Glimpse history through fascinating old images of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Old Pictures of Milwaukee
Milwaukee’s Early Industries
Railroads and waterways were a key part of Milwaukee’s industrial growth in the nineteenth century.
Milwaukee was the world’s largest shipper of wheat in 1862, with flour mills, packing plants, breweries, tanneries, and brickyards also providing employment to huge numbers of workers.
Schlitz, Blatz, Pabst and Miller breweries were once four of the world’s largest breweries, and they were all based in Milwaukee. The city’s large number of German immigrants had created a major brewing industry even as early as 1856, when milwaukee was home to more than to dozen breweries.
And there were plenty of places to enjoy drinking it – there was an average of one tavern per 40 residents in 1843. Not surprisingly, the 1920s Prohibition Era brought the Chicago gansters to Milwaukee, with Al Capone buying a house in Brookfield to produce moonshine there.
Newberry Street (named after land investor and banker Walter Loomis Newberry), was renamed as Newberry Boulevard in 1897.
The city planners had enouraged developers to create a 150 foot wide tree lined street with city parks, suitable for public green space activities including horse riding.
The eastern section of Newberry Boulevard is home to an interesting variety of very large private residences on generous plots.
Newberry Boulevard was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994, and named a ‘Great Street’ by the American Planning Association in 2009.
Urbanmilwaukee.com has a nice gallery of contemporary photos of Newberry Boulevard’s notable properties.
Walter Loomis Newberry
- 1804: Born in Connecticut
- 1822: Moved to Buffalo, New York
- 1826: Moved to Detroit, Michigan
- 1833: Moved to Chicago, Illinois
- Joined a syndicate investing in thousands of acres of land in Wisconsin
- Became a banker
- President of the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad
- 1868: Sailed to France to meet family in Paris
- Died on the Periere
- Instead of a sea burial, he was preserved in a barrel of rum
- Embalmed at Chicago and buried in the Graceland Cemetary
- Years of litigation over his estate
- $3 million used to build the Newberry Library in Chicago
- 1897: Newberry Street was renamed Newberry Boulvard, following redevelopment of the area to provide attractive homes and plenty of outdoor leisure space
Old Photos of Milwaukee
This video showcases old photos of Milwaukee taken between 1900 and 1923.
Each old image is labelled clearly, so you know the date and location of the photo you are looking at.
Old photos of Milwaukee(Wisconsin) 1900 1923 – oldstuff4all on YouTube
Milwaukee’s Last Streetcars 1958
John Grieg found an old home movie film reel in his late uncle’s possessions.
The Milwaukee Historical Society had the equipment to examine the reel. They found high quality, clear and colour images of the city’s Route 10 streetcar in action shortly before the service was permanently ended because travellers chose to use bus services or cars instead.
The Route 10 streetcar had a turnaround at Jackson, then went west down Wells Street.
This WISN news item about the film includes footage of the 2017 works at St Paul Avenue, where new car rails were being installed.
1958 film shows final day of Milwaukee’s old streetcar – WISN 12 News on YouTube
4th July 1960
Milwaukee had a tradition of circus parades which advertised the arrival of the circus in town and promoted ticket sales.
The tradition was revived for 4th July 1960 by the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Company, albeit without the exotic animals.
In this archive film, created by the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Company and now held in the National Archives, we see a former circus aerialist, one of the five Marvellous Ashtons, briefly introduce the 1960 footage.
Then we see scenes from the 1960 parade and several close up images of some of the thousands of spectators. Plus there are quite a few local buildings glimpsed in the background.
Reel America Preview – “A Day in Old Milwaukee” July 4, 1960 – C-SPAN on YouTube