Join us for a walking tour this fall! Visit our gift shop at 235 E Michigan St for a curated Milwaukee shopping experience. Open 10-3 Tuesday-Sunday.

Wicked Milwaukee


The Cream City of yesteryear was a dingy haven for scofflaws and villains. Red-light districts peppered downtown’s landscape, but none had the enduring allure of River Street, where Kitty Williams and Mary Kingsley operated high-class brothels. Chinese opium dens flourished in the backrooms of laundries. The demise of the Whiskey Ring brought down local distillers in a nationwide scandal that nearly reached the Oval Office. As a result, Police Chief John Janssen and the Committee to Investigate White Slavery and Kindred Vice waged a protracted battle to contain the most brazen offenses. Local historian and founder of OldMilwaukee.net Yance Marti uncovers the rough and rowdy blackguards who once made Milwaukee infamous.