By Jenny Rebholz   Published Aug 08, 2005 at 5:20 AM

{image1}What do you know about Milwaukee? You may live, work or play Downtown, but do you know anything about the history of the city and its architecture? On vacations many people take walking tours or go sightseeing to learn all they can about another city, yet we take for granted what is right in front of us on a daily basis.

Did you know that the Allen Bradley clock is the biggest four-sided clock in the world? That's right, it is bigger than London's Big Ben.

Do you know who Goldie Mabowehz was? You may know her as Golda Meir, former Prime Minister of Israel. She grew up in Milwaukee, went to North Division High School and the Milwaukee State Normal School (the forerunner to UWM).

Did you know Milwaukee had a bridge war?

If you want to learn more about this war and more about Milwaukee, then Historic Milwaukee Incorporated is the resource to call.

Starting in the 1960s small groups of Milwaukeeans became concerned with the preservation of historic buildings. While it wasn't easy to save them, they were determined. The group started purchasing property and restoring it and even sponsored demonstrations to teach the public various restoration techniques. Later the group decided to start coordinating walking tours of specific neighborhoods in the city.

Today, Historic Milwaukee continues to concentrate on the education of the public and provides numerous walking and home tours to help teach Milwaukeeans about the city in which they live, work and play.

This non-profit organization offers interesting tours all year long that are worth checking out. Whether you are entertaining guests or looking for something new to do on a weekend, find a tour that sparks your interest.

Cemetery tours, "The Naughty Ladies of Beer Town," the Riverwalk, Historic Yankee Hill or the North Point Mansion tours are just a few. Stroll the streets of Downtown June 1 through Oct. 15 and see varying styles of architecture during the "Downtown Through the Eras" tour. In the winter see the city from a skywalk view as part of the "Skywaukee" tour.

Trained guides take you back in history and share all there is to know about Milwaukee. The group even offers students tours, group tours and slide shows.

Historic Milwaukee, Inc. has about 750 members who take advantage of the rich history our city has to offer. As a member you receive discounts on tours, invitations to special events and the quarterly newsletter "echo." With a renewal rate of 85 percent, members are finding the experience worthwhile.

Some of the members choose to become active in the organization by leading tours, and Historic Milwaukee offers the necessary training. There are 100 volunteers capable of leading the numerous tours, 80 of which are current active guides.

Whether you are interested in architecture or history or just curious about Milwaukee, this group will satisfy your curiosity.

"Education is our goal," comments Historic Milwaukee Executive Director Sandy Ackerman. "We have guides who love the city and want to share what they know. We take people into neighborhoods they haven't been to before and they are always surprised at what they find."

While the typical member is more of an empty-nester profile, Historic Milwaukee wants to reach out to a younger audience. "We want to help people of all ages appreciate what our city has to offer. We want them to see what makes Milwaukee unique and why some of us fight so hard to save it," describes Ackerman.

  • What does Milwaukee have in common with Central Park?

  • What architectural style is unique to Milwaukee?

  • Who is Gertie the Duck?

  • What city had two American and three National League baseball teams?

Milwaukee has interesting tales to tell and Historic Milwaukee will help you see your home in a new light. Take a tour and discover something new about Milwaukee.

Historic Milwaukee Incorporated's Web site is