“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Milwaukee in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Floating Freight on Liquid Highways

Floating Freight on Liquid Highways Marker image. Click for full size.
By Gordon Govier, July 3, 2015
1. Floating Freight on Liquid Highways Marker
Inscription. The Menomonee River Valley helped make Milwaukee a center for shipping and trade. From 1870 to 1890, the river was straightened and canals were dredged to aid commerce. Factories built right up to the banks make it easy to load and unload cargo directly from the water. Schooners carried Wisconsin lumber, iron ore, and other products to the world. In the 1860s Milwaukee was the world's largest shipper of wheat.

Schooners were the "semi trucks" of their day - the large-hulled sailing ships filled Milwaukee's waterways by the hundreds. Schooners were popular because they were inexpensive and easy to operate. However, they were often loaded ten feet high with cargo, which made them top-heavy and dangerous.

Many European immigrants got their first glimpse of Wisconsin on schooners and steamships. By the turn of the 20th century, steamships replaced schooners on the liquid highways.

"Three years ago, the valley of the Menomonee was one vast swamp, the home of the duck, rice-bird, and rail. Today it teems with busy people and is embellished with the spars of numerous vessels moving into and about the canals that have been formed for the accommodation of our commerce."
- Milwaukee Sentinel, May 24, 1872
Erected by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Menomonee
Menomonee River Branch image. Click for full size.
By Gordon Govier, July 3, 2015
2. Menomonee River Branch
Valley Partners, Inc., the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Location. 43° 1.726′ N, 87° 55.094′ W. Marker is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in Milwaukee County. Marker is on South 6th Street 0.1 miles south of West Canal Street, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Milwaukee WI 53204, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Cream City (approx. 0.2 miles away); Holy Trinity - Our Lady of Guadalupe Church (approx. 0.3 miles away); Milwaukee Fire Department Engine House #15 (approx. half a mile away); Sinking of the Lady Elgin (approx. half a mile away); Bradley & Metcalf Shoe Co. (approx. half a mile away); Pabst Brewing Company Saloon & Boarding House (approx. half a mile away); Keenan Building (approx. half a mile away); Young Saddlery Company Addition (approx. half a mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Milwaukee.
Categories. Industry & CommerceMan-Made FeaturesWaterways & Vessels
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Gordon Govier of Monona, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 103 times since then and 47 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Gordon Govier of Monona, Wisconsin. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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