Milwaukee’s rapid industrialization following the Civil War had positive and negative effects. Despite working harder and for longer hours, people received little pay. There was a growing disparity between the rich and the poor.
Most industries, including iron mills, meatpacking plants, and others, had poor working conditions and low wages. During the 1880s, the lowest-paid workers worked ten-hour days, six days a week, for $1.25. Milwaukee had a small labor movement before 1865, but the labor movement took off after the war when the Knights of Labor union began heavily organizing in the area. Union membership was half the city’s blue-collar workforce in 1886. At the time, the union’s main concern was the eight-hour workday. Milwaukee’s employers generally refused to reduce their workday at the same wage. The city was closed down in May due to strikes and lockouts. One thousand strikers marched on the Milwaukee Iron Company on May 4 to shut it down. To protect the mill, Governor Jeremiah Rusk called out the local militia. During a strike in Milwaukee in May of 1886, state-sponsored militia shots killed striking workers. Workers condemned the action throughout the city, many of whom belonged to a national labor union, the Knights of Labor. This movement led to the formation of the People’s Party of Wisconsin. Socialists in the city reluctantly joined forces with the People’s Party. In the 1886 elections, the Party won many seats, including one in Congress. After the Socialists left the Party, the Democrats and Republicans joined forces against the People’s Party. Over the next few years, the Party disintegrated.
These stunning photos will take you back to the 1880s in Milwaukee. Also check, Milwaukee in the 1860s, 1870s, and 1890s.
The location is on Milwaukee Avenue at Middle Street. The driver of the one-horse wagon is Conrad Hansis and the driver of the two-horse wagon is John Kriegsman. Jacob G. Gottfredsen was born in Denmark in 1821 and located in Kenosha in 1846. He started a brewery in 1858 which was run in his own name until 1877, when he admitted his son to the partnership. In 1890 they leased their buildings to the E. Grieshach Brewing Company of which Frederick J. Gottfredsen was president.
Brumder and his family lived on the second floor. As noted in the caption, George Brumder is pictured at right in the doorway at ground level. His wife, Henriette, is standing at left at the top of the stairway on the side of the building. Two signboards are standing on the wooden sidewalk near the corner. A sign along the top of the building reads: Germania Commercial, Book, and Job Printing. There is a small carriage at lower right.
Group portrait of a group of German panorama painters on a scaffolding in their Milwaukee studio, with The Atlanta Cyclorama as a backdrop. Included in the group are, standing from the top left: Franz Bilberstein (landscapes), August Lohr (supervisor and designer of landscape settings), Herman Michalowski (figures), Feodor von Luerzer (landscapes), Franz Rohrbeck with flag (figures, especially Confederates), Theodor Breidwiser (figures), Johannes Schulz (seated) (figures), and Otto Dinger at the top right (figures). In front of them from the left with large moustache, Albert Richter (figures), Gustav Wendling (figures), Bernhard Schneider (landscapes), Bernhard (Wilhelm?) Schroeder (Schroeter?) (landscapes), and Paul Wilhelmi (figures).
Built in 1840 by Lemuel Hull. William Singer was the mason. The basement was made by lowering the hill. There were originally only two stories. First and second levels have a columned porch. A series of four windows line the facade of the top two floors, while the ground level has only two windows and a shuttered door.
The viaduct has two arched passages, and stones and rocks lining the path for the water. Two men stand near the viaduct. One man has a camera and is facing the stonework, the other man is looking out at the viewer. Beyond the viaduct is more water and a grassy area with trees; low shrub and plant life are in the foreground.