Flemish Renaissance building with distinctive bell tower known by viewers of Laverne & Shirley
Milwaukee was founded by three pioneers, who were also bitter rivals, that developed their own communities that competed with one another. Rivers made natural boundaries in those heady days, so Byron Kilbourn built Kilbourntown on the west side of the Milwaukee River and north of the Menomonee. Solomon Juneau built Juneautown east of the Milwaukee River and north of the Menomonee. The community of Walker's Point was south of the Menomonee River, it was the original location of George Walker's fur trading post.
The rivalry between Juneau and Kilbourn was so intense that they made a point of making sure their street grids did not line up, perhaps trying to discourage the inevitable linking of the two communities by bridge. Today's downtown bridges all cross the river slightly askew to line up with Juneau's and Kilbourn's legacy of mis-aligned streets.
Eventually, Kilbourn, Juneau and Walker agreed that they were not encouraging settlement and reached an agreement. In 1846, the three communities merged and incorporated as the City of Milwaukee, 2 years prior to Wisconsin Statehood.
Solomon Juneau served as the first mayor before retiring to his "summer home" in Theresa, Wisconsin.
City Hall is east of the river, in old Juneautown.