Milwaukee is 160

Posted: January 25, 2006 in Reflections

On this day in 1846, the city of Milwaukee was born. According to the Wikipedia, the Milwaukee area was originally inhabited by the Fox, Mascouten, Potawatomi, and Winnebago Indian tribes. Milwaukee received its name from the Indian word Millioke which means "The Good Land", or "gathering place by the water." French missionaries and traders passed through the area in the late 1600s and 1700s.

In 1818, Frenchman Solomon Juneau settled in the area. Juneau bought out his father-in-law’s trading business, and in 1833 he founded a town on the east side of the Milwaukee River. In 1846, Juneau’s town combined with two neighboring rival towns to incorporate as the City of Milwaukee: Kilbourntown to the west, which was founded by Byron Kilbourn, and Walker’s Point to the south, founded by George H. Walker. Juneau was Milwaukee’s first mayor. German immigrants helped increase the city’s population during the 1840s and the following decades. Milwaukee still today has a large German-American population. The liberal tradition of these peoples led to decades of socialist government in Milwaukee during the twentieth century.

From the late 19th century until the 1950s, Milwaukee, like many northern industrial cities, saw tremendous growth from immigrants from Germany, Hungary, Poland and other central European nations, as well as the northward migration of African-Americans from southern U.S. states. This helped make Milwaukee one of the 15 largest cities in the nation, and by the mid-1960s, its population reached nearly 750,000. Starting in the late 1960s, however, like many cities in the Great Lakes "rust belt," Milwaukee saw its population start to decline due to various factors, ranging from the loss of blue collar jobs to the phenomenon of "white flight." However, in recent years, the city began to make strides in improving its economy, neighborhoods, and image, resulting in the revitalization of neighborhoods such as the Third Ward, east side,and more recently, Bay View, along with attracting new businesses to its downtown area. While the city still faces a shrinking population[1], it continues to make plans for increasing its future revitalization through various projects.

Milwaukee has other nicknames as "The City of Festivals", BrewCity, BrewTown, the Genuine American City, and the Cream City. More recently, thanks to the hip hop community, add the 414 area code as a nickname.

What comes to mind when people say or think Milwaukee?  Here are some common and uncommon perspectives:
At one time, the Menomonee Valley was the workforce area of the city.
Milwaukee gave birth to Harley-Davidson Motorcycles in 1903, the same year that Ford Motor Company was founded.
Milwaukee had brewerys galore. Miller, Pabst, Blatz, Schlitz
The city was a hotbed for Bowling
Wrestling – Pro wrestling was a hotbed for Milwaukee with the late Crusher, and the AWA. Now it continues with the WWE as one of their favorite cities.
A runaway slave named Joshua Glover passed through Milwaukee to escape slavery.
The African American Espciopical Methodist Church was founded in Milwaukee as one of its first black churches.
Sports – Brewers, Bucks, Packers, Milwaukee Braves, Hank Aaron, Kareem Abdul Jabbar,
Food Sites – Kopps, Wales on Wells, Angelo’s Pizza
Indian Ties – Potowonomi was one of the indian tribes that helped gave Milwaukee it’s start. Now, it’s also known for casinos.
African American Celebrities of Martin Luther King, Jr. Bill Cosby, Louis Farrakkan, visited Milwaukee.

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