Riding around Milwaukee, 4/11/11

While Milwaukee is still a big and important place, one gets the feeling that it used to be a VERY important place.   You are also reminded of the huge amount of wealth created in the United States between about 1885 and 1929.    Living in North Carolina, there is not much evidence of that.     Milwaukee seems to have many times more important urban buildings built in those years before 1930 than in the whole of North Carolina.   Milwaukee in 1905 was a dynamic place.   This is the building they built in 1905  as a station for just the interurban (local – suburban) streetcars.

Milwaukee former streetcar station

Milwaukee looks like a small version of Chicago, spread out over a river fronting Lake Michigan.

River view Milwaukee
Milwaukee City Hall

Downtown Milwaukee is full of impressive buildings.    If you count out uninhabitable structures like the Eiffel Tower,  the 1895 City Hall, which looks like a church, was the tallest building in the world for four years.

Northwestern Mutual (The Quiet Company) building from 1910

Unlike Chicago, Milwaukee does not seem dynamic.   It has the gritty feel of a town that is trying to keep up with change, but it did not impress me as a place that attracts the young and the hip.

Milwaukee, like much of Wisconsin, is a pretty good place to ride bikes.  It has bike trails in the city, as well as marked bike lanes in many major streets.    Most urban bikers in most American cities are men.   One of the signs that a city has a safe bicycle environment is that you see women on bicycles.    While I do not have any photos of them, I saw on several separate occasions helmet-less young ladies on vintage Schwinns on a Milwaukee Monday morning in April.

bike lane on typical Milwaukee street
bike lane along lakefront in Milwaukee
Brady Street in Milwaukee

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