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Heritage Sites

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Apr. 9, 2010
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The Basilicaof St. Josaphat

2333 S. Sixth St.

(414) 645-5623


Some of Milwaukee’s most fascinating art does not hang on museum and gallery walls, but rather exists in the opulent interior murals and ornate stained glass that adorn the Basilica of St. Josaphat. Beneath its awe-inspiring dome—among the largest in the world—visitors to the minor basilica can find relics not often found in places of worship: ornamental brass hardware bearing the U.S. Treasury seal and American eagles carved into the capitals atop the portico’s columns—reminders of Father Wilhelm Grutza’s prudent decision to buy salvaged materials from the demolition of the Chicago Post Office and Customs House at the turn of the 20th century and use them in the construction of the new church. Tours of the Basilica are conducted weekly after Sunday’s 10 a.m. Mass. Contact the Visitor’s Center at 645-5623 to arrange group or specialized tours. (Sarah Biondich)

Milwaukee Jewish Museum

1360 N. Prospect Ave.

(414) 390-5730


The first Jews to arrive in Milwaukee came in the 1840s from German-speaking Central Europe. They found a village at the edge of a wilderness, far from the centers of the Jewish culture. Within a generation a full community grew from the seeds of Milwaukee’s first Jewish settlers. Soon the city elected a Jew to Congress, Victor Berger, a socialist remembered for his principled stand against America’s entry into World War I, and would nurture an Israeli prime minister, Golda Meir. All of this is covered within the compact walls of the Milwaukee Jewish Museum, yet the institution has a larger purpose: teaching people of all backgrounds about the value of community and tolerance. (David Luhrssen)

Turner Hall

1034 N. Fourth St.

(414) 272-1733


Turner Hall is steeped in Milwaukee’s history. Built in the 19th century, it has survived economic hardship and fire. In fact, the charred ceiling and peeling paint only add to the charm. Hosting a variety of bands and shows, Turner Hall Ballroom is one venue that every Milwaukeean has to check out. With music upstairs and Historic Turner Restaurant downstairs, there is no excuse not to make a trip to Fourth Street. (Emilee Weier)

United Community Center

1028 S. Ninth St.

(414) 384-3100


Forty years ago, when Latinos were a relatively small minority in Milwaukee’s ethnic mix, the United Community Center (UCC) was founded to provide services to the city’s Spanish-speaking residents. In the decades that followed, the UCC has grown along with the community it serves, providing a grade school, elder programs, community learning and outreach to the city as a whole through the Latino Arts series and Café el Sol, an excellent spot for Mexican and Puerto Rican food. (D.L.)

Ward Irish Music Archives

1532 Wauwatosa Ave.

(414) 476-8999


The Ward Irish Music Archives have made Milwaukee home to the largest public collection of Irish music in the United States. With an impressive 40,000 recordings and music artifacts ranging from 78 R.P.M. phonograph records, LP albums and concert memorabilia to musical instruments, sheet music and songbooks, the archives are a dynamic and growing collection that actively preserves Irish musical heritage in America. A visit to its current digs in an old Masonic lodge is an opportunity to hear rare and valuable traditional music, like Patrick Touhey, one of the world’s best uilleann pipers. (S.B.)

Photo: The Basilica of St. Josaphat | by C.M. DeSpears


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