was constructed in Mequon in 1984.
In 1923 Beth El Ner Tamid Synagogue, then known as Congregation Beth El, became the first Conservative Jewish congregation to hold services in Milwaukee. As the only congregation on Milwaukee’s West Side, the first synagogue was built at North 49th Street and Garfield Avenue. (The building still stands today.) By the 1940s, it became evident… Read More

Betty Brinn Children’s Museum

In 2009, the Betty Brinn Children's Museum partnered with the U.S. Forest Service to create a traveling exhibit to teach children about caring for their natural resources.
The Betty Brinn Children’s Museum reflects a larger national trend of educational institutions embracing a child-centered design. Since 1975, the number of children’s museums in the U.S. has grown from approximately 38 to nearly 350 in 2015. By that year there were at least ten children’s museums in Wisconsin alone. Opened in April 1995, Milwaukee’s… Read More

Betty Quadracci

Betty Quadracci signs a signature plaque at the Milwaukee Press Club's Hall of Fame dinner in 2012.
Betty Ewens Quadracci was born the fourth of six children in 1938. Raised in SHOREWOOD and Milwaukee’s Upper East Side, she overcame polio as a young girl in the 1940s. In 1961, she graduated from Washington, D.C.’s Trinity College. Trained as a Montessori teacher, she helped establish the Montessori School of Waukesha in 1964. She… Read More

Beulah Brinton

Photograph of the Beulah Brinton House in Bay View. Today, the building is home to the Bay View Historical Society.
Born in Jay, New York, Beulah Brinton (1836-1928) moved to BAY VIEW from Michigan with her husband Warren, a manager at the Milwaukee Iron Company, in 1872. There, she served as a midwife and taught English and home economics to the wives of immigrant steel mill workers. During her forty years in Bay View, Brinton… Read More


Bicycle racers head down the hill below the Northpoint Water Tower in 1982.
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

Billie the Brownie

Starting in 1931, Billie the Brownie had a daily radio show. Along with Santa and "Captain" Larry Teich, the show's writer and producer, Billie the Brownie read stories and Milwaukee children's Christmas letters.
Billie the Brownie was a multi-media star of Christmas in Milwaukee from the 1920s to the 1950s. Years earlier, the writer and artist Palmer Cox had popularized “Brownies”—he created dozens of the little men, each with a different ethnic background, personality, and occupation—in scores of stories published in children’s magazines late in the nineteenth century.… Read More

Billy Mitchell

Portrait of Brigadier General Billy Mitchell
General William “Billy” Mitchell (1879-1936) was both a celebrated and polarizing figure during his career as a US Army officer. After World War I he championed military aviation. His fierce advocacy brought him into conflict with other military leaders, ultimately leading to his court martial. He has been posthumously praised for his vision and widely… Read More

Blatz Brewing Company

Postcard featuring the general offices and plant of the Blatz Brewing Company.
The Blatz Brewing Company was one of Milwaukee’s industrial brewing giants. Operating from 1851 to 1959, Blatz was an early innovator in bottling and national shipping, the first of the city’s national giants to sell its interests to concerns outside of the city, and the first of these giants to close its plant. The Blatz… Read More

Blessed Virgin of Pompeii Church

Prior to its razing in 1967, the Blessed Virgin of Pompeii was an institution central to Milwaukee's Italian community and a popular landmark because of its colorful exterior.
In the aftermath of Milwaukee’s most devastating fire in history in late October 1892, significant portions of the Third Ward’s Irish population migrated west toward the Tory Hill and MERRILL PARK neighborhoods. Replacing this first wave of immigrants was a second contingent, generally from Italy and more particularly from Sicily. Their numbers grew steadily, from… Read More

BloodCenter of Wisconsin

A 1949 photograph of the Junior League's Blood Center storefront on Wells Street just a few years after its founding.
In 1947, the JUNIOR LEAGUE of MILWAUKEE founded a blood center to deliver blood from donors to patients. By 2012, the BloodCenter of Wisconsin annually provided more than 300,000 units of blood to medical centers in 29 counties. It also investigates health treatments and conducts scientific research. For example, in collaboration with other research centers,… Read More

BMO Harris Bradley Center

Photograph of the northeast entrance of the BMO Harris Bradley Center in autumn of 2012.
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


Photograph featuring an aerial view of boats in the marina on Lake Michigan with Milwaukee in the background.
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