Monuments to Milwaukee’s manufacturing history

In the Menomonee Valley today, no vestiges of its storied railroad manufacturing history remain.  

Long gone are the smokestacks that once towered over the area, powerful elements of the Milwaukee Road, once one of Milwaukee’s largest employers. The company was active from 1878 to 1985 and at one point employed nearly 3,000 workers.  

The Friends of Hank Aaron State Trail installed a permanent piece of artwork called “People of the Road” to serve as a monument to that important part of the valley’s history. Five 9-foot-tall steel pieces stand in the footprint of those original chimneys. Designed by Milwaukee artist Richard Taylor, they model the silhouettes of the workers that were gleaned from archived photos.  

Eighty-five donors, including the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fund, contributed to the $250,000 project.  

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