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Celebrate Earth Day
Milwaukee: A City Built on Water


Water… For Drinking, For Manufacturing, For Leisure, For Life


Photo 1 Water 2015.jpgMilwaukee: A City Built on Water tells the full story of our relationship with water in a fast-paced, richly illustrated one-hour documentary. Written and hosted by historian John Gurda, the program was produced by the same team that created the Emmy Award-winning series  The Making of Milwaukee.

Water runs through Milwaukee’s history like a river. It was water, first of all, that put the city on the map. A good harbor guaranteed prosperity  in the Age of Sail, and Milwaukee had the best on the western shore of Lake Michigan. Once settlers arrived, water shaped how they earned  a living. Rivers were harnessed to grind flour and saw lumber, and millions of gallons were used to tan leather, cool machinery, and brew the  beverage that made Milwaukee famous.Photo 2 Water 2015.jpg

But water was just as important for play as for work. The upper Milwaukee River blossomed as a sort of in-town Up North in the late 1800s, lined with canoe clubs, beer gardens, swimming schools, and amusement parks from North Avenue to Capitol Drive. In 1929 Lincoln Memorial Drive debuted as one of the most spectacular stretches of urban shoreline on the Great Lakes. Milwaukee used its water resources, and in time that use crossed the line to abuse.

Learn how water influenced the city of Milwaukee then and now. This intriguing documentary looks back at the beginning of Milwaukee’s relationship with water, how it was used for work and play, and what we need to do to protect this precious resource going forward.

Watch the Broadcast

April 22 at 8 pm on Channel 10 or on April 23 at 9 pm on Channel 36 for a lively look at our liquid past.