The full text of this article is available to Plus members only.
For full access to all of our articles, please Join or Log In.
Not a Plus Member?
Milwaukee City Guide
Get the essential facts, advice and resources you need to find your ancestors in Milwaukee, Wisc.
If your knowledge of Milwaukee’s history stops at the 1950s version depicted in TV’s “Happy Days,” surprises are in store as you explore your family history in the Cream City. For instance, that nickname derives not from Wisconsin’s Dairy State reputation or the city’s taste for frozen custard, but from the color of bricks produced in Milwaukee—15 million a year at the peak in 1881.
Home to the Fox, Mascouten, Potawatomi, and Ho-Chunk American Indian tribes, the area’s prime location at Lake Michigan first drew French fur traders, who built a trading post on the Menomonee River in 1795. Settlers soon founded three rival settlements: Juneautown on the eastern bank of the Milwaukee River, Kilbourntown on the western bank and Walker’s Point south of the river. In 1846, the villages merged and incorporated as Milwaukee (spelled several ways until the mid-1800s).
An influx of Germans earned Milwaukee another name: Deutsches Athen, the “German Athens.” Most early Germans came from Mecklenburg, Pomerania and Brandenberg. Later immigrant waves brought Italians, Irish, Greeks, Serbs, Croatians and Swedes, and the South Side became home to one of the nation’s largest Polish populations.
To continue reading this article
Share |
Did you enjoy this article?
Please share it!
Recent Blog Posts »
Recent Articles »

Free Genealogy Downloads

Google for Genealogy Premium Collection

In the Google for Genealogy Premium Collection you will receive the new edition of genealogy technology expert Lisa Louise Cooke’s book, The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox. In addition, we are including a cheat sheet, an on-demand webinar of video demos and a full independent study course to make sure you can take full advantage of the fantastic functions Google has to offer.

This collection has a retail value of $184.92, but is yours this month only for $59.99!

They're going fast - get yours today!
©  F+W All rights reserved.