Milwaukee of Today, the cream city of the lakesc. 1893 book on Milwaukee merchants
1890s Cream City of the Lakes
An apt description for a city built of brick that turned a creamy gold when fired instead of the usual red or brown. When viewed from the Lake Michigan during the sunrise, the still cleaned brick buildings must have radiantly shown!

slogan, Milwaukee: A Bright Spot 1901
1900s A Bright Spot
A new century brought a change. You can notice a reference to the shining city on the lake. Milwaukee was now billed as a top destination for conventions. With the many breweries, opera houses, vaudeville theaters, parks and more attractions (some illegal) the city drew in various national club, labor, industrial and athletic conventions in the early 20th century.

PictureLetterhead on Merchant & Commerce Report
1920s Making Milwaukee Mighty
The cities industrial and shipping base increased greatly during the first World Wars. The Great Depression of the 1930s was not kind to the global community but Milwaukee suffered less than many cities its size. As the depression and dust bowl continued, more rural citizens and immigrants flocked to the big cities to look for employment.


1920s & 1930s Keep Milwaukee Famous
Used as a slogan by Daniel Hoan who wished to remind voters of how the city improved with him as mayor. It borrows quite a lot from Schlitz's branding as, "The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous". Schlitz itself rebranded during prohibition encouraging buyers to purchase it's barley malt that, "Keeps Milwaukee Famous". Well, a good slogan is a good slogan.
slogan, Keep Milwaukee On Top
C. 1940 Keep Milwaukee on Top
 Investors and workers alike needed to be reminded that the city was still important in the region and the world. Although it might be viewed as a slight improvement over the "Milwaukee Mighty", it isn't that different from the previous "Keep" slogan.

1970s Milwaukee: Talk It Up
Following WWII, city slogans seemed to take second place to the branding of individual companies towards consumers. Interestingly, this is also the decade that brought the shows of "Happy Days" and "Laverne & Shirley" into every household with a television. Although the slogan seems a little confusing, it definitely has a colorful '70s look. See a sample at the bottom link.
slogan, Milwaukee: Great for Living Great for Business
c. 1980 Milwaukee: Great For Living, Great For Business
A lengthy slogan trying very hard. The flight to the suburbs was on and the downtown of Milwaukee was often very deserted shortly after five o'clock. The city is still working to try people back to the center to this very day.

1982 Milwaukee Builds Winners

1983 A Great Place By a Great Lake

1995 Milwaukee: Genuine American

Like the period following World War II, city slogans have seemed to again fall out of fashion. Visit Milwaukee currently uses a wordless sketch of the art museum. In a city with over half a million people, multiple interests and many businesses, perhaps it is difficult to find a consensus today.

For more images and reflections of the most recent slogans, read Matthew Prigge's Shepherd Express article: Milwaukee City Slogans: Talk 'em Up


By Joel Willems
Curator, Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear
 


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