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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…
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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,…
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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, hosts 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…
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Boating

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,…
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Boerner Botanical Gardens

Postcard created between 1932 and 1945 illustrating the administration building and landscaping of the Boerner Botanical Gardens.
The Botanical Gardens, a highlight of Milwaukee County’s nationally-recognized PARK system, are a product of Depression-era labor. CHARLES WHITNALL, a long-time member of the County Park Commission, pushed for the acquisition of park land in the 1920s. He envisioned such space as an escape from urban life. The gardens were built in the park named…
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Borchert Field

Postcard featuring crowds gathered outside Borchert Field, postmarked 1911.
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…
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Bowling

Photograph of bowlers in action at the first tournament hosted by American Bowling Congress, held in Milwaukee in 1905.
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…
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Brewer’s Hill

The Frederick Ketter Warehouse, built around 1891 has housed a variety of manufacturing operations, including a horseradish and honey factory. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.
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…
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Brewing

Postcard Advertising beer and pretzels in Milwaukee, Wis.
Brewing beer has been a central industry in Milwaukee since the mid-nineteenth century and frames the city’s identity—more than any other single industry. According to Thomas Cochran, one of the industry’s major historians, “Milwaukee’s beer became famous throughout the world within the course of the first three decades of its manufacture.” The city and the…
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Bridges

This 1924 photograph shows the Lincoln Avenue Bridge over the Kinnickinnic River.
Three rivers—the MILWAUKEE RIVER, MENOMONEE RIVER, and the KINNICKINNIC RIVER—run through Milwaukee and converge DOWNTOWN. Because they forge connections across the natural barriers of rivers, bridges have facilitated transportation and commercial activity. But their construction and use also sparked conflict throughout the city’s history. Milwaukee pioneers SOLOMON JUNEAU, BYRON KILBOURN, and GEORGE WALKER competed fiercely…
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Briggs & Stratton Corporation

This 1954 advertisement highlights the many convenient uses of the Briggs & Stratton 4-cycle engines.
Headquartered in Milwaukee for over a century, the Briggs and Stratton Corporation began in 1908 as a partnership between inventor Stephen F. Briggs and investor Harold M. Stratton. The company initially focused on manufacturing automobile parts such as locks, igniters, and starter switches, the last of which accounted for most of the company’s business as…
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British

Portrait of Bishop Kemper, the first Episcopal missionary bishop in Wisconsin, taken in 1855. He was a prominent figure in establishing the Anglican religion in the midwest.
The territory that became Milwaukee fell under British imperial rule in 1763 when Great Britain defeated France in the French and Indian Wars. It became a territory of the United States after American independence. Neither the British nor Americans settled the area at the time. The small fur-trading community remained predominantly French and Indian until…
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Bucyrus International Inc.

52 men stand inside a massive dipper for a 950B stripping shovel manufactured at the Bucyrus-Erie plant in South Milwaukee.
No other company built as wide a variety of excavating and lifting machines as Bucyrus International, Inc. and its predecessor companies. Machines have been manufactured at its South Milwaukee plant since 1893 and from 2011 by Caterpillar Inc., which purchased Bucyrus that year. Originally founded in 1880 as the Bucyrus Foundry and Manufacturing Company at…
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Buddhists

The formal introduction of Buddhism to America occurred at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, when a Japanese Zen monk named Soyen Shaku (1860-1919) came as an envoy. Ninety years later and ninety miles north of Chicago, the formal practice of Buddhism began in Milwaukee under the guidance of Japanese Soto Zen monks at the…
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Building Regulations

Building regulations, such as housing codes, categorized and quantified physical characteristics of structures in Milwaukee. This building, from the 1400 block of North 6th Street, was in such poor condition that it was razed soon after this photograph was taken in 1947.
As in other nineteenth century North American cities, Milwaukee’s earliest regulations dealt with the risk of fire. Destructive fires in the 1840s and 1850s led the city to prohibit the construction of wooden buildings in the central business district and to regulate the design and construction of chimneys, hearths, ovens, and boilers. Concerns about health,…
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Byron Kilbourn

A 2005 photograph of Byron Kilbourn's tombstone, located in Milwaukee's Forest Home Cemetery.
Of the three individuals considered Milwaukee’s founders, Byron Kilbourn could arguably rank first among these icons. Certainly in terms of a metropolitan vision, Kilbourn had the most ambitious and comprehensive dreams of not only what could happen in this part of Southeastern Wisconsin but also, importantly, what it would take to realize such dreams. Foremost,…
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Cardinal Stritch University

Cardinal Stritch University experienced significant growth and expansion toward the end of the 20th century. This modern aerial photograph provides a view of campus from the east.
Since 1937 Cardinal Stritch University has been dedicated to offering a liberal arts education and providing for the underserved. Stritch’s story began in the depths of the Great Depression when Milwaukee Archbishop Samuel A. Stritch urged the city’s women’s religious communities to establish teacher training schools for the nuns within their orders. The Sisters of…
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Carl Sandburg

Photograph of Carl Sandburg sitting with his typewriter at his home in Illinois, circa 1917-1918.
Poet, journalist, novelist, and biographer of Abraham Lincoln, Carl Sandburg came to Wisconsin from Chicago in late 1907 to be a political organizer in rural Wisconsin for the state’s Social Democratic Party. Sandburg rose rapidly among Milwaukee’s SOCIALISTS between 1908 and 1912 because of his enthusiasm for the local brand of socialism and his powerful…
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Caroline Quarlls

This portrait of Caroline Quarlls was taken when she lived in Sandwich, Ontario, Canada after escaping slavery.
Caroline Quarlls (later Quarlls Watkins) is widely recognized as the first enslaved person to migrate through Wisconsin using the Underground Railroad, reaching Canada and freedom in 1842. Born in 1826 in St. Louis, Missouri, Quarlls decided at age 16 to escape slavery, leaving her home on July 4th, 1842. She traveled by steamboat from St.…
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Carroll University

This photograph provides a view of Carroll University as it looked from the southeast in 1967, when it was still known as Carroll College.
Founded by territorial charter in 1846 in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Carroll College grew out of the then five-year-old Prairieville Academy, a preparatory program to fit young men for entry into the state university or eastern colleges. Carroll’s official charter, signed on January 31, 1846 by Territorial Governor Henry Dodge (two days before he signed the Beloit…
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