Milwaukee in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
The First Milwaukeeans
Indian villagers are credited with giving Milwaukee its name, which may have derived from Mahnawauk, Meolaki or Milwacky. Those words may be references to the Milwaukee River or a medicinal plant, but the most common translation is "good land."
Over the years, archaeologists have documented more than 200 Indian mounds, indicating a native presence in Milwaukee as early as 800 B.C. Disease, wars and shifting settlements regularly changed the region's tribal makeup.
The confluence of the Menomonee, Milwaukee and Kinnickinnic rivers provided abundant natural resources for native peoples, including canoe trails, fish, reeds, and wild rice. Indians built paths, grew exotic plants and developed small villages long before 1674, when Father Jacques Marquette became the first European to visit the area that was to become Milwaukee.
In 1817, one of the earliest formal Indian censuses counted 300 members of the Sac, Fox, Ojibwa, Ottawa, Ho Chunk, Menomonee and Potawatomi tribes then living in the future Milwaukee. Fur trade was just starting to engage native people in European material culture. One of the most notable posts was located at the intersection of present-day Wisconsin Avenue and Water Streets. It was run by Solomon Juneau, who would become Milwaukee's first mayor.
Location. 43° 2.308′ N, 87° 54.578′ W. Marker is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in Milwaukee County. Marker is at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and the east bank of the Milwaukee River, on the right when traveling east on Wisconsin Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Milwaukee WI 53202, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Every Building Tells a Story (here, next to this marker); Wisconsin's Oldest Newspaper (within shouting distance of this marker); The First House on the East Side of Milwaukee (within shouting distance of this marker); Gertie (within shouting distance of this marker); Iron Block (within shouting distance of this marker); Historic Milwaukee (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Milwaukee's Bridge War (about 300 feet away); Milwaukee's Miraculous Mallard (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Milwaukee.
Also see . . . Wisconsin Indian Artifacts. (Submitted on December 15, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Exploration • Native Americans • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 11, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 505 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on December 15, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.