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Encyclopedia > Milwaukee
This article is about Milwaukee in Wisconsin. There is also Milwaukie, Oregon.

Milwaukee is the largest city in the state of Wisconsin, United States and the county seat of Milwaukee County. The city's population is 596,974 with an estimated total of 1,689,572 in the Milwaukee metropolitan area(2004). The city of Milwaukee is the 19th largest city in the United States. The city is located in the southeastern portion of the state on the western shore of Lake Michigan.



Picturesque Milwaukee; famous sites,
Picturesque Milwaukee; famous sites, 1880s

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 is thought to have meant "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 neighboring rival towns (Kilbourn Town and Walker's Point) to incorporate the city of Milwaukee. Juneau was Milwaukee's first mayor. (His statue is part of the montage at the right - the frontiersman with the rifle, in the center of the montage. Juneau's statue gazes upon the buildings of downtown Milwaukee, with its back to Lake Michigan. A replica of his tiny log cabin is in the same park.) 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 1800s and 1900s.


Although most people associate Milwaukee's reputation with its breweries, today companies like Miller Brewing employ less than one percent of the city's workers. Milwaukee's reputation as a blue collar town is more accurate, however, with 22 percent of the workforce involved in manufacturing -- second only to San Jose, CA and far higher than the national average of 16.5%. Service and managerial jobs are the fastest growing segments of the Milwaukee economy, and healthcare makes up 27% of all service jobs in the city.

Milwaukee is headquarters to six Fortune 1000 manufacturers and six Fortune 1000 service companies. Among these are Briggs & Stratton, Harley-Davidson, Johnson Controls, Manpower Inc., M&I, Nortwestern Mutual, Rockwell Automation, Roundy's and Wisconsin Energy,. Milwaukee also has a large number of financial service firms, and a disproportionate number of publishing and printing companies for a city of its size.

Arts, Culture and Sports

The Milwaukee Art Museum

Milwaukee's most visually prominent cultural attraction is the Milwaukee Art Museum, and especially its new $100 million wing designed by Santiago Calatrava in his first American commission. The museum includes a moving sunscreen quite literally unfolds like the wing of a bird. The Milwaukee Public Museum and Milwaukee County Zoo are also notable public attractions.

Milwaukee is home to the Florentine Opera, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Ballet, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Skylight Opera Theatre, and a number of other arts organizations.

It is also home to a number of professional sports teams including:

Milwaukee has advertised itself as the "City of Festivals," especially emphasizing an annual fair along the lakefront called Summerfest. Listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest music festival in the world, Summerfest attracts around 900,000 visitors a year to its twelve stages. Smaller festivals througout the year celebrate the city's German, Native American, African-American, Italian, Irish, Asian, French and Polish heritage.

Geography and Layout

Location of Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee lies about 90 miles north of Chicago along the shores of Lake Michigan near the meeting points of three rivers: the Menomonee, the Kinnickinnic and the Milwaukee. It is crossed by Interstate 43 and Interstate 94, which come together downtown at the Marquette Interchange.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 251.0 km (96.9 square miles). 248.8 km (96.1 square miles) of it is land and 2.2 km (0.9 mi) of it is water. The total area is 0.88% water.


In the 2000 census, over a third (38 percent) of Milwaukeeans reported that they were of German descent. Other large population groups included include Polish (12.7%), Irish (10%), English (5.1%), Italian (4.4%), French (3.9%), and Hispanic origin totaled 6.3%.

As of the census2 of 2000, there are 596,974 people, 232,188 households, and 135,133 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,399.5/km (6,214.3 per square mile). There are 249,225 housing units at an average density of 1,001.7/km (2,594.4 per square mile). The racial makeup of the city is 49.98% White, 37.34% African American, 0.87% Native American, 2.94% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 6.10% from other races, and 2.71% from two or more races. 12.00% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 232,188 households out of which 30.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.2% are married couples living together, 21.1% have a female householder with no husband present, and 41.8% are non-families. 33.5% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.5% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.50 and the average family size is 3.25.

In the city the population is spread out with 28.6% under the age of 18, 12.2% from 18 to 24, 30.2% from 25 to 44, 18.1% from 45 to 64, and 10.9% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 31 years. For every 100 females there are 91.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 87.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $32,216, and the median income for a family is $37,879. Males have a median income of $32,244 versus $26,013 for females. The per capita income for the city is $16,181. 21.3% of the population and 17.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 31.6% of those under the age of 18 and 11.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


  • Average January high/low temperatures: 26F/11F (-3C/-12C)
  • Average July high/low temperatures: 79F/62F (26C/17C)

Milwaukee's proximity to Lake Michigan causes a convection current to form mid-afternoon, resulting in the so-called lake effect, causing the temperatures to be warmer in the winter, and cooler in the summer ("cooler by the lake" is practically boilerplate language for local meteorologists during the summer). Also, the relative humidity in the summer is far higher than that of comparable cities at the same latitude, meaning that it feels hotter than it really is.

Milwaukee's all-time record high temperature is 105F (41C) set on July 17, 1995. The coldest temperature ever experienced by the city was -26F (-32C) on both January 17, 1982 and February 4, 1996.


Colleges and universities

  • Alverno College
  • Cardinal Stritch University
  • Marquette University
  • Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Milwaukee Area Technical College
  • Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design
  • Milwaukee School of Engineering
  • Mount Mary College
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Wisconsin Lutheran College



  • Brewer’s Hill
  • Bay View (http://www.gobayview.com)
  • Third Ward / Old World Third
  • Town of Lake
  • Layton Park
  • Riverwest
  • Walker’s Point

(More neighborhoods (http://www.december.com/places/mke/neighborhoods.html))

Notable denizens

  • Herbert Simon—Nobel laureate for advances in artificial intelligence (AI): the influence of Milwaukee even showed up in his professional work; as the inventor of bounded rationality, Simon showed that people work only as much as needed, and then adjust their priorities to other, perhaps more enjoyable things, an attitude which is very common in a city dedicated to gemuetlich pursuits and beer.
  • Jack KilbyNobel laureate, co-inventor of the integrated circuit
  • Golda Meir—prime minister of Israel
  • Lloyd and Jane Pettit (http://www.jsonline.com/news/Metro/nov03/184367.asp)—Well known philanthropists of Bradley family (http://www.bradleyfdn.org/about.html) fortune, who gifted the Bradley Center (http://www.bradleycenter.com/) and Pettit National Ice Center (http://www.thepettit.com/).
  • Leroy Chiaoastronaut, Commander and Science Officer for International Space Station Expedition 10 in orbit as of October 16th, 2004 for a 6-month mission.


Regions of Wisconsin
Central Plain | Eastern Ridges and Lowlands | Lake Superior Lowland | Northern Highland | Western Upland
Largest Cities
Appleton | Beloit | Brookfield | Eau Claire | Fond du Lac | Franklin | Green Bay | Greenfield | Janesville | Kenosha | La Crosse | Madison | Milwaukee | New Berlin | Oshkosh | Racine | Sheboygan | Waukesha | Wausau | Wauwatosa
Adams | Ashland | Barron | Bayfield | Brown | Buffalo | Burnett | Calumet | Chippewa | Clark | Columbia | Crawford | Dane | Dodge | Door | Douglas | Dunn | Eau Claire | Florence | Fond du Lac | Forest | Grant | Green | Green Lake | Iowa | Iron | Jackson | Jefferson | Juneau | Kenosha | Kewaunee | La Crosse | Lafayette | Langlade | Lincoln | Manitowoc | Marathon | Marinette | Marquette | Menominee | Milwaukee | Monroe | Oconto | Oneida | Outagamie | Ozaukee | Pepin | Pierce | Polk | Portage | Price | Racine | Richland | Rock | Rusk | Sauk | Sawyer | Shawano | Sheboygan | St. Croix | Taylor | Trempealeau | Vernon | Vilas | Walworth | Washburn | Washington | Waukesha | Waupaca | Waushara | Winnebago | Wood

External links

  • Maps and aerial photos
    • Street map from Mapquest (http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?latlongtype=decimal&latitude=43.052162&longitude=-87.95591&zoom=6)
    • Topographic map from Topozone (http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=43.052162&lon=-87.95591&s=200&size=m&layer=DRG100)
    • Aerial photograph from Microsoft Terraserver (http://terraserver.microsoft.com/map.aspx?t=1&s=14&lon=-87.95591&lat=43.052162&w=750&h=500)

  Results from FactBites:
Milwaukee Wisconsin | Hotels | Milwaukee Real Estate | Restaurants (713 words)
Milwaukee is notoriously thought of as a city inundated with rock music, beer and Harley production but there is much more to The City of Festivals.
Milwaukee's historic French and Germanic roots are prominent in the plentiful French bistros and restaurants.
Milwaukee is Wisconsin's major center of commerce and often called "a Great Place on a Great Lake." With all the amenities of a big city with a small town feel, Milwaukee is a great place to live, work and play.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3031 words)
Milwaukee is the largest city in the state of Wisconsin, United States and the county of Milwaukee.
Milwaukee's reputation as a blue collar town is more accurate, however, with 22 percent of the workforce involved in manufacturing — second only to San Jose, CA and far higher than the national average of 16.5%.
Milwaukee was home to a vibrant rave scene in the early Nineties, especially fostering hardcore techno, thanks to Drop Bass but was cut short by city authorities and moved the scene south to Chicago.
  More results at FactBites »



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