The Grain Exchange exchange hosted the City Birthday Party on January 31, celebrating 173 years since Milwaukee was established along the shores of Lake Michigan.

The growing settlements originally known as Juneautown, Kilbourntown, and Walker’s Point merged into one single entity on January 31, 1846, to form the City of Milwaukee. On that day, 173 years ago, Solomon Juneau became Milwaukee’s first mayor.

To commemorate that anniversary, the Milwaukee Press Club once again hosted a birthday party for the city. For all of Milwaukee’s flaws, it has been receiving positive national spotlight for its diverse neighborhoods, thriving culinary scene, and downtown building boom. From world-famous museums and festivals, to beer gardens and bike trails, to Milwaukee natives again being elected to state office and serving in Wisconsin’s state capital, local residents have a lot to be proud of.

For the city’s 173rd birthday, members of the public braved the tail end of the historic polar vortex, putting aside the frigid temperatures for the warmth of community friendship. Milwaukee was profiled in the pages of Vogue magazine, where writer Christina Perez called our city an “unexpected gem.”

As part of the program to salute the Cream City’s history and renaissance, this year’s “Milwaukee en Vogue” theme asked the public to nominate leaders behind the important cover stories that pushed Milwaukee toward a brighter future. In recognition of their achievements, the winners were announced at the party celebration. The cover-worthy stars include:

Griselda Aldrete – President and CEO, Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee; Mandela Barnes – Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor; Craig Counsell – Manager, Milwaukee Brewers; Peter Feigin – President, Milwaukee Bucks; Juli Kaufmann and JoAnne Sabir – Co-owners, Sherman Phoenix; Russ Klisch – Co-founder and President, Lakefront Brewery; and Mark Niehaus – President and Executive Director, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

These images share highlights from the event and those who attended, along with a special focus on the annual birthday cake.