A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 17, 2016
Cream City (Milwaukee nickname)

Milwaukee (WI) has been nicknamed the “Cream City” because of the cream-colored bricks that were used in many of the buildings in the 1800s. The name “Cream City” was used on flour in 1860 and a vessel in 1862. The name “Cream City of the Lakes” was cited in February 1863. A Cream City Brick company of Milwaukee operated in the 1890s.

“Cream City” is often associated with Milwaukee’s beer, but that is not the origin of the nickname.


Wikipedia: Milwaukee
Milwaukee (/mɪlˈwɔːkiː/) is the largest city in the State of Wisconsin and the fifth-largest city in the Midwestern United States. It is the county seat of Milwaukee County and is located on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan. According to 2010 census data, the City of Milwaukee has a population of 594,833. Milwaukee is the main cultural and economic center of the Milwaukee–Racine–Waukesha Metropolitan Area with a population of 2,043,904 as of an official 2014 estimate.

Wikipedia: Cream City brick
Cream City brick is a cream or light yellow-colored brick made from a clay found around Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the Menomonee River Valley and on the western banks of Lake Michigan. These bricks were one of the most common building materials used in Milwaukee during the mid and late 19th century, giving the city the nickname “Cream City” and the bricks the name “Cream City bricks”.

1 February 1860, Milwaukee (WI) Daily Sentinel, “Milwaukee Daily Market,” pg. 4, col. 1:
FLOUR—Sale 50 bbls “Cream City” Extra at 31,70

30 March 1862, Detroit (MI) Free Press, “Marine News,” pg. 4, col. 5:
NEW STEAMER.—A new steam bark, called the Cream City, was launched at Sheboygan in the 22d. inst. She was built by Mr. B. B. Jones, of Milwaukee, and is owned jointly by Mr. Jones and Mr. Abner Kirby, also of that city.

4 July 1862, Milwaukee (WI) Sentinel, “Marine Intelligence,” pg. 4, col. 6:
The clearances for Milwaukee for the same period were: Barks Cream City ...

14 February 1863, Weekly Wisconsin Patriot (Madison, WI), pg. 5, col. 2:
[Correspondence of the Madison Patriot.]
MILWAUKEE, February 5, 1863.
(...)
He writes that the grass is growing in our most public streets, our citizens are to be seen drunk at every corner, and that generally the Cream City of the Lakes looks careless and dilapidated.

19 November 1863, Hartford (CT) Daily Courant, pg. 2, col. 2:
MILWAUKEE, Nov. 10th, 1863.
(...)
Yes it is a delightful morning “for a’ that,” especially to one sitting in a warm, cheerful, comfortable room, by a window overlooking the central portion of this goodlie “cream city,” with its block-work of yellowish brown brick walls, relieved by fronts and cornices of dark rown stone; and threaded by an irregular line of masts and sails.

OCLC WorldCat record
Cream city courier.
Publisher: Milwaukee, Wis. : A.E. Vanderpoel, -1879.
Edition/Format: Newspaper : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Milwaukee, her trade, commerce and industries, 1882-3 : manufacturing advantages, business and transportation facilities, together with sketches of the principal business houses and manufacturing concerns in the “Cream city,” historical and descriptive review
Author: John E Land
Publisher: Milwaukee [Wis.] : The Author, 1883.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

26 July 1883, Troy (NY) Weekly Times, “Nicknames of American Cities,” pg. 3, col. 8:
Milwaukee—Cream city—City of Beer and Bricks.

OCLC WorldCat record
The City of Milwaukee : guide to the “Cream City” for visitors and citizens, giving a history of the settlement, development and present importance of the city, with a chronology of interesting events. Souvenir of the 24th Sängerfest of the N.-A. Sängerbund at Milwaukee, July 21-25, 1886 ...
Publisher: Milwaukee : Caspar & Zahn, 1886.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

Google Books
Americanisms--Old & New
Compiled and edited by John Stephen Farmer
London: Privately printed by Thomas Poulter & Sons
1889
Pg. 181:
CREAM-CITY. — Milwaukee; from the color of its bricks.

29 March 1890, The Daily Light (San Antonio, TX), pg. 16, col. 3:
THE democracy of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, have a streak of humor in their composition and have nominate George Peck, of Peck’s Sun, as mayor. The father of Peck’s bad boy will have a time regulating the cream brick city.

6 September 1890, The Daily Independent (Monroe, WI), pg. 4, col. 3:
Articles were also filed by the Cream City Brick company of Milwaukee. The incorporators are Henry Herman, Eden W. Drake and Ephriam Mariner.

OCLC WorldCat record
Milwaukee, a half century’s progress, 1846-1896 : a review of the Cream City’s wonderful growth and development from incorporation until the present time.
Publisher: Milwaukee, Wis. : Consolidated Illustrating Co., [1896]
Edition/Format: Print book : English

7 July 1897, The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, WI), pg. 4, col. 4:
Milwaukee brick makers have started a price war and as a consequence the famous Cream City brick are selling at $5 a thousand, against former prices of $6.50 and $7.

Google Books
Wicked Good Words:
From Johnnycakes to Jug Handles, a Roundup of America’s Regionalisms

By Mim Harrison
New York, NY: A Perigee Book (Penguin Group)
2011
Pg. ?:
Cream City. A nickname for Milwaukee that dates back to the mid-1800s. In a place so well-known for beer that it’s also called Brew City, the “cream” must refer to the foam that bubbles up in a glass of beer, right? Nope. Cream is the color of the bricks that came from the area in the nineteenth century. They even came to be known as Cream City bricks.

Posted by Barry Popik
Nicknames of Other PlacesCream City (Milwaukee nickname) • Sunday, January 17, 2016 • Permalink