Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Milwaukee
MILWAUKEE, a city, port of entry, county-seat of Milwaukee co., Wis., and the largest city in population and importance in the State; on the W. side of Lake Michigan, at the mouth of the Milwaukee river; 85 miles N. by W. of Chicago and 83 miles E. of Madison; area, 22 square miles; pop. (1910) 373,857; (1920) 457,147. It has a beautiful harbor with many extensive piers used by steamboat lines; and has regular communication by water and rail with all the chief cities on the Great Lakes.
Topography.—The Milwaukee river extends through the principal part of the city, and with the Menomonee and Kinnickinnic rivers, with which it connects, divides it into three sections, known respectively as the East, West, and South sides. All of these rivers are navigable for the largest lake vessels. On the W. side of the Milwaukee river the surface has an elevation of 125 feet, and between the lake and the river, 80 feet. There are wide and beautiful streets, which, with the exception of those in the business quarter, are usually well shaded. The principal streets include East Water street. West Water street. Third street, Wisconsin street, and Grand avenue.
Municipal Improvements.—The water-works receive their supply from the lake. The consumption averages 54,000,000 gallons per day. There are about 500 miles of streets, of which 421 are paved. There is an excellent sewerage system.
Notable Buildings—The chief public buildings are the County Court House, a building of brown sandstone; the Mitchell, Northwestern Life Insurance, Wells, and Germania Sentinel buildings; the City Hall; the Northwestern Soldiers' National Home; the Federal building, containing the Postoffice and Custom House; the Public Library and Museum Building; the Layton Art Gallery. Besides these, there are many hospitals and similar institutions and many charitable and benevolent asylums. The city is also the seat of a Protestant Episcopal bishop and of a Roman Catholic archbishop. The most notable church edifices include St. Paul's Episcopal, St. James Episcopal, the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. John, the Church of Gesu, St. Josephat's Catholic and the Trinity Lutheran Churches.
Manufactures.—Milwaukee is an important manufacturing center. Iron and steel products are its most important industry. There are over 100 establishments manufacturing iron, steel and heavy machinery. The value of the product is over $160,000,000 annually. Its flour mills are very large, often having a daily output of 10,000 barrels, and its grain elevators have a capacity of 9,735,000 bushels. Pork-packing is here carried on extensively. The other industries include manufactories of leather, machinery, iron and steel goods, tobacco, clothing, stoves, and tinware, brick, furnaces, cars, steel and malleable iron. There are over 3,600 large factories, and the total value of the manufactured products in 1918 was $741,188,557.
Education.—The city has 9 high schools, and many other school buildings used for grammar, primary, and kindergarten schools. In 1919 the enrollment was 53,441. The expenditures for education were $2,325,480. The institutions of higher education include a State Normal School, the Milwaukee College for Women, the Marquette (R. C.), the Catholic Seminary of St. Francis de Sales, the Convent de Notre Dame, and Concordia College (Luth.).
Finances.—The assessed valuations in 1919 were: Real estate, $419,074,285; personal property, $102,164,840; tax rate, $20.74 per $1,000; net debt, $14,730,750.
History. — Milwaukee was founded in 1835, and chartered as a city in 1846. The first white settler on the site of the city was Juneau, a French fur trader, who came here in 1817, when the place was a Pottawattamie village. The growth of the city has been very rapid. The Germans who make up one-half of the population have everwhere left their influence upon the social life of the inhabitants.