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Milwaukee is a city and port of entry, in the southeast of Wisconsin. With a population of a little under 600,000 (2017), it is the state’s largest city. It is situated on the western shore of Lake Michigan and like Chicago, it’s more famous and larger neighbour, which lies 90 miles (145km) to the south, it grew up on a swampy lakeside marshland.

Above: Approaching downtown Milwaukee from the south along I-794

The North West Company (a fur trading business headquartered in Montreal from 1779 to 1821) established a fur-trading post here in 1795. Treaties signed with the local Indian tribes opened the area up to European settlement in the 1830’s and Milwaukee was founded in 1836. During the latter half of the 19th century, it received an abundance of German settlers. These “Forty-Eighters” were revolutionaries who fled Germany after an aborted attempt to overthrow the monarchy in 1848 and, as a result of this, the city has a German ambience about it still felt today. The city has a college of the University of Wisconsin (1908), whilst industries here include brewing, diesel and gas engines, construction and electrical equipment.

Above: The Bronze Fonz statue, which may be seen along the RiverWalk, is based on the character from the sitcom Happy Days, which was set in 1950’s Milwaukee

Milwaukee, which is split north to south in the downtown area by the Milwaukee River, has several sites on offer for visitors. The Harley-Davidson Museum (see lower down this page) displays classic motorcycles, including one of Elvis Presley’s, and the city is well known for its breweries, many of which offer tours chronicling its role in the beer industry; The “Big Four” breweries – Pabst, Blatz, Schlitz and Miller were the beers that “made Milwaukee famous” and even the local baseball team came to be called the Brewers. Other highlights in the city include the stunning Calatrava-designed Milwaukee Art Museum, the Milwaukee Public Museum (with its large-scale European Village and a recreation of old Milwaukee), the restaurant and artwork-lined 2-mile long RiverWalk (see below), the ornate Pabst Theatre and Milwaukee City Hall (1895) in the main business district of East Town, the old shopping district in West Town, the Marquette University Campus with its St Joan of Arc Chapel, Discovery World (including science exhibits, an aquarium, movie theatre and trips on a tall ship), the Pabst Mansion (built in 1893 and home of the Pabst brewery’s founder), Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery (an ensemble of historic structures including an active beer hall), the Milwaukee County Historical Society, and also, another major sight is the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, which was one of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s last commissions.
The visit to Milwaukee featured in the photographs on this webpage focused on three main sights, firstly an evening stroll around the downtown area (principally to look around the RiverWalk), then a visit then next day to the Harley-Davidson Museum and finally a tour around the MillerCoors Brewery. Photographs from the first stop and some general shots from driving around the city are shown in the thumbnail gallery below (click on an image to enlarge):

Harley-Davidson Museum


Harley-Davidson is an iconic American motorcycle manufacturer, which was founded here in 1903 by William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson. The motorcycle movement was growing in the United States at the start of the 20th century and by 1905, the main manufacturers were Harley-Davidson and Indian. Both companies introduced the use of twist-grips on the handlebars to control the throttle and advance and retard of the ignition timing. As one of the pioneers in the development of the motorcycle, Harley-Davidson’s characteristic V-twin cylinder engine was first introduced in 1909; they have used the same layout in most of their engines ever since. The Harley-Davidson WLA and WLC motorcycles, produced in 1945 for the Canadian Government, have an excellent reputation for reliability and they were adapted from earlier civilian machines. The 750cc V-twin side- valve engine was used in one of the machines made for Allied dispatch riders and military police at the end of the Second World War.


The Harley-Davidson Museum sits on a 20-acre (8ha) campus just south of the river. The museum celebrates a century of motorcycle manufacturing and sits in a stylish modern building. Attracting bikers from all over the world, the building’s industrial design includes 8-foot (24m) high towers of galvanised steel. On display are approximately 140 Harley vehicles showcased through the company’s history, as well as some 16,000, or so, smaller artefacts. Interactive features keep both children and adults engaged in the exhibits.


“Must-see” motorcycles include Serial Number One (shown above, right, and the oldest Harley-Davidson motorcycle known to exist), Exploded Bike (a mechanical drawing brought to life), WLA Military Model, Board Track Racers (5 vintage motorcycles racing on a 13-foot tall replica board track), Tsunami Bike (a bike that drifted over 4,000 miles across the Pacific), the Elvis Bike (an elaborate bike owned by Elvis Presley, “King Kong” (two engines, 13½ feet long, 40 years in the making) and the Evel Knievel Bike (Wembley replica jump bike soaring 25 feet above the ground). A selection of different tours are available here (including factory tours), and there are plenty of other things to see and do, including The Engine Room (which shows how the Harley engine works), a river walk, viewing the Hillclimber statue, a replica of The Shed (the first home of Harley-Davidson), the Harley-Davidson Wall, a bar and restaurant and, as one may expect, the shop, which makes for an excellent opportunity to purchase a memento or two from a visit here. For more information on the museum and events here, the official website may be found on the link Here. A very extensive photo gallery from the visit to the museum may be found below. Note that for the benefit of the enthusiast, information boards for each of the motorcycles on display here are also shown, for cross referencing (click on an image to enlarge):

MillerCoors Brewery Tour

The MillerCoors Brewery Tour takes visitors on a tour of its brewery and the nearby Caves Museum, where beer was naturally cooled deep inside the local bluffs. The tour provides an educational insight into the company’s history, as well as the modern technology employed in brewing and packaging the beer commercially available today. Complementary MillerCoors beverages (as well as soft-drinks for minors/non-participating adults) are offered as part of the tour. Photographs from the visit are shown in the thumbnail gallery below (click on an image to enlarge):

Historically, many of Milwaukee’s beer barons were wealthy philanthropists who invested in the city’s arts, architecture and social causes. However, like many other places, the city has seen periods of decline. In more recent times, many of its areas have been revitalized, including the downtown with its flourishing local food and drink scene and the Historic Third Ward district, one of the city’s creative hubs – an old warehouse district now containing art galleries and studios, boutiques, loft apartments, bars and restaurants. Milwaukee’s spectacular shoreline hosts many festivals, including the Summerfest, which is an 11-day culinary and musical event taking place late June to early July. All that said, some of the city’s northern neighbourhoods still struggle with high crime and poverty. This has been, but a brief look at the city, which has much to offer in terms of diversity, culture and history. For further information, the city’s official Visit Milwaukee website may be found on the link Here.

Above: The Allen-Bradley Clock Tower on the Rockwell Automation Headquarters building in Milwaukee, one of the city’s landmarks  (see Wikipedia Here for further reading).

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