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Fascinating Historical Photos of Milwaukee in the 1870s

Milwaukee began to lose its wheat trade market to Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, during the 1870s. The grain passing through the Port of Milwaukee had greatly declined by 1880. Milwaukee’s economy is based on manufacturing steel and iron, which remains a major industry. The city has benefited from the growth of manufacturing in recent decades.

The city’s steel industry was largely fueled by iron-ore deposits discovered nearby Dodge County in the 1840s. The largest steel mill in Wisconsin was opened in 1868. The mill employed over 1,000 workers and produced railroad rails. There was a tremendous amount of construction of iron foundries and manufacturing facilities

#1 St. Stanislaus Polish Catholic Church. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1875

#2 Built by Charles Durkee in 1843 and burned January 31, 1871.

Built by Charles Durkee in 1843 and burned January 31, 1871.

Claimed to be the first brick hotel in Wisconsin, the second one being the Kirby House in Milwaukee built in 1844. The Durkee House was the first brick building in Kenosha.

#4 Elevated view of Milwaukee River with large sailing ship – a two-masted schooner – entering the port, 1870

#6 Two men are standing on the platform outside of Kiel’s first Depot, 1870

Two men are standing on the platform outside of Kiel’s first Depot, 1870

A Milwaukee Road train is seen in the background taking on water and refueling with wood. The water tower and a windmill behind it were made of wood. Telegraph poles are shown running parallel with the tracks.

#7 Myers House Hotel, 1875

Myers House Hotel, 1875

Myers House Hotel and Todd's Brewery on Milwaukee Street. Peter Myers' home can be seen on the hill at the end of the street.

#8 Myers House Hotel built in 1859 on the corner of Main and Milwaukee Streets by Peter Myers. U. S. Grant is said to have stayed overnight at the hotel on September 8, 1870.

#9 The Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company grain elevator at the Milwaukee harbor, with a sailing ship anchored nearby, 1870

#10 Milwaukee County Court House, 1870

Milwaukee County Court House, 1870

A large statue is on top of the main dome. The area around the courthouse is filled with trees, a fountain, and pedestrians.

#11 Water tower of the Milwaukee water works, North Point, 1870

#12 View of bluffs and buildings on the shore of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1877.

#13 High angle view of a ship moored at a wharf on the Milwaukee River in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1875.

#15 Main Street – north end – Old Main Street bridge, 1875

Main Street - north end - Old Main Street bridge, 1875

This photograph was taken from a high point on the Bain Wagon Company property facing north up Main Street, showing the bend in the street to the left to meet Milwaukee Avenue. The lawn of the Pennoyer Water Cure can be seen on the left, just at the north end of Main Street bridge. The church spire is that of St. George's Catholic Church.

#16 Alex McGregor, 1870s. Milwaukee and Prairie du Chien Railroad Company.

#17 View down road towards the Western Hotel on the left, 1870

View down road towards the Western Hotel on the left, 1870

In 1873 the Hotel was taken over by Joseph Dreyfuss and was subsequently known as Hotel Dreyfuss. Presented in 1913 by the current proprietor Julius Dreyfuss, son of Joseph Dreyfuss.

#19 Dousman Warehouse, East Water Street. Originally located on the wharf parallel with the river, 1870

Dousman Warehouse, East Water Street. Originally located on the wharf parallel with the river, 1870

Built and used by George and Talbot, brothers of Hercules Dousman, in 1839. They used it until about 1855.

#20 Chamber of Commerce at the corner of Broadway and Michigan Streets, 1870

#22 Elevated view from rooftops of what was known as Watertown Plank road, looking west from about North 35th Street, 1870

#23 Axtell House, located at Walker’s point on the corner of S. Water and Ferry Streets, 1870

#24 Metal bridge over river with three men standing near the railing, 1870

#25 Chapman’s Dry Goods Emporium, 1870

Chapman's Dry Goods Emporium, 1870

Interior view with dome visible. A long counter takes up the lower right of the image, and at the left is a white barrier wall, next to a decorated column. Various goods can be seen on the counter in the back of the image. A small chandelier hangs from the ceiling.

#26 Childs-Paul House,Located at 321 Hanover Street, 1870

Childs-Paul House,Located at 321 Hanover Street, 1870

The house has an old fashioned hardwood frame, hewed and sawed hand. It was part of the old Childs homestead near the corner of Pierce and Hanover Streets. It was bought by Geo. H. Paul and removed to the west side of Hanover between Pierce and Nattan, and rebuilt.

#29 Milwaukee River, 1870.

Milwaukee River, 1870.

North of Huron Street Bridge looking toward point near Grand Avenue crossing. A ship with several masts is docked on the river, and several large buildings are along the shoreline.

#30 Pabst Residence, 1870

Pabst Residence, 1870

Home with large yard with many trees and a fountain on the right. A smokestack is in the distant background. On the sidewalk are pedestrians, and on the road are two carriages and a man on a horse.

#32 Bradley & Metcalf building in the 300 block of East Water Street, 1870

#33 National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1870

#34 Notre Dame Convent, 1871. The building has a fence around it and the yard is filled with trees. Pedestrians are in the road, as well as a man riding a horse.

#35 Wisconsin Street seen from Spring Street, 1875

Wisconsin Street seen from Spring Street, 1875

The building on the left nearest the bridge was the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway's downtown office. The banner above Wisconsin Street reads "For Governor Harrison Ludington".

#36 The brick home of Judge Andrew Galbraith Miller at 174 Wisconsin Street, 1875

The brick home of Judge Andrew Galbraith Miller at 174 Wisconsin Street, 1875

There are steps up to the front entrance, a fence, and a fire hydrant on the sidewalk corner. The road in front is of dirt and brick

#38 Elevated stereograph of East Water Street showing City Hall, 1875

#41 Winter scene of a residential area, looking down a snowy sidewalk near a retaining wall and a fence in Milwaukee, with a horse-drawn carriage or sleigh in the distance, 1876

#42 Melms-Schandein Residence, 1876

Melms-Schandein Residence, 1876

The buildings on the left are the old Melms Brewery located at the south side of the Menomonee Valley.

#43 Building also housed the Custom House. Corner of Milwaukee and Wisconisn Streets, 1876

#45 Elevated view of a deck of a schooner hauling lumber, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1875.

#46 Stereoview of Broadway in Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1874.

#47 View looking northwest from Exposition Building, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1874.

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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