The Bridge War

by Gay Spencer 31. January 2012 09:12
Wisconsin Ave. Bridge

You probably didn't know that Milwaukee is at the confluence of three rivers: the Milwaukee, Menominee and Kinnickinnic. They meet in Milwaukee and flow into Lake Michigan. This means Milwaukee is a city of bridges, and that the land near the lake was divided by those rivers at its founding.

Three men were key settlers of different sections of land in the area. Solomon Juneau established Juneautown on the east side of the Milwaukee River, Byron Kilbourn established Kilbourntown on the west, and George walker established Walker's Point to the South.

In 1845 the rivalry between these early settlements turned violent and bridges were dismantled to cut off traffic and commerce. This is known as the "Bridge War." On January 31, 1846 (166 years ago today!), a charter was signed to unify the three factions as the City of Milwaukee and name Solomon Juneau as the first mayor.

There's a historical marker at 43° 2.342′ N, 87° 54.633′ W (the location of the picture).

The picture shows that just now, the Wisconsin Avenue bridge over the Milwaukee River is under repair. There's a lovely river walk and boats on the river (in warmer weather). And, there's a skywalk over the river from which the picture was taken.

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