Title: Purchase German Milwaukee (Images of America)
Author: John L. Hoh, Jr.
Arcadia Publishing has issued a plethora of books relating to local heritages. Wander on Arcadia's web site and you are greeted with a map. Click on any area and the web site brings up the Arcadia offerings related to that particular area. Some series deal with the local sports legends. Some deal with the historical or geological features of the local area.
This book is part of Arcadia's "Images of America" series and details the Germans in Milwaukee.
Every city has enclaves of ethnic groups. Milwaukee is no exception. French fur traders, Yankees, Poles, Irish, and others helped shape the new and growing city by Lake Michigan. But by far the Germans made the biggest splash in Milwaukee. The old industries (and ancient headstones in Forest Home) bear German names: Pabst, Schlitz, Blatz, Harnishfeger, Pfister.
The German influence is also seen in the brewing industry that "made Milwaukee famous." The work ethic led to an industrial boom where Milwaukee produced huge mining equipment, tractors, large scale gears, and other items not seen produced elsewhere in the world.
But beyond work is the leisure Germans brought to Milwaukee. Beer was just the "wetting of the whistle." The Germans brought their love of a fest to Milwaukee and that is carried on in the "City of Festivals" today.
Germans were also interested in education and physical fitness. Schools and the Turner Society were formed to give German youth an advantage in the New World. Milwaukee Germans hosted theater, formed musical groups, and did painting. After the Civil War many Germans painted dioramas and cycloramas, most depicting a Civil War scene.
This book is an enlightening look at perhaps the ethnic group with the most clout in perhaps the most German of cities in America.
Title: German Milwaukee: Book Review
Author: David Luhrssen
Publisher: Express Milwaukee
Milwaukee was once a German city-at least north of Wisconsin Avenue. Traces of the past are apparent even today in the older architecture and the long-noted preference of our citizens for beer and bratwurst.
Many books have already been written on Milwaukee's German heritage. The latest, German Milwaukee (from Arcadia Publishing) adds no new insights but is an accessible, profusely illustrated walk through the city's Teutonic past.
As part of Arcadia's Images of America series, whose catalog already includes several books on our area, German Milwaukee follows the format of a short intro at the start of each chapter followed by pages of carefully captioned photographs. German Milwaukee is unusual for its academic origins. UWM professor of German language, literature and culture, Jennifer Watson Schumacher, edited the book from the research of her students who wrote the text and hunted for photographs of landmarks, families and famous figures.
What's remarkable in paging through the old pictures is how much Milwaukee has retained. City Hall and Turner Hall, the Pabst Mansion and the Pabst Theater survived the worst efforts of the city's dimmest leaders in the '60s to tear down everything beautiful. The craft and pride of the old German builders continues to anchor our cityscape.
Jennifer Watson Schumacher will sign copies of German Milwaukee at Boswell Books