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An Instagram Tour of Milwaukee An Instagram Tour of Milwaukee

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The Next Economy | America 360

An Instagram Tour of Milwaukee

We cannot confirm or deny that when National Journal's Sophie Quinton visited Milwaukee recently, she was seen hopscotching down a sidewalk chanting "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8...Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!" But she did take a lot of photos to document the people and places that impact the city's economic life. 

See more photos and track future city visits by following us on Instagram.

Milwaukee gets its nickname-- the "cream city"-- from the distinctive color of bricks made from local clay. Here's the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, showing off its creamy color.(Sophie Quinton)

Milwaukee aspires to become a global hub of water technology. A space that will host water technology companies, entrepreneurs and university researchers is in the process of construction in an old warehouse downtown, to be opened next month. Why Milwaukee? Water Council President and CEO Dean Amhaus will highlight the wide range of water-related companies in the area.(Sophie Quinton)

In his ten years at the University of Pittsburgh, Michael Lovell saw firsthand how a research institution could help facilitate an industrial city's transformation. As Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he's fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and pursuing industry partnerships that grow the university's research capabilities. Almost 90 percent of UWM students hail from Wisconsin, and most stay here when they graduate. "As UWM goes, Milwaukee will go. We're intrinsically tied together," Lovell says.(Sophie Quinton)

 

Bob Rudek and Ted Krukowski used to represent Rockwell Automation workers back when the company had a unionized shop in the former Allen-Bradley building. During the course of their careers, the former presidents of UE local 1111 witnessed the dramatic decline in local manufacturing jobs. "The best we could do was try to protect the workforce," Rudek says. They couldn't change the trajectory of the industry, but they could make sure longtime workers secured a decent retirement.(Sophie Quinton)

At Rockwell Automation's facility in Mequon, in the Milwaukee suburbs, there are 1,100 employees. Only 300 work on the factory floor.(Sophie Quinton)

Latte art at Stone Creek Coffee. Like so many buildings here, the Stone Creek Factory occupies a structure that has had several past lives since it was built in 1898.(Sophie Quinton)

 

Eric Resch left his job at Starbucks in the early '90s, moved home to Wisconsin (he's a Green Bay native) bought a coffee roaster, and along with his wife founded Stone Creek Coffee. From the beginning, the business has been guided by a sense of social obligation: manifested in ethically sourced coffee, well-compensated workers, and coffee shops that welcome community events. Stone Creek currently employs 100 workers and 56 full-time equivalents at its nine Milwaukee-area locations.(Sophie Quinton)

Watch out, San Antonio: Milwaukee also has a downtown river walk.(Sophie Quinton)

Sheila Cochran grew up in a union family, at a time when locals could have their pick of manufacturing jobs. Today, the Chief Operating Officer of the Milwaukee County Labor Council, AFL-CIO is grappling with both declining union membership and an anti-union state legislature. "We would mirror, I think, most of the economy nationally," she says of the labor movement here, with the added pressure of a Governor who has pursued policies that seem "punitive" toward Milwaukee and Milwaukee county. The biggest problem? Wisconsin ranks 44th state in the nation in private sector job creation.(Sophie Quinton)

 

The Bronze Fonz! 'Happy Days' and its spinoff, 'Laverne and Shirley,' were both set in Milwaukee.(Sophie Quinton)

The future of housing in America. Kidding! It's a replica of Solomon Juneau's cabin. Juneau, a fur trader, was the first white settler in Milwaukee. The biggest attraction to this piece of real estate: a sweeping view of Lake Michigan.(Sophie Quinton)

Avalon Rail renovates and performs maintenance on rail cars, from museum pieces to Amtrak commuter trains. The facility lies on the site of a now-defunct machinery manufacturer, Allis Chalmers, that once employed thousands of locals.(Sophie Quinton)

 

Walnut Way founder Sharon Adams grew up in the Lindsay Heights neighborhood when it was a safe and welcoming place to live. By the 1990s, disinvestment and evaporating job opportunities had turned the neighborhood into a place rife with crime and dotted with foreclosed homes. Adams moved back here some fifteen years ago, with the goal of rebuilding community and sowing the seeds of economic opportunity.(Sophie Quinton)

Urban fruit and vegetable gardens on abandoned plots are one Walnut Way initiative. The work has led the organization to pilot a landscaping venture, which may eventually become self-sustaining, and to sell produce at local farmers markets. In a neighborhood where commercial properties are usually surrounded by high fences and barbed wire, the only barrier between Walnut Way's gardens and the street are fruit bushes.(Sophie Quinton)

Milwaukee has been a beer brewing hub since the 1800s, when German immigrants brought their fermentation expertise to the area. But of the the big four brewers that used to dominate the town, only one-- MillerCoors-- still has a manufacturing presence here. The Schlitz Brewery complex has been converted into mixed-use buildings, the Pabst facility is in the process of redevelopment, and the Blatz Brewery building has been converted into condos.(Sophie Quinton)

 

If you're a Milwaukee Brewers fan, this giant beer mug may look familiar. The baseball team mascot, Bernie Brewer, used to slide down from a 'chalet' built for him inside the stadium into this mug when the team scored a home run (really). Now the mug (and chalet, which looks a little like a Bavarian treehouse) resides inside Lakefront Brewery, in Milwaukee's Riverwest district. That's Lakefront founder and owner Russ Klisch, not Bernie, beside the mug.(Sophie Quinton)

When Rebecca Scarberry first tried making a living selling her homemade caramels, she sold her minivan to pay for commercial kitchen space. Today, Becky's Blissful Bakery employs a small staff and the majority of its business comes from wholesale accounts with stores like Whole Foods, Outpost Natural Foods and Williams Sonoma.(Sophie Quinton)

Will Allen has become a Milwaukee legend-- and not because he's a former pro basketball player. As the founder and CEO of Growing Power, Allen manages an urban farming nonprofit with an ambitious goal: to create a sustainable food system that will make healthy, nutritious food available to everyone. "Becoming a really good farmer is the hardest thing you can do," he says. At 64, he still puts in sixteen hour days-- a commitment that, he says, requires tremendous passion.(Sophie Quinton)

 

Inside one of Growing Power's greenhouses at their flagship urban farm. Allen believes that growing the most possible food in small spaces-- particularly indoor spaces-- will be the future of agriculture, as the human populations grows and climate change disrupts outdoor growing environments.(Sophie Quinton)

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