This video segment features scenes from a recent exploration of the Milwaukee River by kayak, guided by Steve Schaffer, Assistant Archivist for the Milwaukee County Historical Society (MCHS). In its second year, the Milwaukee River History Tour offers a unique view of the city from the waterway that allowed a small fur trading post to become a metropolis.

“By imaging this old Milwaukee River, I think it is easier for people to understand that we now have a wonderful natural resource for recreation that has been vastly improved with regard to the pollution, unsightliness, and odor that plagued its earlier incarnation. Pleasure boats, especially kayaks, which would have been out of the question, even 30 or 40 years ago, now ply the river daily and pedestrians can enjoy the serenity of the river from Schlitz Park to Eire Street in the Third Ward, thanks to the River Walk District development. I hope that kayakers can take away the idea that Milwaukee has come full circle in its relationship with the Milwaukee River and that it is still an intrinsic part of the city.” – Steve Schaffer