The first Milwaukee courthouse was built in 1836 at the site of what today is Cathedral Square Park. This sample chapter from the book “Lost Milwaukee” by Milwaukee Notebook writer Carl Swanson. Early settler James S. Buck wrote the four-volume Pioneer History of Milwaukee, which one writer described as “a fascinating hodgepodge of largely undigested facts, gossip, puffs and salty observations.” Buck included events both great and small in the city’s formative years. For example, many historians relate the construction of Milwaukee’s first courthouse in what is today Cathedral Square, but only Buck gave us “The Courthouse Trouser Disaster.”...Read More
Author: Carl Swanson
My journey into the past started with a decaying concrete foundation in the woods along the Milwaukee River. A few minutes on the Internet pulled up the answer – the foundation was that of the Gordon Park bathhouse, which opened in 1914. It had an eating room, more than 300 lockers, and could accommodate as many as 600 swimmers at a time. In the winter it served as a warming house for ice skaters. There is much more to the story. The first all-city swim meet was held here in 1921. More than 100 competitors took part, 59 in...Read More
In 1845, an argument over who should pay for civic improvements escalated to the point that a cannon was wheeled out to threaten the west side of town with artillery fire. The dispute ended in the wrecking of most of the bridges in town. They called it the Bridge War. The dispute is all the more remarkable for Milwaukee, standing at the confluence of three rivers, is a city of bridges. A 1935 article in the Milwaukee Journal noted, “Milwaukeeans cross their bridges when they come to them – and they come to them, on the average, more than...Read More
On September 7, 1861, a mob overwhelmed police, broke into the Milwaukee city jail, and dragged an African-American prisoner from his cell. The prisoner, Marshal Clark, was beaten and then lynched – his body left hanging from a pile-driving machine on Buffalo Street just east of Water Street. Lynchings were common in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, especially in the South and especially targeting African-Americans. (The Tuskegee Institute counted 4,743 lynchings in the United States between 1882 and 1968, of which 3,446 of the victims were African-American.) Sixteen lynchings have taken place in Wisconsin. The first occurred in...Read More
The original Milwaukee streetcar system racked up a lot of stories in its 100 years of service to Milwaukee. This is one of the stranger ones. Milwaukee has many transit firsts. It was the first large city to merge independent trolley companies into a single transit system. It pioneered the use of weekly ride passes. Milwaukee also boasts possibly the first recorded case of “trolley rage.” In December 1946, Albert Greb, 43, a Milwaukee streetcar motorman, appeared in district court to answer charges of reckless driving and causing damage to property – namely, using a streetcar to demolish an...Read More
In the 1890s, couples flocked to Milwaukee to take advantage of laws allowing immediate weddings, no license, no waiting period, and hardly any questions asked. As a Milwaukee Journal article of the time put it, the State of Wisconsin might as well be called the State of Matrimony. On any given day, the Goodrich Transportation Co. excursion steamer Christopher Columbus was sure to have a few eager couples boarding at Chicago for the trip to Milwaukee.When those couples sat down for a meal they would find advertisements on the ship′s menu from Milwaukee justices of the peace offering special...Read More
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Be a part of the
Be a part of the celebration as thousands ride through the streets of downtown Milwaukee celebrating 115 years of freedom before landing at the lakefront for one final hurrah. Be amazed at every turn as riders from around the world wave their hometown flags proudly right here in the birthplace of Harley-Davidson. Riders and the community will line the route to see the beauty and the brawn of customized motorcycles and unique show bikes. The parade kicks off at 45th Street and Wisconsin Avenue, continues east through downtown Milwaukee and lands at the Harley-Davidson 115th Anniversary and H.O.G. 35th Moto-Carnival at Veterans Park. We’ve welcomed them home, and we’ll send them off in style.
(Sunday) 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm CST
400 W Canal St, Milwaukee, WI 53201
For a long time, Milwaukee's
For a long time, Milwaukee’s harbor has been seen as “off limits” or unwelcoming, but it’s time to show everyone its true potential. Join Harbor District, Inc. (Rain or Shine) outside the School of Freshwater Sciences (600 E. Greenfield Ave.) at the East end of Greenfield Ave for Harbor Fest. This family-friendly festival includes fun activities like a boat parade, paddling lessons, fishing lessons, a bike tour, street games, music, and food.
(Saturday) 11:00 am - 4:00 pm CST
Harbor District Milwaukee
600 E Greenfield Ave, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53204
Since its Inception in 2009,
Since its Inception in 2009, Yacht Blast for Kids has granted more than 160 wishes for deserving wish children through Make-A-Wish Wisconsin. Generous boat owners take more than 30 wish families out on their yachts and return back to celebrate with the public. There will be a large screen TV broadcasting the game, Packer pools, 50/50 raffles, auctions, bounce houses, face painting and more! What better way to celebrate the Packer Game than making wishes come true for children living with critical illnesses.
(Sunday) 11:30 am - 4:00 pm CST
Milwaukee Yacht Club
1700 N Lincoln Memorial Dr, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202
Milwaukee Downtown joins the international
Milwaukee Downtown joins the international PARK(ing) Day movement for the second year. On Friday, September 21, 2018, parking spaces around the globe will be temporarily reclaimed for people. In downtown Milwaukee, a dozen metered spaces will be transformed into new territories for creative experimentation, activation, socializing and play.
(Friday) 10:00 am - 3:00 pm CST
Milwaukee Downtown BID
600 E Wells St., Milwaukee, WI 53202
Join us for the Annual
Join us for the Annual Black Cat Alley Mural Festival where we unveil and celebrate five new artworks created in the Alley in 2018. Official site for Doors Open Milwaukee. Enjoy dance performances, food trucks, and plenty of art as we unveil new murals at Black Cat Alley. Just across Kenilworth at UWM, the mysterious new Fall Experiment will be taking place as well. Sponsored by Northwestern Mutual and gener8tor, Fall Experiment will explore the future with a series of FREE tech talks, art, film, music and gaming experiences. Artists will be available throughout the weekend to talk about their artworks and answer questions about the realities of mural installations. And, the Grand Finale Concert for AlleyWayz, featuring female vocalists Amanda Huff and Hannah Mrozak.
22 (Saturday) 10:00 am - 23 (Sunday) 8:00 pm CST
Black Cat Alley
2122 N Prospect Ave, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202
Join UBLAC Milwaukee, Black Women,
Join UBLAC Milwaukee, Black Women, and our supporters as we honor the great Vel Phillips, mobilize voters for November elections, and stand in solidarity with our national partner, Black Women’s Blueprint. We will march down Vel Phillips Avenue and conclude at Clinton Rose Park located at 3045 N. MLK Drive with closing speakers and a resource fair. Food will be served after the march.
Allies and Men are welcome to participate during the rallying portions of the event. Please respect the space during the march portion for Black Women Only.
Just like last year, Men wear green, Allies wear red, Black women wear black! We’re all doing powerful work in different ways. Let’s share what we are doing and bring as many other Black women into our work as we can. There are more to reach and teach.
(Saturday) 9:00 am - 2:00 pm CST
2323 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53212