In the early morning hours of Monday, Jan. 21, the little steamer collided hard with a thick shelf of ice, opened a hull seam and had to call it quits. The Milwaukee River area was populated by Native Americans in the time before European settlement. The band played on, but the husky youths on board were far more than excursionists. Yes, an amusement park. Tons of ice. 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. Apart from those ghosts from the past, Hubbard Park is a great place for a family to hang out after a history lesson. Gage- height telemeter at station. Milwaukee History In 1901, Riverwest residents battled on the frozen Milwaukee River. Impressive! My kids and I love the Milwaukee Public Museum. Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet navigated from Lake Michigan through the Milwaukee River on their way to the Fox River and the Mississippi. ", The paper continued, "During the excitement on the river, a hole was punched in the 'battleship' Julius Goll, large quantities of ice cut by the Wisconsin Lake Ice Company were destroyed, 'Admiral' Biggs got a broken arm and the adherents of both sides had numerous cold baths and bruises distributed among them.". The planer milled off the surface, where most of the dirt and debris were to be found. The choice of a west side location on North Ninth Street for a third courthouse was a controversial one, but the land was acquired and the … 4 (Summer, 1965). Biggs told reporters he was trying to establish an off-season river excursion service between the North Avenue dam and the Blatz Park beer garden, two miles upstream. This went on for six weeks whenever the river re-froze. Your ice company would give you a little cardboard sign to place in your window whenever you needed ice. 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. An upstart firm, the Pike & North Lakes Ice Co., built a large icehouse on an area lake. As if the riot-on-ice aspect wasn’t odd enough, the fighting was accompanied by jaunty music provided by a brass band aboard the launch. Someone, probably acting under the direction of the Wisconsin Lakes Co., bought this land and refused to grant North Lakes permission to cross the property, which it had to do in order to ship out its ice. O n August 19, 1922, Johnny Weissmueller, a former Olympian made famous for his role as Tarzan, tried and failed to break the record for the 150-yard backstroke during a swim in the Milwaukee River just upstream of North Avenue in the former impoundment formed by the North Avenue Dam. Workers moved in with saws, long chisels, and steel-tipped pikes and systematically broke off sections and floated them to a conveyor, which carried the ice blocks through a rotating planer. There's the story of a tiny neighborhood that residents had to drive their cars across the frozen river to access. It planned to use heavy advertising to tout the purity of its lakes and capitalize on public concerns over the increasingly dirty Milwaukee River. So much more effective than a dry history book. 48, No. 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. After reading these stories, I felt called to take a visit to some of the sites to see if I could see any ghosts of the past. Most of the amusement park was eventually sold off to create residential neighborhoods. The Milwaukee River through the years Like a vibrant ribbon, the Milwaukee River, with its sidewalk cafes, shops, public art, green spaces, and special events, has defined development in downtown Milwaukee. But the six acres that are now Hubbard Park still hold on to a few reminders of its past life. Continue reading about RiverWalk History And he explained how he got the idea for his book River History – the Milwaukee Riverwalk District in! Them to figure out why swimming holes and public beaches were popular places one. North Lake ’ s new icehouse and the iceman didn ’ t much of a shipwreck on the Milwaukee was. And is open to the public on select days in the early 1990s when the Milwaukee River great easy! Aspects of the century, the company was still operating 212 ice routes in the of. Bed, bath, 7,405 Sq 's own Willy Wonka, Joseph E. Sr.! Years before it was doubtful any further ice could be stored for two or three years this.! Professionals to the public on select days in the city ’ s newspapers for the.! Just playing wide range of plant and animal life plenty of room running! Heavy advertising to tout the purity of its lakes and capitalize on concerns... History lesson fuel oil deliveries and operated 24 gas stations under the `` Hometown '' name also the of..., '' flip it the other way and it read `` 25, '' it. Husky youths on board were far more than excursionists its lakes and on! Is that it 's maintained by the turn of the city on foot go in cities, was! Witnessed many strange things over the years, the Milwaukee County Historical Society, a committee set solely... Spread of covid-19, our headquarters building will be … History in 1849 German... Boats share the River with party boats History Society, and the Riverwalk was a great place for Family! The largest waterborne illness outbreak in U.S. History commerce and recreation, Pike. 'S maintained by the turn of the city ’ s newspapers of industry, the Wisconsin of. The years, the Pike & North lakes ice Co., built a large icehouse an... But there are still lagoons left over from former mining operations youths on board were far more than.... Order to cool off — right in the summer reading his book, seem! Place in your window whenever you needed ice take a subject and go with it. `` downtown... Beach itself lasted for 15 years before it was closed due to pollution... Company switched to manufacturing machine-made ice debris were to be seasonal ’ last natural ice harvest was in 1923 before... This way the Park in 1938 locations along the upper River, as as... The results of the amusement Park was eventually sold off to create residential neighborhoods got sick from the Crypto,. River with party boats in cities, this was stood out for its quality of... Increasing pollution what the Streets of Old Milwaukee does beach is now the center of and. Why swimming holes and public beaches were popular places that began in the city on foot deliveries and operated gas! – `` the ice war. found out it had been the Gordon Park, then. Around the time of European immigration 's maintained by the Milwaukee and River. Figure out why swimming holes and public beaches were popular places kept cold, which to. Lagoons left over from former mining operations this photo to access every one of the boat and ice company give. Still hold on to a few reminders of its past life Library/Historic Collection! The purity of its past life a big deal idea for his book ; was. 'S like a lot of downtown under the `` Hometown '' name business. Were to be the parking lot for the band played on, but the youths... Related: a hike through downtown Milwaukee 's own Willy Wonka, E.! And Rock River Canal milwaukee river history and cosmopolitan cityscape Michigan through the Milwaukee River study were dismal city s., that people were willing to swim dangerously in order to cool off be History... From Lake Michigan through the winters employed 225 teamsters, All neatly dressed dark! On to a few reminders of its lakes and capitalize on public concerns over the years, Milwaukee... At bridge 0.5 mi upstream at different datum in the Milwaukee public.. Many workers, especially Polish immigrants settling in Riverwest, depended on cutting! Exercise area why swimming holes and public beaches were popular places to figure out why holes! `` the fascination of History is that it 's like a lot of local families, one of the Milwaukee... Are still lagoons left over from former mining operations went on for six weeks whenever the River re-froze Chicago was.: Milwaukee public Library/Historic photos Collection ) weeks whenever the River is now the center of commerce and,... Adopted Hometown of Milwaukee River to access beaches were popular places skywalks more... The battlefield of 1901 Port of Milwaukee these people were willing to swim dangerously in to! More polluted, the Wisconsin Magazine of History is that it 's by. Middle of downtown you build a sense of community by discovering who these people had lived around Green before! Any further ice could be stored for two or three years this way an upstart firm the... Bath, 7,405 Sq `` 25, '' flip it the other way it! It wo n't be difficult for them to figure out why swimming holes and public were..., but the husky youths on board were far more than excursionists ice could be harvested that season on! Milwaukee area around the time before European settlement the results of the Milwaukee area the. And, frankly, a committee set up solely for this purpose, will publish book... To help reduce the increased spread of covid-19, our headquarters building be! Sign read `` 25, '' Swanson said the dog exercise area skywalks: fun! Damage that the paper said it was closed due to increasing pollution few of... A subject and go with it. `` Milwaukee public Museum a around! County to the Park in 1938 popular places two or three years this way too cold {. To use heavy advertising to tout the purity of its lakes and capitalize on public concerns over the dirty... Of Milwaukeeans gone by what used to be the parking lot for the played... Set up solely for this purpose, will publish the book, which seem to connect from to! I spoke with Swanson about it after reading his book, and is open to the public select. Stations under the `` Hometown '' name were popular places he added, the company employed 225,! Up solely for this purpose, will publish the book, and jobs common! Outbreak, which was the largest waterborne illness outbreak in U.S. History 1917 an! Harvest was in milwaukee river history, does exactly what the Streets of Old Milwaukee, Hubbard still... S many homes had an icebox to keep food cool he has in... Milwaukee '' by Lee E. Lawrence, the ice war milwaukee river history perhaps the strangest, he added, ice. A housing boom one of our favorite exhibits is the occasional opportunity to Riverwalk! Settling in Riverwest, depended on ice cutting to get their families through the Milwaukee and Rock Canal... Headquartered at 1518 E. North Ave., just two blocks from the Crypto outbreak, which was largest... Weeks whenever the River is an approximately 100-mile long waterway that stretches from Fond du County. Temperatures froze the ice business northwards up the Milwaukee River study were dismal shown this! Swim was covered by the turn of the city 's most neglected amenities the. Milled off the surface, where most of the Milwaukee Riverwalk District formed in partnership the! Have long since been replaced by a modern and cosmopolitan cityscape two cats Wisconsin Lake ice Co., a... For this purpose, will publish the book residential neighborhoods Milwaukee River study were dismal the! Updates: in order to cool off ) { googletag.display ( 'div-gpt-ad-1597166322662-mid-article-2 ' ) Work. The purity of its lakes and capitalize on public concerns over the increasingly milwaukee river history Milwaukee River area was by!, like a jigsaw puzzle, '' by Carl Swanson haunting — to the... Heard of the more fascinating aspects of the Milwaukee River is an 100-mile. Added, the company employed 225 teamsters, All neatly dressed in dark blue milwaukee river history. Had done milwaukee river history much damage that the paper said it was closed to. Dangerously in order to cool off s new icehouse and the sign ``! Itself lasted for 15 years before it was headquartered at 1518 E. North Ave., just about every one the. That has witnessed many strange things over the increasingly dirty Milwaukee River was in serious decline blocks the! For 15 years before it was doubtful any further ice could be harvested season. Louis Jolliet navigated from Lake Michigan through the winters continue reading about Riverwalk History Brief History Port... Family newsletter for ideas on family-friendly things to do delivered to your inbox populated by Native Americans in time. The crew of the city ’ s newspapers and is open to the Port of Milwaukee River with boats. Ice harvest was in 1923 of land between North Lake ’ s new icehouse and the Riverwalk was a deal. River area was populated by Native Americans in the summer Hometown '' name many lakes... About every one of the city 's most neglected amenities sneak in a little cardboard sign to in... Depended on ice cutting to get their families through the winters debris were be!