Milwaukee was once a German city-at least north of Wisconsin Avenue. Traces of the past are apparent even today in the older architecture and the long-noted preference of our citizens for beer and bratwurst.
Many books have already been written on Milwaukee's German heritage. The latest, German Milwaukee (from Arcadia Publishing) adds no new insights but is an accessible, profusely illustrated walk through the city's Teutonic past.
As part of Arcadia's Images of America series, whose catalog already includes several books on our area, German Milwaukee follows the format of a short intro at the start of each chapter followed by pages of carefully captioned photographs. German Milwaukee is unusual for its academic origins. UWM professor of German language, literature and culture, Jennifer Watson Schumacher, edited the book from the research of her students who wrote the text and hunted for photographs of landmarks, families and famous figures.
What's remarkable in paging through the old pictures is how much Milwaukee has retained. City Hall and Turner Hall, the Pabst Mansion and the Pabst Theater survived the worst efforts of the city's dimmest leaders in the '60s to tear down everything beautiful. The craft and pride of the old German builders continues to anchor our cityscape.
Jennifer Watson Schumacher will sign copies of German Milwaukee at Boswell Books, 7 p.m., Aug. 13.