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Milwaukee Then and Now
A Book Review

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Then and Now


Milwaukee Then and Now
by Sandra Ackerman | Thunderbay Press, 2004
Click here  to order this book.

Whether you were born in Milwaukee or are interested in the city's vibrant history and distinctive architecture, you will want this book in your collection to enjoy time and again.

If you are doing family genealogy research that includes Milwaukee ancestors, the book will provide a striking visual context for earlier eras when those ancestors lived and worked and played in the city on the western shores of Lake Michigan.




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The Making of



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Cream City
Chronicles: Stories

of Milwaukee's Past

READ a review of
Cream City


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Milwaukee Streets:
The Stories Behind
Their Names


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History Just Ahead: A Guide to Wisconsin's Historical Markers


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Kidding Around


The 144-page book contains many paired pages showing photos of Milwaukee then and now. 

As you start of the paging through the book, you will rejoice to see Milwaukee's 1896 City Hall -- with its Flemish-German Renaissance Revival features -- still going strong.  In fact, some interior restoration has been done and its bell honoring city founder Solomon Juneau is apparently ringing again.

The famous Pabst Theater too is still functioning as a cultural center today, more than 100 years old. In fact, it sees some 200 performances a year.

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German-American Urban Culture:
Writers & Theaters
in Early Milwaukee

The handsome Mitchell Building constructed in 1876 for Alexander Mitchell's many thriving businesses is still in use. [As an aside, his home, the Mitchell Mansion, is today the Wisconsin Club downtown.]  

The buildings once home to the Schlitz Brewery have been given new or adaptive use. And a Neoclassical Revival bank building is today the home of the Milwaukee County Historical Society.

Buildings such as these keep alive Milwaukee's heritage and special character. Author Sandra Ackerman provides wonderful historic photos of specific city locations, plus modern images with a basic historical facts in each caption. Milwaukee Then and Now comes clear!

The book also reveals the remarkable structures that have been lost, either to fire or urban renewal. For example, the ornate Pabst Building -- on the corner where Solomon Juneau had a log cabin and trading post -- was razed in 1981 to make way for a 35-story skyscraper. Also gone are a number of mansions as well as the Industrial Exposition Building that, with towers and turrets, indeed looked like a palace. Lost to a fire, it was replaced by the Milwaukee Auditorium, now the Milwaukee Theater.

While buildings and city locations are the obvious focus of the book, this volume is also a narrative of Milwaukee's industries, especially the breweries and Harley-Davidson, started in a small wood shack which is pictured. There are   government buildings, train stations, residences, European-style churches, parks, cemeteries, and the waterfront, now with the world-famous Santiago Calatrava addition to the art museum.  And, of course, there is also Milwaukee County Stadium, today replaced by Miller Park, home of the MIlwaukee Brewers.

Avid fans of Milwaukee and its history will find Milwaukee Then and Now to be a grand visual tour, but leaving them wanting more. But then that is likely the goal of the book, to whet the appetite.

Sandra Ackerman was an ideal choice to create this volume of history in photographs. She is the former executive director of the preservation organization Historic Milwaukee, a postion she assumed in 1995. Tours of historic areas of the city are offered by the organization, and she played a key role in creating them.. She continues as a member of the Milwaukee Historic Planning Commision.

Click here  to order Sandra Ackerman's Milwaukee Then and Now.

Click here to order John Gurda's Cream City Chronicles.

Milwaukee Buildings: A Sampling   [ Top ]

Milwaukee Architecture 1837 to Today: a wealth of photographs from early residences such as the Benjamin Church House and early churches to the Milwaukee Art Museum's world-famous Calatrava addition

Famous Buildings of Milwaukee: from the 1988 MIlwaukee Center to the 1895 Flemish Renaissance-style Milwaukee City Hall and more about City Hall

Registered Historic Places in Milwaukee County, including the Kilbourntown House or Benjamin Church House, a Greek Revival residence now a museum

Milwaukee Architectural Sites from    
the Pabst Mansion to the 1844 Benjamin Church House, the latter in Greek Revivial style

Historic Milwaukee and its tour programs and history presentations give  many a look at Milwaukee heritage

Historic Third Ward describes the notable buildings there and their modern uses

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Santiago Calatrava:
Milwaukee Art Museum,
Quadracci Pavilion

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Family for Free


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2007 Calendar


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Art Poster Print:  Milwaukee, City of, 1873


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In Search of Your German Roots. The Complete Guide
to Tracing Ancestors in Germanic Areas
of Europe




The German
Immigrant Press
in Milwaukee

and Community
in a Frontier City


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Erving, Burdick &
Co's Milwaukee city directory, for
1857 & 1858


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South Milwaukee (Images of America)


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German Culture in Nineteenth-Century America: Reception, Adaptation and Transformation


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Swiss in


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Genealogist's Guide
to Discovering Your Germanic Ancestors


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Tracking Down
Your Ancestors


Historic Photos of Milwaukee     [ Top ]

Milwaukee historic scenes from the Milwaukee Public Library collection include:
  Grand Avenue swinging bridge in 1880s,
    now Wisconsin Avenue downtown
  City Market on the East Side with stalls for
    merchants in 1885,
  Newspaper Row: home to numerous
   papers andthe Press Club, 1885
  Gimbel's Department Story in 1897
  Ice Skaters filled the Milwaukee River, here
    in January 1897
  Milwaukee Auditorium in 1909, interior
    scene. A key leader in its development was
    publisher William George Bruce
  Beer bottling was mechanized, Pabst, 1915
  Milwaukee City Hall as seen in 1923

Historic Milwaukee Photos from the Journal Sentinal Online with five archive pages:
  Archive 1: with one of Old City Hall
  Archive 2: Schlitz Palm Garden and more
  Archive 3: one of 4th & Chestnut, 1860s
  Archive 4: includes one of a three-masted
   schooner on the Milwaukee River, 1885
  Archive 5: photos of early stores

Historic Milwaukee Postcards: search the Bliffert Postcard Collection or browse its 400 cards including this sample:
  Val Blatz Brewing Co.
  Cathedral Square

  City Hall in the 1867 and 1909 versions
  City Hall in the 1900-1907 era
  Deutscher Club, 1905, now Wisconsin Club
  Germania Building
  Grand Avenue
, east from 11th, 1914
  Juneau Monument, Juneau Park

Astor Hotel - its history

Milwaukee Neighborhoods   [ Top ]

Picturing Milwaukee Neighborhoods: illustrated essay on the city's historic development and ethnic roots

Map of Milwaukee Neighborhoods with links to photos

Eastside and Westside Milwaukee maps, indexed with historic and major buildings

Historic Irish Third Ward with maps

Historic Milwaukee: tours of cultural areas of the city, with 12 photos of historic buildings from mansions to breweries to sacred places

Historic Milwaukee Religious Buildings: from 1847, including German, Polish and Irish Catholic, German Lutheran, African Methodist Episcopal churches and Jewish synagogues

Historic Milwaukee Churches: a sampling of edifaces from as early as 1853

Free Congregation Church: founded in 1847 to continue abolition efforts, served by famous abolition minister Rev. Love. Later renamed.

Milwaukee Neighborhoods Today:  the distinctive parts of town and and more on the city's neighborhoods

Milwaukee Downtown View from Bayview south of downtown

City waterways are the Milwaukee River that flows from the north, Menomonee River from the west and Kinnickinnic River from the south. They flow into Lake Michigan.

Milwaukee's Harbor is integral to its history and commerce. A key force in its development was William George Bruce, the eldest son of Augustus Bruce and Apollonia Becker Bruce.

Milwaukee Genealogy   [ Top ]

Links to the Past for Milwaukee:  a major source for genealogy and history with a wealth of resources such as early  census indexes and the 1848-1849 City Directory

Milwaukee Genealogical Society

Milwaukee County Historical Society and the building that houses the MCHS and details on the county's area historical societies

Milwaukee history and genealogy resources

Famous people with burials at Milwaukee's renowned  Forest Home Cemetery

Other Genealogy Resources   [ Top ]

Family Research Tips & Tools including an index to our growing series of Finding Family for Free segments, reviewing remarkable resources that help you discover your ancestors

Genealogy Resources: links to many of the most helpful online resources for family history research, many available free, and including a section on getting started in genealogy

Relative Musings:  our blog on genealogy and family history research, including the growing number of Finding Family for Free entries.

Genealogy Products    [ Top ]

Visit our Genealogy Shop for family history and genealogy books, software and other products today. Check out the sections for German genealogy, Irish genealogy and much more.

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Silver Screens: Pictorial History of Milwaukee's Movie Theaters


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Germans in


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City Smart:


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the Particular: Photographs of
Milwaukee's Polish
South Side


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Shorewood Wisconsin (Images of America)


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Finding Your German Ancestors : A

Beginner's Guide


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The Family Tree
Problem Solver:
Proven Methods
for Scaling the
Inevitable Brick Wall


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First Steps in Genealogy:
A Beginner's Guide
to Researching Your
Family History


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Latinos in
Milwaukee (Images
of America)

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Jewish Milwaukee
(Images of America)


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, Wisconsin
(Images of America)


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Irish Milwaukee

of America)


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Rand McNally
2006 Milwaukee


many biographies
History of
City and County
(Volume III)


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Cultural Map of Wisconsin:
A Cartographic
Portrait  of the State

Maps of Milwaukee   [ Top ]

Territorial Milwaukee Map: showing original Juneautown, Kilbourntown, Walker's Point

Harry Baird's Plan for Milwaukee east of the Milwaukee River showing street names, some never used, and his 1835 Map

1878 Map of Milwaukee: click for a larger image and then zoom in to specific areas of the city in detail - has important buildings from city hall to schools to breweries.

Version of 1878 Map with sketches of city founders and the court house.

Milwaukee 1904 Map: with many old street names shown

Milwaukee County 1906 Map: topographic map showing extent of development

Collection of Milwaukee Maps: 12 maps from 1883 to 2000. Choose "view descriptive record" for medium-sized version and text

Map of Milwaukee Neighborhoods from 1885 to 1998 with links to photos

Milwaukee Green Map: interactive map to click for specific sites. Shows parks, cemeteries.

Milwaukee River Basin Map: showing the Milwaukee, Menominee and Kinnikinnic Rivers that come together at Milwaukee as well as the neighboring counties

Milwaukee Map - Downtown: detailed road map and major public buildings, rivers

Milwaukee County Map: map puts city in context of the county, and Lake Michigan to the east and neighboring counties Racine [south], Waukesha [west] and Ozaukee [north]

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Irish in Wisconsin
(People of Wisconsin)


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The Milwaukee

Neighborhood Map
(Maps & Atlases)


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Milwaukee Bike
Map and Southeast


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Miller Beer Barons:
The Frederick Miller Family and Its Brewery

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Women's Wisconsin: From
Native Matriarchies to the
New Millennium

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Danes in Wisconsin:
(Expanded Edition)


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The Milwaukee Road
(Railroad Color History)


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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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The Bradley Legacy: Lynde
and Harry Bradley,

Their Company, and
Their Foundation

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Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance
and Renewal

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Wisconsin Lighthouses:
A Photographic &
Historical Guide

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for books
ANY topic


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Cream City
Chronicles: Stories

of Milwaukee's Past

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