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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The Hop, presented by Potawatomi
The Hop, presented by Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, is planning a weekend-long slate of events to celebrate the launch of passenger service on Friday, November 2. While riding The Hop for the first time will be the centerpiece of “Grand Hop-ening” weekend, there will be activities all along the route to engage the community and introduce riders to the many great destinations you can connect to via The Hop. The “Grand Hop-ening” celebration will be centered around Cathedral Square Park in the heart of downtown and adjacent to The Hop’s eastbound and westbound platforms on Kilbourn Ave. The historic event will begin at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, November 2 with remarks from officials and the ceremonial launch of passenger service. The Hop’s official information tent will be open in the park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. throughout the weekend.
(Friday) 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm CST
Cathedral Square Park
520 E Wells St, Milwaukee, WI 53202
88Nine Radio Milwaukee has joined
88Nine Radio Milwaukee has joined forces with the Capitol360 Innovation Center for this special event. The Hackathon will take place the last weekend of Startup Week Milwaukee, and will be held at the brand new Cream City Labs inside Northwestern Mutual in downtown Milwaukee. We invite developers, designers, and musicians to generate ideas for music discovery, music distribution, connecting fans with their favorite artists, how radio stations like 88Nine can help fans learn more about the music they love and discover new music.
(Saturday) 10:00 am - 7:00 pm CST
Northwestern Mutual Cream City Labs
33 North Van Buren Street 2nd Floor, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202
Armistice Day, which began as
Armistice Day, which began as a day to promote world peace, has become Veterans Day, and too often celebrates militarism and war. Veterans For Peace and other peace and justice groups want to reclaim the day for peace. This is the 10th year we have held an event in the City Hall rotunda. All are welcome.
(Sunday) 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm CST
Milwaukee City Hall
200 E Wells St, Milwaukee, WI 53202