Hank Aaron State Trail: Immigrants and Silver City

© Photographed August 14, 2016
Erected by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources,
Menomonee Valley Partners, Inc.,
Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, and the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
43.024216, -87.960198 (marker location)
43.024756, -87.960433 (entrance from West Canal Street)
Google Map

Milwaukee is a city of immigrants. People have come here seeking jobs, following family connections, and hoping for a better life. The earliest settlers came from French Canada and New England. In 1850, most immigrants were from Germany and Ireland, followed later in the 1800s by people from Poland and Italy. They all worked together at factories in the Valley. 
In its heyday, the area southwest of the Valley was known as Silver City. Workers would spend their pay -- silver dollars -- at businesses along National Avenue. Farther east, near 27th Street, was National Park, a 52-acre park with lake fishing, horse racing, the city's first roller coaster, and bicycle racing. When the park closed in 1900 and local industry continued to grow, hundreds of new houses were built on the former park grounds. 
By 2000, Silver City had welcomed Hmong and Hispanic immigrants, as well as many African Americans. Both new and longtime residents enliven the neighborhood with restaurants, grocery stores, and other businesses serving a diverse cultural mix. 
"Old Silver City, a stretch along West National Avenue between the Milwaukee city limits and West Milwaukee, received its name from the chance remark of a stranger who, entering a saloon, saw a large pile of silver coins stacked in a poker game and said, 'Why this must be Silver City!' For years the name clung to the street."
History of Milwaukee County,Milwaukee Writers' Project, 1947. 
Volunteer for the Milwaukee Area Refugee Consortium.
Attend a local festival celebrating immigrant heritage.
This marker is along the Hank Aaron State Trail, at a location known as "Valley Passage", and is accessible from eastbound West Canal Street, east of its intersection with Selig Drive and its convergence with Frederick Miller Way, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53215.

NOTE: There is no parking on West Canal Street to access Valley Passage. You'll need to find parking nearby, and hike or bike to the location.

The marker is on the left.

The marker is on the left, to the right of the tunnel entrance.

How to access the marker . . .

Nearby murals . . .

The marker is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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