Milwaukee Municipal Research Library

Milwaukee Municipal Research Library The MRL is the official depository for city documents and an information source for the public. Our on-site reference collection may be used on-site by the public.

Look to this page for Milwaukee city government news and information. Our librarians are happy to help with reference questions about city ordinances, policies, and procedures, or to direct you to the appropriate department to address specific issues.

Operating as usual

As some of you may know, Milwaukee changed street numbering and some street names in 1930, which can make it difficult t...
03/16/2021
Researching Your Property

As some of you may know, Milwaukee changed street numbering and some street names in 1930, which can make it difficult to research older properties. The Historic Preservation department has posted a PDF of the handy address cross-referencing directory on its web page. Scroll down to "Resources" to find it and other helpful materials!
https://city.milwaukee.gov/cityclerk/hpc/Research

Affordable land and leasing costs, abundant fresh water, an educated workforce, low business costs and easy access to financing, technical assistance and efficient transportation have helped local businesses succeed and grow.

On this date in 1894, the cornerstone for Milwaukee's City Hall was laid. The building took at least two years to comple...
02/24/2021
Construction workers posing at City Hall construction site

On this date in 1894, the cornerstone for Milwaukee's City Hall was laid. The building took at least two years to complete, although dedication festivities were held on December 23, 1895. The Milwaukee Public Library's online collections of historic photos and the popular "Remember when..." newspaper series have a few photos of its construction. This one of a work crew, presumably doing some finishing work in 1896, proves that Black Milwaukeeans played a part in building one of the city's architectural treasures. https://content.mpl.org/digital/collection/HstoricPho/id/3764/rec/1?fbclid=IwAR0leuHUJE7tt1DbFTyQ1gIVnI-76oNhIX-kgdTqAkf55RCD2CyTcotOkMQ

01/04/2021

Happy Birthday, Milwaukee! 175 years ago this month, Wisconsin’s Territorial Legislature officially approved the founding charter of the City of Milwaukee. (“Territorial”? Yes. Statehood was achieved two years later, in 1848.)

So, what’s the word for a 175th anniversary? We found out there isn’t a commonly accepted term for it the way there is for a 150th (sesquicentennial) and 200th (bicentennial). One suggestion is dodransbicentennial, a word some Latin enthusiasts constructed to mean “one quarter-century less than a bicentennial.”

No matter the term, we’ll call it a milestone birthday for the City of Milwaukee. As the city’s official document repository, the Municipal Research Library will continue to collect and preserve the city’s history as it happens, sharing it with all citizens for years to come.

Here's some answers to FAQ's about snow-related ordinances: Sidewalks must be cleared of snow and ice within 24 hours af...
12/30/2020
Snow and Ice Control Operations

Here's some answers to FAQ's about snow-related ordinances:
Sidewalks must be cleared of snow and ice within 24 hours after precipitation has stopped (Ord. 116-8). Dumping snow onto a public way (street or alley) or onto private property other than your own without permission is considered littering (defined in Ord. 79-1-7) and is prohibited under Ords. 79-11 and 79-12. Snow-removal equipment is exempt from nighttime noise restrictions (Ord. 80-67-4).

A snow emergency has been declared for Dec. 30, 2020, which particularly affects overnight parking. See details here: https://city.milwaukee.gov/mpw/operations/snowoperationstatus

Current Operation status and information for snow and ice control in the City of Milwaukee.

Early voting in the City of Milwaukee begins one week from today on Tuesday, October 20. There are multiple voting sites...
10/13/2020
In-Person Absentee (Early Voting) Schedule

Early voting in the City of Milwaukee begins one week from today on Tuesday, October 20. There are multiple voting sites to choose from. Please note that not all sites have the same hours, and despite previous announcements, the Fiserv Forum and Miller Park will NOT be used as voting locations for this election. Click the link below for places and times. For help with other questions, call the city Election Commission at 414-286-3491.
https://city.milwaukee.gov/election/ElectionInformation/In-Person-Absentee-Schedule

Check the schedule to see when and where you can cast your vote early for the November General Election. 

09/22/2020
city.milwaukee.gov

UPDATE: As was announced at today's Common Council meeting, the public hearing on the 2021 proposed budget will be at 6:30 on Tuesday, October 6 and will be held virtually. Details on how to access the meeting and register to speak are in Council President Johnson's press release:https://city.milwaukee.gov/ImageLibrary/Groups/ccCouncil/News/2020/District-02/09_22JointPublicHearingRelease.pdf

Tomorrow Mayor Barrett will present his proposed 2021 budget to the Common Council at its scheduled meeting. Individual ...
09/21/2020
Budget Management

Tomorrow Mayor Barrett will present his proposed 2021 budget to the Common Council at its scheduled meeting. Individual departments' hearings on their proposed budgets begin Friday, Oct. 2 and a meeting to hear from citizens is scheduled for Tuesday, October 6. The budget office posts helpful information on its web page, https://city.milwaukee.gov/doa/budget

City of Milwaukee Budget and Management Home Page. Information current and prior years' budgets.

Please remember to respond to the Census. In our city, everybody counts!
09/01/2020

Please remember to respond to the Census. In our city, everybody counts!

On Wednesday, August 26, Mayor Barrett, Budget Director Dennis Yaccarino, and Finance & Personnel Committee Chairman Ald...
08/24/2020
Mayor Barrett Invites Residents to Virtually Join Preliminary 2021 Budget Hearing and Presentation

On Wednesday, August 26, Mayor Barrett, Budget Director Dennis Yaccarino, and Finance & Personnel Committee Chairman Alderman Michael Murphy will host an online presentation and preliminary public hearing on the 2021 city budget. this is a virtual meeting and those who wish to register in advance can do so by following the link in the news release below. https://city.milwaukee.gov/Mayor/News/2020-News/Mayor-Barrett-Invites-Residents-to-Virtually-Join--Preliminary-2021-Budget-Hearing-and-Presentation

Mayor Tom Barrett invites Milwaukee residents to join him, Budget Director Dennis Yaccarino and Finance & Personnel Committee Chairman Alderman Michael Murphy on Wednesday, August 26 from 5-7 p.m. for a hearing and presentation on the City of Milwaukee’s 2021 Budget.

08/19/2020
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The Milwaukee Municipal Research Library (MRL) is pleased to introduce its latest digital collection: The Street Name Index. (https://content.mpl.org/digital/collection/MKEMRC)

Until now, this information existed as a unique collection of index cards housed at the MRL that reflects the days before databases. Originally compiled by unknown city employees, it was used to document locations of, and changes to, street names in the city of Milwaukee and neighboring communities in Milwaukee County. A citywide street renumbering and renaming project took effect in 1930, but many streets were renamed piecemeal in standalone legislation, and this card index was updated into the 1980s. A good resource for historians, genealogists, or anyone curious about a pre-1930 address in the City of Milwaukee, it reflects the growth of the city and its connection to its neighbors.

08/05/2020

Two great new features on the Budget Office's web page--A budget priorities survey and a simulator to craft your own version of the city budget.
https://city.milwaukee.gov/Budget

08/03/2020

The folks at Urban Anthropology have created a web site discussing the history and cultures of 191 Milwaukee neighborhoods. Check it out! http://neighborhoodsinmilwaukee.org/

The Milwaukee Municipal Research Library is pleased to announce that we will be re-opening to the public, starting Monda...
07/23/2020
Municipal Research Library

The Milwaukee Municipal Research Library is pleased to announce that we will be re-opening to the public, starting Monday, July 27th. We will be resuming our normal hours, Monday - Friday, 8:00 am to 4:45 pm. Per the city's recently passed MKE Cares ordinance, all in-person patrons will be required to wear a face mask. We can also be reached by phone, 414-286-2297, or email, [email protected]. You may also visit our website for more information, https://city.milwaukee.gov/cityclerk/LRB/LibraryServices.

Details on the library services offered by the city's Legislative Reference Bureau.

The city's ordinance mandating that face coverings be worn to slow the spread of COVID-19, along with comments and email...
07/14/2020
City of Milwaukee - File #: 200426

The city's ordinance mandating that face coverings be worn to slow the spread of COVID-19, along with comments and emails for and against, is available in Legistar, file number 200426: https://milwaukee.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=4587437&GUID=C088C89E-92E5-4789-82CB-A66C5920543A&Options=ID|Text|Attachments|&Search=200426

Title: A substitute ordinance relating to a requirement for face coverings in public spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic.

07/01/2020
Accela CRM

FYI:
Department of Public Works Schedules for the Independence Day Weekend
Garbage, Recycling, and Drop-Off Centers:
• There will be no garbage and recycling pick-up on July 3. Reminder - collection days shift forward after each City holiday. Review your collection schedule here.
• Drop-Off Centers will be closed July 3 and 4. Open July 5 from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Drop Off Centers are closed on Mondays.
Parking Enforcement:
• No parking meter enforcement on July 4.
• Enforcement of timed (non-metered), alternate-side parking, and night parking permits have not resumed.
Tow Lot:
• Open July 3 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Closed July 4 and 5. Open July 6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Milwaukee Water Works:
• Due to the pandemic shut down, our Customer Service Center continues to be closed to walk-in customer visits. Our office will be closed for the holiday Friday, July 3, so we will not be taking phone calls. Customers can pay their Municipal Services Bill and check account balance online at milwaukee.gov/water. For automated account information, please call (414) 286-2830.
• For water emergencies, customers may call our 24-hour Control Center at (414) 286-3710.
For other requests, schedules, and information, residents should call (414) 286-CITY (2489), visit the DPW website at milwaukee.gov/dpw, or enter service requests online at milwaukee.gov/click4action. Please be patient as response times will likely be longer than usual.

06/15/2020

REVISED notification about parking enforcement. Only metered parking spaces will be affected at this time:
Department of Public Works Reinstating Metered Enforcement Week of June 15

Timed (non-metered), alternate-side parking, night parking permits still not required

On Monday, June 15, 2020, metered parking enforcement resumes in the City of Milwaukee, which requires payment and adherence to applicable time limits.

As more and more businesses have been reopening, the need for turnover in parking locations has increased.

Enforcement of timed (non-metered) restrictions, including daytime parking permits, will NOT take effect at this time and will be phased in at a later date that is yet to be determined. The daytime permits that will not begin enforcement include commuter impacted residential area day parking permits, resident-only parking permits, and residential non-conforming use day parking permits.

Alternate-side parking and night parking permits will not be enforced until a later date that is yet to be determined.

On March 19, 2020, the City of Milwaukee suspended all timed, metered and night parking restrictions to accommodate residents who were home due to COVID-19 and businesses pausing operations.

Milwaukee Public Television recently aired "America's Socialist Experiment" about the history of socialist government in...
06/10/2020
New PBS Documentary Explores Why Milwaukee Was 'America's Socialist Experiment'

Milwaukee Public Television recently aired "America's Socialist Experiment" about the history of socialist government in the City of Milwaukee. The Municipal Research Library has many resources that may be used to research that topic, including those listed in our online catalog under the subject heading "SOCIALISM." You may link to our catalog here: http://l10027.eos-intl.net/L10027/OPAC/Index.aspx

Throughout United States history, Milwaukee and Wisconsin have been politically significant. And Milwaukee has an interesting political past you may not

Looking for the members of a Common Council committee? Here's a handy list.
06/09/2020

Looking for the members of a Common Council committee? Here's a handy list.

In case you missed it: The city Election Commission is operating a drive-up early voting site at the Zeidler Municipal B...
03/30/2020
City of Milwaukee Election Commission

In case you missed it: The city Election Commission is operating a drive-up early voting site at the Zeidler Municipal Building downtown through Sunday, April 5. See the commission's web page for times and other details: https://city.milwaukee.gov/election#.XoH9dKjYrnE

Please enter the line that begins on southbound Broadway between State St and Kilbourn Ave. Follow the traffic instructions of election staff and please have your photo ID ready. Staff will meet you at your vehicle to view your photo ID, issue, secure and witness your absentee ballot. 

If you haven't yet voted in the spring election, you can still do so. The Election Commission is still at work mailing a...
03/27/2020
City of Milwaukee Election Commission

If you haven't yet voted in the spring election, you can still do so. The Election Commission is still at work mailing and collecting absentee ballots. Yesterday it announced collection points where signatures can be witnessed. Check their web page for updates while Milwaukee stays separated to stay safe. https://city.milwaukee.gov/election#.Xn4LNqjYrnE

Beginning March 26, 2020, City of Milwaukee voters who have completed their absentee ballot with certificate envelope can drop it off at any of the locations below.  Election Commission staff are available to witness voter signatures.

03/23/2020
City of Milwaukee Election Commission

City of Milwaukee Election Commission

REVISED POST: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Effective immediately, the City of Milwaukee will no longer be operating in-person absentee or “early” voting at the city’s three locations: Zablocki Library, the Zeidler Municipal Building or the Midtown Center. Due to increased CoVid-19 exposure risk, the Election Commission can no longer maintain sufficient staffing levels to operate these sites in a manner that would ensure a safe or efficient public voting experience.
Given the city’s longstanding dedication to fair and equitable elections, the decision to end early voting in Milwaukee has been exceptionally difficult for all involved. However, given daily increases in CoVid-19 cases on the local level, a critical balance must be achieved between access to voting and the health of election workers and the public. Milwaukee residents may still request an absentee ballot online at myvote.wi.gov or by calling 414-286-VOTE. Online voter registration (previously suspended in Wisconsin) will resume on Tuesday, March 24.
Even during extraordinarily difficult times, the Election Commission encourages residents to exercise their constitutional right to vote in the upcoming election. By-mail absentee voting is accessible to the public and safe.

It is NOT too late to request that an absentee ballot be sent to you for the April 7 local elections and presidential pr...
03/18/2020
City of Milwaukee Election Commission

It is NOT too late to request that an absentee ballot be sent to you for the April 7 local elections and presidential primary. The deadline is April 2, but the Election Commission asks that you do so as soon as possible. Also, in-person early voting is happening now at three locations. https://city.milwaukee.gov/election#.XnIjSnJOkdU

The Election Commission strongly recommends that anyone planning to vote in the April 7 Spring Election and Presidential Preference Primary request to have an absentee ballot mailed to them.

03/16/2020

As of March 16, 2020, all in-person services at all divisions of the Municipal Research Center are suspended. Staff is present and can provide assistance via phone or online.
City Records: 414-286-3393
Historic Preservation: 414-286-5712 or 414-286-5722
Municipal Research Library: 414-286-2297 or message us here on Facebook.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we all try to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

02/19/2020

UPDATE: The 2020-2024 term will have a 15-person Council with five female members. This is a record number under the current configuration. Re-elected members Coggs, Dodd, and Lewis will be joined by JoCasta Zamarripa and Marina Dimitrijevic.

We’ve been asked if the Common Council has ever had more than three women serving on it at one time. Answer: Yes, there have been periods of 4- and 5-women Councils from the 1980s to the early 2000s, when the Council also had 1 or 2 more members than the current 15:
• The first time the Council had more than one woman member was 1976, when Sandra Hoeh, Betty Voss, and Cynthia Kukor were elected to the 16-member body. Kukor had been the lone female on the 1972-1976 Council. She resigned before the end of the 4-year term but was replaced by another woman, Joan Soucie, in a 1979 special election.
• 1980-1984 term (16-member Council)--The term began with a record 4 women members: Hoeh, Voss, and Soucie won reelection and were joined by Marlene Johnson. Mary Anne McNulty became the 5th woman on this Council after winning a special election in 1983 to replace Clifford Draeger.
• 1984-1988 term (16-member Council)—4 women elected: Hoeh, Johnson, McNulty, and Annette Scherbert.
• 1988-1992 term (16-member Council)— 4 women elected: Hoeh (now Hoeh-Lyon), Johnson, McNulty, and Scherbert. Hoeh-Lyon was replaced in 1989 by Larraine McNamara-McGraw.
• 1992-1996 term (17-member Council)—A record 5 women were elected to the expanded Council: McNamara-McGraw, Johnson, Scherbert, Suzanne Breier, and E. Fay Anderson.
• 1996-2000 term (17-member Council)—3 women members remained: Johnson (now Johnson-Odom), Scherbert, and Breier.
• 2000-2004 term (17-member Council)—4 women elected: Johnson-Odom, Scherbert, Breier, and Rosa Cameron-Rollins, who resigned in 2002 and was replaced in 2003 by Willie Wade. Scherbert also resigned early in the term and was replaced by Joseph Dudzik in 2002.

From 2004 to the present the Common Council has consisted of 15 members and has had 3 women serve on it who still do so today: Milele Coggs (since 2008), Chantia Lewis (since 2016), and Nikiya Dodd (since 2018, special election).

Address

841 N. Broadway Rm B-2
Milwaukee, WI
53202

Opening Hours

Monday 08:00 - 16:45
Tuesday 08:00 - 16:45
Wednesday 08:00 - 16:45
Thursday 08:00 - 16:45
Friday 08:00 - 16:45

Telephone

(414) 286-2297

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Look to this page for Milwaukee city government news and information. Our librarians are happy to help with questions about city ordinances and their origins, or to direct you to the appropriate department to address specific issues.

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Hi, I'm looking for info about the historic change from Wards to Aldermanic Districts referenced here: https://www.wuwm.com/post/race-representation-redistricting-why-milwaukee-s-wards-became-districts#stream/0 Is there a good source to map the changes to Wards and then later Districts over the years? Specifically wondering, which Ward was the seat of Vel Philips during her time on the Common Council? Was this Ward centered on the black population of Milwaukee, and how long did it take for another Ward or District to be represented by an African American? https://www.neh.gov/humanities/2015/julyaugust/statement/vel-phillips-knocked-down-racial-and-gender-barriers-in-wiscons