Industrial city and port in southeastern Wisconsin, USA, at the mouth of the Milwaukee River, on the western shore of Lake Michigan, 128 km/79 mi north of Chicago; seat of Milwaukee County; population (2000 est) 597,000. It is the centre of a dairying and beef-producing region, and an important port of entry on the Great Lakes-St Lawrence Seaway system; industries include brewing (there are two major breweries, including Millers, the second largest brewery in the USA), engineering, machinery, motorcyles (the Harley-Davidson factory was founded here in 1906), electronic and electrical equipment, and chemicals.
Originally an American Indian settlement, the name is derived from an American Indian word, millocki, meaning ‘gathering of the waters’. Milwaukee grew up around a French-Canadian fur-trading post established at the river mouth in 1818; full economic development began in 1833, when the American Indians gave up their land claims. Beginning in the 1840s the city drew a large influx of German settlers, followed by a succession of Irish, Polish, Italian, and Scandinavian immigrants. After the American Civil War the economy diversified and Milwaukee became America's leading producer of beer. Milwaukee began redeveloping its harbour after World War II, and the opening of the St Lawrence Seaway in 1959 turned it into an international port. Milwaukee was incorporated as a city in 1846.
Historic places include the Third Ward, an area rebuilt after a fire in 1892, which is on the national register of historic places because of its late 19th-early 20th century warehouses, most of which are now used as retail and leisure facilities. Kilbourntown House, in Greek revival style, is also on the register of historic places. Other notable landmarks include two buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright - a factory for the Johnson's Wax company and the Annunciation Greek Orthodox church, Wright's last major building.
Other attractions include Discovery World, the James Lovell Museum of Science, the Milwaukee Arts Museum, and Milwaukee County Zoo. Milwaukee hosts annual festivals celebrating minorities and also the annual great circus parade, which attracts up to 1 million spectators. In 2003 there were major celebrations of the centenary of the first motorbike built by Harley and Davidson. In music and theatre, Milwaukee houses a symphony orchestra and ballet, theatre, and opera companies. In sport, it is host to the Milwaukee Brewers (baseball), who moved to the new Miller Stadium in 2001; the Milwaukee Admirals (ice hockey); and Milwaukee Bucks (basketball). The city is the seat of several educational institutions including Marquette University (1864), Concordia University of Wisconsin (1881), the Milwaukee School of Engineering (1903), Mount Mary College (1913), Alverno College (1936), Cardinal Stritch College (1937), the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1955), Medical College of Wisconsin (1970), Wisconsin Lutheran College (1973), and the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (1974).
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