In the seventh episode of our series “88Nine Presents: Milwaukee with John Gurda,” we explore the Historic South Side, following the chapter from Gurda’s new book, Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods.
It has always been a neighborhood of newcomers.
- John Gurda
The Historic South Side of Milwaukee is the city’s largest neighborhood and one of the earliest.
Spanning four square miles, the South Side boasts some of the most majestic places of worship in the city and a unique housing stock.
Originally settled by Polish immigrants in the late 1800s, the neighborhood offered easy access to jobs and the promise of a better life, as Poles settled in Milwaukee to escape religious and political persecution.
But as the city itself expanded, demographics on the south side began to change, too. Today it is the center of Milwaukee’s Hispanic population, especially young families with children.
Our coverage continues with audio stories below. Click the first player to hear Gurda explain the neighborhood’s Polish settlement.
Then, click the payer below to hear how the neighborhood transitioned to its current ethnic makeup.