What the Heck is Cream City?
As the resident transplant of Cream City Confidant, it has come to my attention that not everyone understands what our blog name even means. It’s understandable as I can attest that non-locals, maybe non-Midwesterners more specifically, have never heard the term Cream City.
If you have ever visited the beautiful city of Milwaukee, you may have noticed a different type of architecture than you’ve seen before. Yes, there is the Santiago Calatrava design of Milwaukee Art Museum that turn heads, as well as cathedrals galore, but what I am really talking about is the style of the residential neighborhoods. There is much variety in our neighborhoods based on when they were built, whether it is an area settled by factory or plant workers, etc. but there is generally one common theme: light brick or stone. Particularly, this light cream colored brick we often see used on Milwaukee homes and buildings is called Cream City brick. Because of the use of this brick, people have been lovingly calling Milwaukee, Cream City for years.
Cream City brick was used heavily in the 19th century to build anything from industrial buildings to homes. The clay used to make Cream City brick is very prevalent in the Milwaukee area, specifically the Menomonee River Valley and the western banks of Lake Michigan. The uniqueness and prevalence of use in the area likely led to this fun nickname, but there is evidence of it being used as far back as 1878 when a National League baseball team played under the Cream City moniker.
I personally love the look of Cream City brick and how it makes the city look historically beautiful. I can distinctly remember the drive back to the airport when I decided I was going to move to Milwaukee, watching the many steeples and humble but beautiful buildings roll by over the walls of I-43 and feeling peace with my decision.
Thanks for joining for a quick history lesson today! I know you natives may be a little bored, but glad to share a little Milwaukee history for our readers from other places!