"The Making of Milwaukee: All You Need to Know About Milwaukee's History in One Hour or Less"
John Gurda is a Milwaukee-born writer and historian who has been studying his hometown since 1972. He is the author of twenty-two books, including The Making of Milwaukee, the first full-length history of the community published since 1948, and Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods, a geographic companion that has quickly become the standard work on grassroots Milwaukee. Together the books total more than 900 pages and feature 2,000 illustrations. The Making of Milwaukee was the basis for an Emmy Award—winning documentary series that premiered on Milwaukee Public Television in 2006.
Gurda’s undergraduate degree is a B.A. in English from Boston College, and he holds an M.A. in Cultural Geography and an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In addition to his work as an author, he is a frequent speaker on Milwaukee topics, local history columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and the bike-riding historian on Milwaukee PBS’s popular series Around the Corner with John McGivern. The common thread in all of Gurda’s work is an understanding of history as “why things are the way they are.”
Mark Gajewski has served as president of Historic Madison, Inc (HMI) for the past ten years. He’s authored multiple articles for Historic Madison’s Journal of the Four Lake Region and was the principal author of HMI’s biographical guides to Madison’s Forest Hill and Resurrection cemeteries. He conducts tours of both cemeteries, as well as Capitol Square. In addition, he edits HMI’s newsletter and is involved in HMI’s bi-annual Alternate Parade of Homes.
Mark is curator emeritus and past president of the Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS); he served on the WHS board for fourteen years. He’s also involved in the annual Circus of Chefs Gala that raises money to support Circus World.
In his “spare” time, he enjoys writing books of historical fiction, set in Madison and ancient Egypt. He and his wife are also frequent world travelers.
Gurda, John, and Tom Barrett. Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods. Milwaukee, WI: Historic Milwaukee, Inc, 2015.
Gurda, John and Christopher Winter. Milwaukee: A City Built on Water. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2018.
Gurda, John. The Making of Milwaukee. Milwaukee, WI; Milwaukee County Historical Society, 2018.
Gurda, John. Cream City Chronicles: Stories of Milwaukee’s Past. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2007.
The Making of Milwaukee. John Gurda and Claudia Looze, filmmakers. Milwaukee Public Television, 2006. (film).
Swanson, Carl A. Lost Milwaukee. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2018.