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soft-coal fields of Iowa, and from the anthracite mines in more distant Pennsylvania. These railways and the steam-ship lines, this export of wheat and lumber and farm produce, and import of rural supplies, have produced a city of solidity and magnificence, which you may go far and not find equalled. Its broad, Nicholson-paved business streets are bounded for block after block with warehouses and offices that would do credit to New York; and there is probably no finer building in the Northwest, devoted to a similar purpose, than the new hall of the Chamber of Commerce. Limestone from home quarries and gray Ohio sandstone are much used in construction, and ornamental iron fronts are common, but the customary building material is a brick which burns yellowish-white instead of red, the clay lacking the iron which by oxidation under heat gives the ferruginous tint. There are only one or two buildings in the lower part of the city constructed of red bricks, but their handsome effect is being copied somewhat by painting. Taking each building separately, one can not altogether admire the taste which seems to have dictated them (and the same may be said of the more ostentatious residences in many cases), yet the general effect is undeniably fine. As for public buildings, they are not many nor prominent. The County Courthouse is a handsome, dome-crowned structure of Lake Superior brown stone ensconced in trees and shrubbery; the Postoffice is a commodious building, which looks as if it was carved out of cheese, and makes you blink for its whiteness; churches are hidden away among foliage and houses until you can't see any one of them very distinctly, except the two vast towers of the Cathedral on the south side; and the beautiful tower of the water-works remains about the only really ornamental public edifice in a city where
nothing is disgraceful except its market, and that is being rebuilt.
Milwaukee is certainly handsome, business-like, and healthy. It has about it an air of cleanliness, morally and physically, and an appearance of thrifty activity remarkable in contrast with the slatternly look of many large Eastern and Southern towns. All these things serve to make it a “Cream City,” not in general tint alone, but crème de la crème among its prosperous sister towns in the Northwest. Yet it is difficult to pick out any one feature, and say of it, that is characteristic and peculiar, something whereby a person might know the city if he saw it in a vision, or was mysteriously landed in its midst, apart from all other towns. Boston has its round “swell fronts” and antique streets, Philadelphia its marble steps and solid shutters, and so on; but Milwaukee has little that is peculiar, unless it be the universality of yellowish-white bricks, which is shared by nearly all the towns between Lake Huron and the Upper Mississippi.
Nor is it strange that it should be difficult to find special peculiarities in so composite and so young a town. I have tried again and again in Chicago, Detroit, St. Paul, Burlington, and other Western cities to find a type of face or a style of carriage different from New York or New England, but found it impossible to do so. In a hundred years the case may be different. Now, these men and women are New York and New England transplanted; two-thirds of them were born in the East. They have brought with them the mingled customs of all the Atlantic centres of civilization, and have fitted them together to suit the new exigencies of the Northwest. Even the rural population are not as gawky and rustic as you will find in any back county of the East. They have travelled somewhat, and seen strangers. Their eyes are opened, and their attention alert. As for the long-haired plainsmen, and 'coon-skin-capped hunters, and other mythical characters of the “West,” of course you see no more of them, nor as many, as you may find on a bright day in the Bowery. The only bit of “character” I can think of to be found anywhere in the city or surroundings are the few lazy old wood-sawyers who sit astride of their
saw - bucks on the comfortable side of the City Hall, and take long maps or spin yarns while waiting for a job. But even these old fossils are not different from the working classes all over the country; and the same is true of every grade of society. You continually see countenances familiar to you, feel an impulse to rush forward and claim an old acquaintance on every other corner. One house or shop front shows a tradition of Pennsylvania, another suggests some Broadway idea, a third adopts a peculiar bit of Bostonianism, while a fourth imitates a prominent sign-board in New Orleans. How is a chronicler to recognize anything as yet grown out of this composite, cosmopolitan growth, occurring similarly in a dozen cities, to characterize any one 2 Possibly in another century the evolution of circumstances will bring out some specialty in each whereby their divergence can be perceived. Perhaps, nevertheless, in the case of Milwaukee, a distinguishing feature may be found in the large grounds that surround nearly all of the private residences in the finer parts of the city. For a town of so large a population this matter of space is accomplished in a way quite surprising to an Eastern man. Several of the residences, even in the heart of the town, occupy a whole block, or half a block, and horticulture finds many enthusiastic votaries. As a consequence, double houses and solid blocks of houses flush with the sidewalk are very few. This is partly because general sentiment is averse to it, but chiefly because a man who can afford to rent in such a block will prefer to find means to build for himself. Milwaukee is a city of homes; its people own the houses and lots where they live, to an extraordinary extent; and this is
true from highest to lowest—as well down below Wisconsin Street, and “over the Rhine,” as up on the bluffs that overlook the azure lake. The architecture of the whole city, also, business and residence portions alike, is pleasantly varied. This gives the streets down town an animated look, and up town lends that village air to the well-shaded avenues which always seems doubly delightful when combined with such evidently urban advantages as good pavements and faucet water, gas and municipal protection. Just what styles of architecture prevail it would be difficult to say. The big Grecian house, with pillars in front from porch to cornice, the square-topped, fortlike brick, the pretentiously cheap Mansard-roof, are all absent, as is also the gambrel-roofed moss-grown home so quaintly attractive in the suburbs of most New
England towns, and which, of course, no one would expect to see here. A half-Dutch, half-English cottage style of house, with no end of peaks, gables, and surprising little points and angles, is the universal thing, and nine out of ten of these houses that succeed one another for miles and miles of prettiness are painted slate-color. But though the houses are not plain, the town owes its beauty not so much to ornamental architecture, which has generally too much of the “gingerbread” look about it to please a severe taste, as to the abundance of shade trees everywhere, and to the care which is taken of the grounds. In many of the streets, also, a wide space of sharply curbed and well-trimmed lawn separates the roadway from the sidewalk, and often you may go block after block without finding a fence between you and the slightly elevated or
A PACIFIC CONTEST AT
terraced door-yards, whose shaven greensward runs continuously past a dozen houses with no boundary wall to interrupt. Particularly is this true of Grand Avenue—a worthy rival of far-famed Euclid Avenue in Cleveland. This gives one the idea that he is making his way through a park rather than along a public street. Another pleasant custom is that of placing an ornamental gateway and rounding steps at the corner, where a house stands at the intersection of two streets, giving a far more imposing effect than one would imagine. Until very lately a prejudice has existed—quite unfounded, I think—against living on the bluffs that overlook the northern half of the bay; the city consequently grew southward into the marshes, and westward up the slopes between the Me
THE SOLDIERs' HoME.
nomonee and Milwaukee rivers, leaving its northern side open. Five years ago, Prospect Street was a grass-grown, muddy lane. Now it is one of the very finest avenues in town, and the backs of all the house lots on its eastern side run to the brow of the lofty bluff, at whose feet the restless lake is always beating. Down toward the foot of this handsome street another branched off at an acute angle, and the property owners about there bought and set apart the triangle inclosed as a little park, which is now very pretty. They constructed a fountain like a pile of rocks there, on condition that the city should always keep it running, wherein they made a good bargain. The peculiarity and excellence of this fountain is that there is plenty of water in it—rushing streams having force and weight dash out with a noise and wetness thoroughly refreshing, whereas in the majority of fountains a few tender trickling drops only keep the iron-work glossy, and distress one with an idea that the affair is just on the point of drying up. This is much the case with that handsome structure, intended as a fountain, that ornaments the park of the Court-house. The pavement runs out Prospect Street for more than a mile, and continues into a favorite drive for five miles, with a side track kept in order for equestrians; and it was out this road that the Veteran Soldiers camped at their late reunion, and the beer gardens there did then—and yet do—a very thriving business. Five miles from the Post-office brings one to Whitefish Bay, and a magnificent view of Lake Michigan beating upon her cliffs just as the salt ocean worries the headlands of Montauk or Navesink. This is out of town, though, and one need not go so far to watch the beauty or fury of the capricious lake. At the foot of Prospect Street the bluff has been terraced and sodded for a long distance, and so converted into a sort of boulevard or esplanade, where you may loiter and enjoy the fresh air. From this charming spot the bay is spread before you in a vast semicircle, sweeping from Minnewawa, the north point, to Nojoshing, its southern terminus, five miles distant, and leading the eye in front to a boundless horizon. No ocean picture can be broader or more majestic; it may give the beholder a more impressive feeling of terrible power, but never will it show the varying and delicate touches of beauty that the sparkling light waters and the brilliant sunshine combine to paint upon the surface of Lake Michigan. The swift and shifting changes the clouds work in the dissolving tints of blue and green; the sudden way in which silver and gold and the scarlet or rosy reflections of gaudy clouds are thrown down—all this is beyond
pen or space to describe, higher than pencil or brush can truly depict. The lake, indeed, is the great fact which confronts you everywhere in Milwaukee. Its azure mass rises as a wall to confront the view whenever you turn your face to the eastward, filling with deep blue the arch under the trees at the end of every cross street. Having this lake always before their eyes, and ever supplying pure and fresh breezes, and having streets so broad and well shaded, with such an abundance of pleasant gardens just across the low fence, wherein your eyes may feast to your heart's content, Milwaukee hardly needs a park. Nevertheless, just out of the city, to the westward, are the handsome grounds of the Soldiers' Home. This institution is one of the four or five provided by the United States government as asylums for men in distress who have served creditably as volunteer soldiers in the Union army. They could not desire a more comfortable or pleasanter home. It is interesting to saunter through the commodious and orderly building; to see how every office of the household, from
A LAGER-BEER BREWERY.