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Town of Port Washington

This reproduction of an 1892 plat map illustrates the rural landscape of the Town of Port Washington that surrounded the city's limits.
John H. Mullett first surveyed what would become the Town of Port Washington in 1833 as part of the exterior portion of the Public Lands Survey in Wisconsin. Mullett noted that the land was “gently rolling” and second rate, with both streams and swamp lands containing birch, ash, elm, oak, and sugar bush. The interior… Read More

Town of Trenton

St. Augustine Catholic Church, built from fieldstone in 1856, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Town of Trenton is located on the eastern edge of Washington County and originally occupied a six-mile square, or thirty-six square miles of land. This land area diminished after an extensive series of annexations by the neighboring Town of West Bend, the construction of the West Bend Municipal Airport, and the incorporation of the… Read More

Town of Waukesha

The first town hall for the Town of Waukesha, pictured here in the 1930s, was built in 1842.
The history of the Town of Waukesha parallels that of Waukesha County. It was established originally on January 2, 1838 as part of the Town of Muskego within Milwaukee County (as was the rest of what is now Waukesha County). In 1839, it became a separate township under the name of Prairie Village, changing to… Read More

Town of Wayne

Composed largely of agricultural space or wetlands, this image of the Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area in Wayne features waterfowl in the foreground with farm buildings in the background.
Named in honor of the Revolutionary War’s General Anthony Wayne, the Town of Wayne is located in northwestern-most point in Washington County. It borders Fond du Lac County to the north and Dodge County to the west. When European incomers arrived and settled the area, beginning in 1846, they found a dense hardwood forest. Much… Read More


A man sits atop a horse-drawn wagon carrying a metal tank. The wagon is labelled as belonging to the Heil Company, located in the Layton Park neighborhood.
The Milwaukee area has been a crossroads for travelers throughout its history as an inhabited place. Milwaukeeans and their goods have gotten around by foot, horse, and engine power, using transportation technologies ranging from wheeled wagons to trains, streetcars, automobiles, busses, boats, and ships. Milwaukee’s transportation routes link people together within the region and to… Read More

Transportation Policy

Automobiles, a horse and buggy, and trolleys share the road on E. Wisconsin Avenue in the early twentieth century.
Milwaukee sits at the confluence of three rivers: the Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic on Lake Michigan’s western shore, some eighty miles north of Chicago. This location has always been central to its appeal. The first sailing vessel to dock on its shores arrived in 1778, seventy years before Wisconsin became a state. For centuries, native… Read More

Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church

Photograph featuring the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, circa 1885.
Standing at the corner of North 9th Street and West Highland Avenue in downtown Milwaukee, Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church has been called the “Mother Church of Missouri Synod Lutheranism” in Milwaukee. Designed by German immigrant Frederick Velguth for Milwaukee’s oldest German Lutheran congregation, the Victorian Gothic structure, completed in 1880, is recognized as a municipal… Read More


Built in 1874, St. Michael's was originally known as the Salem Evangelical Church (Lutheran). It became home to St. Michael's, Wisconsin's only Ukrainian Catholic Church, in 1953. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
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

Unitarian Universalists

Photograph of Milwaukee's First Unitarian Society. Established in 1892, it is the faith's oldest gathering space.
Unitarianism in Milwaukee dates to 1842 when a contingent of liberal Christians gathered to hear a visiting preacher and proceeded to form the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee. Approximately forty members began meeting in the old city courthouse, and soon erected a church and secured a permanent minister from Massachusetts. As liberal Protestants who privileged… Read More

United Church of Christ

Founded in 1841 as the First Congregational Society, Plymouth Church UCC is one of the oldest congregations in Milwaukee. Its current building, pictured here in 1953, has been the congregation's home since 1914.
The United Church of Christ (UCC), founded in 1957, and its predecessor denominations can trace their history to the earliest settlement of greater Milwaukee. The UCC is a twentieth century union of four American Protestant churches: Congregational, Christian, German Evangelical Synod, and German Reformed. Congregational, German Evangelical Synod, and German Reformed congregations gathered in this… Read More

United Migrant Opportunity Services, Inc. (UMOS)

Migrant laborers leave a cucumber field in Portage, Wisconsin in 1967 as part of a strike organized by the Obreros Unidos labor union. Obreros Unidos leader Jesus Salas was appointed as the director of UMOS in 1968.
In the early 1960s, up to 15,000 migrant workers, mostly Mexican Americans from Texas, were arriving in Wisconsin each year to harvest crops and work in canneries. However, the increasing mechanization of Wisconsin agricultural production, bad weather, and overproduction that resulted in crops being plowed under instead of harvested left some migrants from Texas without… Read More

United Performing Arts Fund

The Milwaukee Youth Symphony, one of the arts organizations supported by UPAF, helped with the fundraising in this photograph from Uihlein Hall.
The United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) is a collaborative, non-profit organization that has been central to the growth of Milwaukee’s performing arts community. Its mission is to “promote the performing arts” and to provide “financial support of the performing arts in Southeastern Wisconsin.” UPAF has raised more than $250 million since its inception in the… Read More

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Aerial photograph of UWM's campus taken in 1983. Lake Michigan is visible in the background and surrounding neighborhoods are in the foreground.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is the largest university in Milwaukee and the second largest (behind UW-Madison) in Wisconsin. In 2016, UWM enrolled 27,000 undergraduate and graduate students with a faculty and academic staff of more than 1,600. That same year, UWM was classified as a top-tier, Category 1 Research University by the Carnegie Classification of… Read More

University of Wisconsin-Washington County

UW-Washington County serves students from around the area as well as its West Bend community.
The University of Wisconsin-Washington County (UW-WC) is one of thirteen University of Wisconsin colleges, this one primarily serving students from Washington, Ozaukee, Dodge, and Milwaukee counties. Located in West Bend, UW-WC offers courses leading to 250 majors at this freshman/sophomore campus. Collaborative bachelor degree programs with UW-Oshkosh, UW-Platteville, and UW-Milwaukee allow students to obtain four-year… Read More

University of Wisconsin-Waukesha

Founded in the 1960s as the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, the two-year college campus is now part of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
In the 1960s, Wisconsin experienced a large spike in student enrollments as the baby boomers graduated from high school and looked for advanced educational opportunities. Waukesha County, in particular, saw a tremendous increase in population as families moved west from Milwaukee along the new Interstate 94 corridor. Wisconsin’s flagship university in Madison could not accommodate… Read More

University School of Milwaukee

The University School of Milwaukee has its roots in the German-English Academy, which was founded in 1851. The German-English Academy's iconic building, pictured here, still stands downtown.
The University School of Milwaukee, located in the suburb of River Hills, was created by a merger of the Milwaukee Country Day School, Milwaukee Downer Seminary, and Milwaukee University School in 1963. It is comprised of students ranging from pre-kindergarten to twelfth grade. The Milwaukee University School, formerly the German-English Academy, and its distinct teaching… Read More

Up North

Rudolph and Alice Gruettner, a couple from Milwaukee, wave from their boat on Rice Creek, located in Vilas County, in 1909.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, “Up North” is a relative term, more of a state of mind than an actual place. That’s especially true for people from Milwaukee. The Movoto travel guide states, “if a Milwaukeean says they’re headed ‘up north’ for the weekend, it means they’re taking a few days to simply… Read More

Urban Ecology Center

A 2012 photograph of the Urban Ecology Center's main building, constructed in 2004 in Riverside Park.
The Urban Ecology Center (UEC) is a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental awareness in Milwaukee. In 1991 residents of the area around Riverside Park began organizing park cleanups as a way to teach children about the environment, as well as to fight pollution and crime. They soon organized as the UEC and began hosting classes… Read More

Urban Renewal

Photograph of an demolished lot and other housing structures on W. Fond Du Lac Avenue that were eventually torn down and replaced by the Hillside Housing Development.
In Milwaukee, urban renewal largely took place between the mid-1960s and the early 1980s, primarily in Midtown and adjoining neighborhoods during the mayoralty of Henry W. Maier. In preceding decades, due in large part to the economic stagnation and dislocation caused by the Great Depression and World War II, significant portions of Milwaukee’s infrastructure had… Read More

US Bank Center

Photograph of the U.S. Bank Center from Lakefront Park taken in 1985.
The US Bank Center was constructed as the home of the First Wisconsin National Bank. In 1969 the company unveiled plans to move from its headquarters at 735 N. Water Street to a new downtown headquarters building at 777 E. Wisconsin Avenue. When finished in 1973, the surpassed Milwaukee’s CITY HALL as the tallest in… Read More
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