A squad of police marched onto the ice to prevent an all-out brawl between the crew of the boat and ice company employees. MILWAUKEE COUNTY LANDMARKS City of Milwaukee Milwaukee County Courthouse 901 North 9th Street Milwaukee Landmark Designation: 1976 Milwaukee County’s first two courthouses were located east of the Milwaukee River in today’s Cathedral Square. It's maintained by the Milwaukee County Historical Society, and is open to the public on select days in the summer. Sign up for our Wisconsin Family newsletter for ideas on family-friendly things to do delivered to your inbox. Wisconsin River, river rising in Lac Vieux Desert (lake), Vilas county, northern Wisconsin, U.S., on the Wisconsin-Michigan border. A hike through downtown Milwaukee's skywalks: More fun than Disney World? It's sectioned off from it as a result of the Milwaukee Cement Company digging horizontal mine shafts and creating quarries back in the early 1900s. On a section of river that has witnessed many strange things over the years, the ice war was perhaps the strangest. One day in winter of 1900-01, Wisconsin Lakes Ice Co. had 300 men at work harvesting ice on the upper Milwaukee River when a steam-powered launch, the Julius Goll, appeared, covered with boiler plate and equipped with an ice-breaking prow. Those early settlements have long since been replaced by a modern and cosmopolitan cityscape. New condos now crowd the downtown and harbor districts of Milwaukee attracting young professionals to the area. Enjoy this sample chapter from the new book, Lost Milwaukee, by Milwaukee Notebook blogger Carl Swanson During the winter of 1900–01, a pitched battle erupted on the frozen Milwaukee River above the North Avenue dam between enraged ice harvesters and the equally violent crew of a steam-powered launch. History. The beach itself lasted for 15 years before it was closed due to increasing pollution. Once the center of commerce and recreation, the Milwaukee River had become one of the City's most neglected amenities. At its height, Wisconsin Lakes owned 20 ice houses across southeastern Wisconsin, including four large operations on the Milwaukee River that employed hundreds of laborers at $1 a day, paid in cash each night. You can bring a sense of wonder (which is appropriate since one of the names of this amusement park was Wonderland) to your kids' eyes by telling them that there was a ferris wheel, a giant water slide and even a roller coaster here. To the cheerful accompaniment of its brass band, the launch proceeded to steam up and down the river smashing up the Wisconsin Lakes ice fields. So, in 1931, workers poured rubble to create a more gradual bottom, make things a bit safer, and a swimming hole and beach were born. There's the story of a tiny neighborhood that residents had to drive their cars across the frozen river to access. An upstart firm, the Pike & North Lakes Ice Co., built a large icehouse on an area lake. Your ice company would give you a little cardboard sign to place in your window whenever you needed ice. Yes, an amusement park. And, like a lot of local families, one of our favorite exhibits is the Streets of Old Milwaukee. It takes a look at the lives of people who lived in Milwaukee in the late 1800s and early 1900s in an engaging way that allows you to easily imagine what was there before. The neighborhood’s first development was at dams on the river in the mid-1830s—one located just south of present-day Capitol Drive, the other south of North Avenue. In the winter between 1900 and 1901, a pitched battle erupted on the frozen Milwaukee River … Onlookers and reporters thought it hilarious, but real injuries were sustained, working men had their livelihoods threatened and it all had to do with … ice. The first recorded inhabitants of the Milwaukee area are the Menominee, Fox, Mascouten, Sauk, Potawatomi, Ojibwe (all Algic/Algonquian peoples) and Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) (a Siouan people) Native American tribes. Since the focal point of his stories is the Milwaukee River, a trip to see several of the sites is very doable, even if your kids' patience level won't last more than a morning or an afternoon. A typical Wisconsin Lake Ice Co. operation is shown in this photo. An 1881 visitor described the Milwaukee River as “a currentless and yellowish murky stream, with water like oil, and an odor combined of the effluvia of a hundred sewers.” Household sewage and horse manure were the worst of it, at least in the short term. No more ice was cut. In its second year, the Milwaukee River History Tour offers a unique view of the city from the waterway that allowed a small fur trading post to become a metropolis. Previously (circa 1834-35) the river had been known as the "Maynawalky," while the present-day Menomonee River was known as the "Milwalky". This design was insufficient for numerous reasons: the population of the area was too great, the waters smelled horrible, and there were fears of disease and contaminated drinking water. It's a little shocking to walk out of a residential neighborhood, right in the city, through a little bit of park and all of a sudden come upon a giant river. Facebook | Twitter | Instagram. Apr. The Milwaukee River extends many miles north with a history … It's also the type of thing that is just as interesting to kids as it is to adults. History to 1820. As late as 1940, the company was still operating 212 ice routes in the Milwaukee area. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1597166322662-mid-article-2'); }); Work was suspended when it got too cold. Swanson makes a trip like that really easy. ... All told, 403,000 people got sick from the Crypto outbreak, which was the largest waterborne illness outbreak in U.S. history. The Milwaukee River area was populated by Native Americans in the time before European settlement. COVID-19 Updates: In order to help reduce the increased spread of COVID-19, our headquarters building will be … Riverwest is a neighborhood in the city of Milwaukee bounded by the Milwaukee River on the east and south, N. Holton Street on the west, and E. Capitol Drive on the north. Ice, in other words, was a huge business in the state, and Wisconsin Lakes Ice Co., based in Milwaukee, dominated the market. While Swanson is careful to point out that his book isn't an exhaustive history of Milwaukee, the anecdotes he shares and the stories he tells are a much better way to get kids — and adults — to really understand what Milwaukee was like in the past. Now the plot thickens. My kids and I love the Milwaukee Public Museum. That’s because it never happened! 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