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Milwaukee is the largest city in the state of Wisconsin and the fifth-largest city in the Midwestern United States. The county seat of Milwaukee County, it is on Lake Michigan’s western shore. Ranked by estimated 2014 population, Milwaukee was the 31st largest city in the United States. The city’s estimated population in 2015 was 600,155. Milwaukee is the main cultural and economic center of the Milwaukee metropolitan area. It is also part of the larger Milwaukee-Racine-Waukesha combined statistical area, which had an estimated population of 2,026,243 in the 2010 census. Milwaukee is also the second most densely populated metropolitan area in the Midwest, surpassed only by Chicago. The first Europeans to pass through the area were French Catholic missionaries and fur traders. In 1818, the French Canadian explorer Solomon Juneau settled in the area, and in 1846, Juneau’s town combined with two neighboring towns to incorporate as the city of Milwaukee. Large numbers of German immigrants helped increase the city’s population during the 1840s, with Poles and other immigrants arriving in the following decades. Milwaukee is known for its brewing traditions. The city is experiencing its largest construction boom since the 1960s. Major new additions to the city in the past two decades include the Milwaukee Riverwalk, the Wisconsin Center, Miller Park, an expansion to the Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, and Pier Wisconsin, as well as major renovations to the UW–Milwaukee Panther Arena. The under-construction Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center is scheduled to open in 2018.

Population: 595 769
Area: 250,8 km²

Currency

Brewing

Milwaukee became synonymous with Germans and beer beginning in the 1850s. The Germans had long enjoyed beer and set up breweries when they arrived in Milwaukee. By 1856, there were more than two dozen breweries in Milwaukee, most of them owned and operated by Germans. Besides making beer for the rest of the nation, Milwaukeeans enjoyed consuming the various beers produced in the city’s breweries. As early as 1843, pioneer historian James Buck recorded 138 taverns in Milwaukee, an average of one per forty residents. Today, beer halls and taverns are abundant in the city, but only one of the major breweries—Miller—remains in Milwaukee.

Crime

For several years, Milwaukee ranked among the ten most dangerous large cities in the United States. Despite its improvement since then, Milwaukee still fares worse when comparing specific crime types to the national average (e.g., homicide, rape, robbery); only aggravated assaults occur less frequently in Milwaukee than the national average. The Milwaukee Police Department’s Gang Unit was reactivated in 2004 after Nannette Hegerty was sworn in as chief. In 2006, 4,000 charges were brought against suspects through Milwaukee’s Gang Unit. In 2013 there were 105 murders in Milwaukee and 87 homicides the following year.  In 2015, 146 people were killed in the city.

Culture

Milwaukee is a popular venue for Lake Michigan sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, ethnic dining, and cultural festivals. Often referred to as the City of Festivals, Milwaukee has various cultural events which take place throughout the summer at Henry Maier Festival Park, on the lake. Museums and cultural events, such as Jazz in the Park, occur weekly in downtown parks. A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Milwaukee 15th most walkable of fifty largest U.S. cities.

Cuisine

Milwaukee’s ethnic cuisines include German, Italian, Russian, Hmong, French, Serbian, Polish, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Indian, Korean, Vietnamese, Turkish, Middle Eastern and Ethiopian. Famous Chef Julia Child visited Milwaukee and selected Milwaukee native chef Sanford D’Amato to cook for her 80th birthday. D’Amato, trained in New York City, is the executive chef for Milwaukee’s five-star restaurant Sanford, and Coquette Cafe Milwaukee. Milwaukee County hosts the Zoo-A La Carte at the Milwaukee County Zoo, and various ethnic festivals like Summerfest, German Fest, and Festa Italiana to celebrate various types of cuisine in summer months.

Economy

Milwaukee’s founding fathers had a vision for the city: they knew it was perfectly situated as a port city, a center for collecting and distributing produce. Many of the new immigrantswho were pouring into the new state of Wisconsin during the middle of the 19th century were wheat farmers. By 1860, Wisconsin was the second ranked wheat-growing state in the country and Milwaukee shipped more wheat than any place in the world. Railroads were needed to transport all this grain from the wheat fields of Wisconsin to Milwaukee’s harbor. Improvements in railways at the time made this possible. There was intense competition for markets with Chicago, and to a lesser degree, with Racine and Kenosha. Eventually Chicago won out due to its superior financial and transposition status, as well as being a hub on major railroad lines throughout the United States. Milwaukee did solidify its place as the commercial capital of Wisconsin and an important market in the Midwest. Rail tracks along the industrial Menomonee Valley, ancestral home of the Menominee Indians. Because of its easy access to Lake Michigan and other waterways, Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley has historically been home to manufacturing, stockyards, rendering plants, shipping, and other heavy industry. Reshaping of the valley began with the railroads built by city co-founder Byron Kilbourn to bring product from Wisconsin’s farm interior to the port. By 1862 Milwaukee was the largest shipper of wheat on the planet, and related industry developed. Grain elevators were built and, due to Milwaukee’s dominant German immigrant population, breweries sprang up around the processing of barley and hops. A number of tanneries were constructed, of which the Pfister & Vogel tannery grew to become the largest in America.

Language

English is the Official language.

Name

The name “Milwaukee” comes from an Algonquian word millioke, meaning “good”, “beautiful” and “pleasant land” (compare Potawatomi: minwaking, Ojibwe: ominowakiing) or “gathering place [by the water]” (compare Potawatomi: manwaking, Ojibwe: omaniwakiing).

Native American Milwaukee

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. Many of these people had lived around Green Bay before migrating to the Milwaukee area around the time of European contact. In the second half of the 18th century, the Native Americans living near Milwaukee played a role in all the major European wars on the American continent. During the French and Indian War, a group of “Ojibwas and Pottawattamies from the far [Lake] Michigan” (i.e., the area from Milwaukee to Green Bay) joined the French-Canadian Daniel Liénard de Beaujeu at the Battle of the Monongahela. In the American Revolutionary War, the Native Americans around Milwaukee were some of the few groups allied with the United States. After the Revolutionary War, the Native Americans fought the United States in the Northwest Indian War as part of the Council of Three Fires. During the War of 1812, they held a council in Milwaukee in June 1812, which resulted in their decision to attack Chicago in retaliation against American expansion. This resulted in the Battle of Fort Dearborn on August 15, 1812, the only known armed conflict in the Chicago area. This battle convinced the American government that they had to be removed from their land, and after being attacked in the Black Hawk War in 1832, the Native Americans in Milwaukee signed the Treaty of Chicago with the United States in 1833, giving them monetary payments and lands west of the Mississippi.

Religion

St. Josaphat Basilica, in Milwaukee’s historic Lincoln Village. As of 2010, approximately 51.8% of residents in the Milwaukee area said they regularly attended religious services. 24.6% of the Milwaukee area population identified as Catholic, 10.8% as Lutheran, 1.6% as Methodist, and 0.6% as Jewish. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee and the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee are headquartered in Milwaukee. The School Sisters of the Third Order of St Francis have their mother house in Milwaukee, and several other religious orders have a significant presence in the area, including the Jesuits and Franciscans. Milwaukee, where Father Josef Kentenich was exiled for 14 years from 1952 to 1965, is also the center for the Schoenstatt Movement in the United States. St. Joan of Arc Chapel, the oldest church in Milwaukee, is on the Marquette University campus. St. Josaphat Basilica was the first church to be given the Basilica honor in Wisconsin and the third in the United States. Holy Hill National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians, northwest of Milwaukee, in Hubertus, Wisconsin, was also made a Basilica in 2006. Milwaukee is home for several Lutheran synods, including the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS), which operates Concordia University Wisconsin in Mequon and Milwaukee Lutheran High School, the nation’s oldest Lutheran high school; and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), which was founded in 1850 in Milwaukee and maintains its national headquarters there. The St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Cathedral is a landmark of the Serbian community in Milwaukee, located by the American Serb hall. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a presence in the Milwaukee area. The Milwaukee area has two stakes, with fourteen wards and four branches among them. The closest temple is the Chicago Illinois Temple. The area is part of the Wisconsin Milwaukee Mission.

Transport

Airports

Milwaukee has two airports, General Mitchell International Airport (KMKE) on the southern edge of the city, and Lawrence J. Timmerman Airport (KMWC), known locally as Timmerman Field, on the north side. Mitchell is served by twelve airlines, which offer roughly 240 daily departures and 245 daily arrivals. Approximately 90 cities are served nonstop or direct from Mitchell International. It is the largest airport in Wisconsin and the 34th largest in the nation. The airport terminal is open 24 hours a day. Since 2005, Mitchell International Airport has been connected by the Amtrak Hiawatha train service, which provides airport access via train to Chicago and downtown Milwaukee. Southwest, Frontier Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Air Canada and Delta Air Lines are among the carriers using Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport gates. In July 2015, General Mitchell International Airport served 610,271 passengers.

Intercity rail and bus

 Milwaukee’s Amtrak station was renovated in 2007 to create the Milwaukee Intermodal Station near downtown Milwaukee and the Third Ward to provide Amtrak riders access to Greyhound Lines, Jefferson Lines and other intercity bus operators. Milwaukee is served by the AmtrakHiawatha express service up to seven times daily between the Milwaukee Intermodal Stationand Union Station, including a stop at the Milwaukee Airport Railroad Station, Sturtevant, Wisconsin, and Glenview, Illinois. The Amtrak Empire Builder passenger train stops at the Milwaukee Intermodal Station and connects to Chicago and the Pacific Northwest, with stops near Madison, Wisconsin Dells, and Minneapolis.

Highways

Three of Wisconsin’s Interstate highways intersect in Milwaukee. Interstate 94 (I-94) comes north from Chicago to enter Milwaukee and continues west to Madison. I-43 enters Milwaukee from the southwest and continues north along Lake Michigan to Green Bay. Approved in 2015, Interstate 41 follows I-94 north from the state line before turning west and north to head to Green Bay. Milwaukee has two auxiliary Interstate Highways, I-894 and I-794. I-894 extends from the western suburbs to the southern suburbs, bypassing downtown. I-794 extends east from the Marquette Interchange to Lake Michigan before turning south over the Hoan Bridge toward the airport, turning into Highway 794 along the way. Milwaukee is also served by three US Highways. U.S. Highway 18 (US 18) provides a link from downtown to points west. US 41 and US 45 both provide north–south freeway transportation on the western side of the city. The freeway system in Milwaukee carries roughly 25% of all travel in Wisconsin.

Water

Milwaukee’s main port, Port of Milwaukee, handled 2.4 million metric tons of cargo through its municipal port in 2014.[140] Steel and salt are handled at the port. Milwaukee connects with Muskegon, Michigan through the Lake Express high-speed auto and passenger ferry. The Lake Express travels across Lake Michigan from late spring to the fall of each year.

Weather

Milwaukee’s location in the Great Lakes Region often has rapidly changing weather, producing a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa), with cold, windy, snowy winters, and warm, humid summers. The warmest month of the year is July, when the 24-hour average is 71.8 °F (22.1 °C), while January is the coldest month, with a 24-hour average of 22.3 °F (−5.4 °C). Because of Milwaukee’s proximity to Lake Michigan, a convection current forms around mid-afternoon in light wind, resulting in the so-called “lake breeze” – a smaller scale version of the more common sea breeze. The lake breeze is most common between the months of March and July. This onshore flow causes cooler temperatures to move inland usually 5 to 15 miles (8 to 24 km), with much warmer conditions persisting further inland. Because Milwaukee’s official climate site, General Mitchell International Airport, is only 3 miles (4.8 km) from the lake, seasonal temperature variations are less extreme than in many other locations of the Milwaukee metropolitan area. As the sun sets, the convection current reverses and an offshore flow ensues causing a land breeze. After a land breeze develops, warmer temperatures flow east toward the lakeshore, sometimes causing high temperatures during the late evening. The lake breeze is not a daily occurrence and will not usually form if a southwest, west, or northwest wind generally exceeds 15 mph (24 km/h). The lake moderates cold air outbreaks along the lakeshore during winter months. Aside from the lake’s influence, overnight lows in downtown Milwaukee year-round are often much warmer than suburban locations because of the urban heat island effect. Onshore winds elevate daytime relative humidity levels in Milwaukee as compared to inland locations nearby. Thunderstorms in the region can be dangerous and damaging, bringing hail and high winds. In rare instances, they can bring a tornado. However, almost all summer rainfall in the city is brought by these storms. In spring and fall, longer events of prolonged, lighter rain bring most of the precipitation. A moderate snow cover can be seen on or linger for many winter days, but even during meteorological winter, on average, over 40% of days see less than 1 inch (2.5 cm) on the ground. Milwaukee tends to experience highs that are 90 °F (32 °C) on or above 7 days per year, and lows at or below 0 °F (−18 °C) on 6–7 nights. Extremes range from 105 °F (41 °C) set on July 24, 1934 down to −26 °F (−32 °C) on both January 17, 1982 and February 4, 1996. The 1982 event, also known as Cold Sunday, featured temperatures as low as −40 °F (−40 °C) in some of the suburbs as little as 10 miles (16 km) to the north of Milwaukee.