Milwaukee is the largest city in the U.S. state of Wisconsin, the 28th most populous city in the United States, and 39th most populous region in the United States. It is the county seat of Milwaukee County and is located on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan. According to 2010 census data, the City of Milwaukee has a population of 594,833. Milwaukee is the main cultural and economic center of the Milwaukee–Racine–Waukesha Metropolitan Area with a population of 1,751,316 as of 2010. Milwaukee is also the regional center of the seven county Greater Milwaukee Area, with an estimated population of 2,014,032 as of 2008.
The first Europeans to pass through the area were French 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 and other immigrants helped increase the city's population during the 1840s and the following decades. Known for its brewing traditions, major new additions to the city include the Milwaukee Riverwalk, the Frontier Airlines Center (to be renamed "Delta Center"), Miller Park, an internationally renowned addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum, and Pier Wisconsin, as well as major renovations to the U.S. Cellular Arena. In addition, many new skyscrapers, condos, lofts and apartments have been constructed in neighborhoods on and near the lakefront and riverbanks.
North-south streets are numbered, and east-west streets are named. However, north-south streets east of 1st Street are named, like east-west streets. The north-south numbering line is along the Menomonee River (east of Hawley Road) and Fairview Avenue/Golfview Parkway (west of Hawley Road), with the east-west numbering line defined along 1st Street (north of Oklahoma Avenue) and Chase/Howell Avenue (south of Oklahoma Avenue). This numbering system is also used to the north by Mequon in Ozaukee County, and by some Waukesha County communities. Milwaukee is crossed by Interstate 43 and Interstate 94, which come together downtown at the Marquette Interchange. Interstate 894 bypass runs through portions of the city's southwest side, and Interstate 794 comes out of the Marquette interchange eastbound, bends south along the lakefront and crosses the harbor over the Hoan Bridge, then ends near the Bay View neighborhood and becomes the "Lake Parkway" (WIS-794). One of the distinctive traits of Milwaukee's residential areas are the neighborhoods full of so-called Polish flats. These are two-Family homes with separate entrances, but with the units stacked one on top of another instead of side-by-side. This arrangement enables a family of limited means to purchase both a home and a modestly priced rental apartment unit. Since Polish-American immigrants to the area prized land ownership, this solution, which was prominent in their areas of settlement within the city, came to be associated with them.
Milwaukee is the home to the international headquarters of 5 Fortune 500 companies: Johnson Controls, Northwestern Mutual, Manpower, Rockwell Automation and Harley-Davidson. Other companies based in Milwaukee include Jefferson Wells, Marshall & Ilsley, Hal Leonard, Wisconsin Energy, the American Society for Quality, Joy Global, A. O. Smith, Koss, Red Star Yeast, Master Lock, American Signal Corporation, GE Healthcare Diagnostic Imaging and Clinical Systems and MGIC Investments. The Milwaukee metropolitan area ranks fifth in the United States in terms of the number of Fortune 500 company headquarters as a share of the population. Milwaukee also has a large number of financial service firms, particularly those specializing in mutual funds and transaction processing systems, and a number of publishing and printing companies. Service and managerial jobs are the fastest-growing segments of the Milwaukee economy, and health care alone makes up 27% the jobs in the city. 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 immigrants who 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.
Parks and recreation:
Milwaukee County is known for its well-developed Parks of Milwaukee park system. The "Grand Necklace of Parks", designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of New York's Central Park, includes Lake Park, River Park (now Riverside Park), and West Park (now Washington Park). Milwaukee County Parks offer facilities for sunbathing, picnics, grilling, disc golf, and ice skating. Milwaukee has over 140 parks with over 15,000 acres (6,100 ha) of parks and parkways.
Parks and nature centers:
The Monarch Trail, located on the Milwaukee County Grounds in Wauwatosa, is a 1.25-mile (2 km) trail that highlights the fall migration of the Monarch butterflies. During the summer months, Cathedral Park in Downtown Milwaukee is home to "Jazz in the Park" on Thursday nights. Nearby Pere Marquette Park hosts "River Rhythms" on Wednesday nights.
Milwaukee has one of the highest per capita student populations in North America, ranking 6th among U.S. and Canadian cities in number of college students per 100 residents, according to a January 2000 study from McGill University
Primary and secondary education:
Milwaukee maintains Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), the largest school district in Wisconsin and thirty third in the nation. As of 2007, it had an enrollment of 89,912 students and as of 2006 employed 11,100 full-time and substitute teachers in 323 schools. Milwaukee Public Schools operate as magnet schools, with individualized specialty areas for interests in academics or the arts. Washington High School, Riverside University High School, Rufus King High School, Ronald Wilson Reagan College Preparatory High School, Samuel Morse Middle School for the Gifted and Talented, Golda Meir School, Milwaukee High School of the Arts, and Lynde & Harry Bradley Technology and Trade School are some of the magnet schools in Milwaukee. In 2007, 17 MPS high schools appeared on a national list of "dropout factories" - schools where fewer than 60% of freshmen graduate on time. Milwaukee is also home to over two dozen private or parochial high schools (e.g., St. Anthony High School, Divine Savior Holy Angels High School, Thomas More High School, Dominican High School, Messmer High School, Marquette University High School, Milwaukee Lutheran High School, Pius XI High School, St. Joan Antida High School, and University School of Milwaukee among others) and many private and parochial middle and elementary schools.
Milwaukee area universities and colleges:
- Alverno College
- The Art Institute of Wisconsin
- Bryant and Stratton
- Cardinal Stritch University
- Carroll University (Waukesha)
- Concordia University Wisconsin (Mequon)
- Herzing University
- Marquette University
- Medical College of Wisconsin (Wauwatosa)
- Milwaukee Area Technical College
- Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design
- Milwaukee School of Engineering
- Mount Mary College
- National-Louis University
- Sacred Heart School of Theology (Hales Corners, Wisconsin)
- University Of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
- University of Wisconsin–Waukesha (Waukesha)
- Wisconsin Lutheran College