Term: Cream City
Definition: A name given to Milwaukee not from local dairy production but rather from the cream-colored brick produced primarily in the Milwaukee vicinity. The Lacustrine deposits located almost exclusively in narrow strips along Lake Michigan are unusually deep, reaching over one hundred feet in depth at certain points. The buff or cream tone of brick made from this clay is a result of its relatively high proportion of calcium and magnesium. Milwaukee's first cream brick structure was erected in 1836; by 1853, six million bricks were being produced in Milwaukee kilns annually and one-third of these were shipped out of state. By the late nineteenth century, competition from Chicago firms and a shift in taste in favor of dark masonry led to the demise of the industry.
[Source: Cultural Resource Management in Wisconsin (Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1986).