Historian John Gurda honored the United Nation’s World Water Day on March 22 by hosting a tour through Milwaukee, celebrating the city’s history and foundation around water. The 22 mile route covered more than two hundred years of history, following the waterways that the communities and industries of Milwaukee grew around. From the shore of Lake Michigan, to the Milwaukee River, Menomonee River, and Kinnickinnic River, water was a necessity for every aspect of Milwaukee life.
“Milwaukee Water Bus Tour with John Gurda” was one of the Water Week events presented by the City of Milwaukee and its partners, to recognize all the public, private, and non-profit efforts underway to make Milwaukee a Water Centric City. John Gurda has been “doing” history for 44 years. He joked that if he were to write a memoir today, it would be called “44 years of 1099s” because he has been freelancing for a really long time. He is currently working on a book for the Wisconsin Historical Society called “Milwaukee: A City Built on Water.” In backwards fashion, it is based on a documentary that PBS aired two years ago.
This feature includes a map with photos from the event, and images taken separately of the tour areas, along with quotes of interest from Gurda from this first of its kind tour.