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Johnson’s Woods

A 1930 photograph of a house on 68th Avenue on a snowy March day.
Johnson’s Woods is a residential neighborhood in the City of Milwaukee between Interstate 94, the Hank Aaron State Trail, Seventieth Street, and the Wood National Cemetery. It is named for James Johnson, who purchased 141 acres of wooded land in the area in 1876. The land was part of the Town of Wauwatosa at that… Read More

Kenosha County

Pictured here in 2012, the Port of Kenosha sits along Lake Michigan. Its historic light station is seen in the middle ground of the photograph.
The relationship among Kenosha, Milwaukee, and Racine Counties has always been problematic, reflecting the dueling influences of Wisconsin and Illinois over their development. As one measure, consider how the U.S. Census Bureau officially designates their relationships. Although Racine is part of the Milwaukee-Racine-Waukesha WI Combined Statistical Area, Kenosha is not. Instead, the Census Bureau affiliates… Read More

Kewaskum

This 2018 photograph showcases the intersection of U.S. Route 41 and Wisconsin Highway 28 in Kewaskum.
While the Village of Kewaskum exists nearly entirely within the limits of the Town of Kewaskum, the boundaries between the Village and Town frequently shifted. In 1846, the territorial legislature reallocated the Kewaskum area from north central Washington County to the neighboring Town of West Bend. Just a year later, the land was separated from… Read More

Lake Country

The Lake Country is shown in this 1890 bird's eye view.
An informal name, northwestern WAUKESHA COUNTY’s Lake Country encompasses over twenty lakes and their surrounding region. These lakes vary in size and depth from large, named lakes, like PEWAUKEE, OCONOMOWOC, and Okauchee Lakes, to small ponds. Located within easy traveling distance of both Milwaukee and Chicago, Lake Country became a popular summer destination for wealthy… Read More

Layton Park

Manyard Electric Steel Casting has been located in Layton Park since World War I and continues its industrial operations in the neighborhood today.
The Layton Park neighborhood is on the south side of the City of Milwaukee. The 1970 Metropolitan Milwaukee Fact Book defined its boundaries as Lincoln Avenue from 16th Street to 24thth Street, Becher Street from 24th Street to 35th Street, and Howard Avenue from 16th Street to 35th Street. However, the City of Milwaukee’s Neighborhood… Read More

Menomonee Valley

A 1947 aerial view of the Menomonee Valley showing the Wisconsin Gas Company's coal gas processing and storage facility near 26th and St. Paul.
The 1,200-acre Menomonee Valley has always played a central role in the economic life of Milwaukee. Flowing through it is the Menomonee River, which provided Native Americans with a canoe route from Lake Michigan into the interior and abundant resources, including menomin (Algonquin for wild rice). As European settlement increased in the late 1800s, the… Read More

Merrill Park

Sherburn S. Merrill's mansion,  front lawn, and driveway, set on 15 acres in Merrill Park.
The Merrill Park neighborhood is in the City of Milwaukee between Wisconsin Avenue, Interstate 94, from 27th Street, and 39th Street. It is south of the CONCORDIA neighborhood and east of PIGGSVILLE. Together, the three neighborhoods make up the “West End,” so named because in the late nineteenth century it was at the west end… Read More

Merton

Built in 1855, this building was home to the First Baptist Church until 2009. It was then purchased by the village and now serves as a community center.
The Village of Merton is located about 25 miles northwest of Milwaukee in WAUKESHA COUNTY, bordering the Towns of Merton and LISBON. Before European settlers arrived there, Native Americans had an encampment in the area, along with a system of trails—one of which European immigrants traveled on their way through the Wisconsin territory. In 1840,… Read More

Midtown

Participants in a street festival run by the Midtown Neighborhood Association in May 1985.
The Midtown neighborhood is in the City of Milwaukee. Its boundaries are North Avenue to the north, Highland Avenue to the south, and Twentieth Street to the east. Highland Avenue was Milwaukee’s first boulevard. The neighborhood’s western boundary has traditionally been a railroad track that runs from about Thirtieth Street and North Avenue to Thirty-Seventh… Read More

Milwaukee County

The current Milwaukee County Courthouse was completed in 1931. To the left of the courthouse is a large complex that houses the Milwaukee County Jail, as well as the county Safety Building.
Milwaukee County is the most populous county in Wisconsin. It has 947,735 residents as of the 2010 federal census. The county consists of nineteen municipalities, including ten cities and nine villages. There are eighteen public school districts in the county. As a political entity, Milwaukee County was established by the Michigan Territorial Legislature on September… Read More

Mukwonago

The oldest brick house in Waukesha County, the Sewall Andrews House in Mukwonago is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and now houses a local museum.
Named from a Potawatomi word meaning “Place of the Bear,” Mukwonago is located thirty miles southwest of MILWAUKEE. The Village of Mukwonago makes up the southeastern corner of the Town of Mukwonago and extends south into WALWORTH COUNTY. Mukwonago’s other neighbors include the Towns of Vernon, East Troy, EAGLE, and GENESEE, and the Village of… Read More

Muskego

Muksego's lakes have long served as recreational attraction. In this 1941 photo, DNR employees dressed for the cold remove a net used for fish control from Bass Bay, a 100-acre embayment connected to Big Muskego Lake. Cars are parked on the thick ice on the left side of the image.
The City of Muskego lies approximately twenty miles southwest of Milwaukee in WAUKESHA COUNTY. It occupies almost thirty-six square miles. Originally, Muskego was in MILWAUKEE COUNTY and included modern-day WAUKESHA, VERNON, NEW BERLIN, and Muskego. In 1839, lawmakers subdivided Muskego into the four self-governing towns. A dispute over 431 acres of land annexed to New Berlin spurred… Read More

Neighborhoods

Created by the Federal Writers Project in 1940, this map divides Milwaukee into thirteen distinct areas.
A neighborhood is a small section of a larger municipality that residents understand as a connected territory near their homes. Sometimes neighborhoods have names and generally recognized boundaries; other times their definition is more diffuse. Because modern cities vary so much internally, urban planners and scholars use bounded neighborhoods to understand local differences in population… Read More

New Berlin

Members gather for the 1938 dedication of the Milwaukee Astronomical Society in New Berlin.
New Berlin is a city located in eastern Waukesha County. With an approximate population in 2010 of 39,584, it is the 16th largest city in the state. It is a six square mile area bordered by the city of Waukesha to the west, Muskego to the south, Brookfield to the north, and West Allis and… Read More

North Point

The North Point Light Station that stands today was built in 1887. It replaced a Cream City brick structure that was first constructed in 1855.
Milwaukee’s North Point neighborhood covers the area from E. Lafayette Place to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, E. Park Place to the north, and N. Summit and N. Downer Avenues to the west. The area takes its name from a part of the Lake Michigan coastline jutting into the water at about E.… Read More

Oconomowoc

An 1885 bird's eye view of Oconomowoc that highlights recreational boating.
Oconomowoc, located in northern WAUKESHA COUNTY about 35 miles from Milwaukee, is named from a Potawatomi word meaning “gathering of the waters.” The histories of the City and Town of Oconomowoc are tied to their lakes—Lac La Belle, Fowler Lake, Oconomowoc Lake, and Okauchee Lake. In 1837, the first YANKEE-YORKERS established residences in the area.… Read More

Ozaukee County

The county seat of Ozaukee County, the city of Port Washington is also the location of the only natural harbor in the county. It is pictured here in this 1883 map.
Located directly north of MILWAUKEE COUNTY, Ozaukee County is an integral part of both the Greater Milwaukee Area and the LAKE MICHIGAN waterfront. Although it is the second smallest of Wisconsin’s counties, having only 233 square miles of land, Ozaukee County was home to 86,395 residents in 2010. These residents live within 16 municipalities—three cities,… Read More

Piggsville

The northwest portion of the Piggsville neighborhood was once located around and beneath the Wisconsin Avenue viaduct after its construction was completed in 1911.
Piggsville is a neighborhood in the city of Milwaukee. Its borders are Wisconsin Avenue to the north, Interstate-94 to the south, 39th Street to the east, and 44th Street and Miller Parkway to the west. The northwest section of Piggsville was under the Wisconsin Avenue viaduct, which was torn down and replaced in 1993. Pigssville… Read More

Placemaking

Pictured here in 2010, the former Inner City Arts Council building features a mural by local community artist Reynaldo Hernandez.
The term placemaking can be confusing because different stakeholders understand it in various ways. Sometimes people refer to placemaking’s economic development functions; at other times, the emphasis is on cultivating city residents’ creativity. According to urban planner Mark Wyckoff, placemaking is simply a “process of creating quality places that people want to live, work, play… Read More

Racine County

This 1855 map shows the City of Racine (now the seat of Racine County) 14 years after it was chartered as a village and 9 years after it became a city.
Racine County was forged out of the original Milwaukee County on December 7, 1836. From the end of the Civil War to the 1950s, it ranked second in Wisconsin only to its northern lakeshore neighbor in total population, industrial development, and ethno-cultural diversity. Several of its manufacturing establishments achieved national—and even international—status. For several decades,… Read More