Swiss in Greater Milwaukee


A few men and women, mostly from German-speaking cantons, pioneered this remarkable Swiss community in the mid-1830s. Thousands who followed in their footsteps participated actively in the development of a vibrant new city, branding it with a unique style of efficiency and progressivism. The immigrants and their progeny prospered and distinguished themselves in various fields of science, commerce, art, and industry. They helped launch Charlie Chaplin s career, produced coumarin used in flavorings and perfumes, wrote a popular guide for 19th-century immigrants, and helped shape the nation s banking industry. Among their finest were Milwaukee s first archbishop, a world-renowned surgeon, an elected governor, an influential radical free-thinker, a kindergarten pioneer, a wine grower, a successful whiskey distiller, and a prolific architect.

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