Milwaukee is the Baltimore of the American midwest. Full of architectural gems, bursting with great food, home to fantastic museums, and riddled with understated beauty, this city of 600,000 is well worth the 90 minute rail ride from Chicago.

My time in Milwaukee was too brief, but searching for architectural surprises made for a great treasure hunt.  Dotted across the city in neighborhoods like the Historic Third Ward were ghost signs, reminders of when Milwaukee was a manufacturing giant.  Some of the ghost signes are faded and almost gone, others are ornate, and all are reminders of Milwaukee’s blue-collar past while staring down at the city’s current revitalization.

Hoffco Shoe Polish, Historic Third Ward

Hoffco Shoe Polish, Historic Third Ward

Very faded ghost sign, Historic Third Ward, Milwaukee

Very faded ghost sign, Historic Third Ward, Milwaukee

Lo Duca Brothers, Milwaukee

Lo Duca Brothers, Milwaukee

Old cough drop ghost sign, Third Ward, Milwaukee

Old cough drop ghost sign, Third Ward, Milwaukee

Old cough drop ghost sign, Third Ward, Milwaukee

Old cough drop ghost sign, Third Ward, Milwaukee

St. Paul Street, Milwaukee

St. Paul Street, Milwaukee

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he is a business writer and consultant. His work is has also appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). As of October 2013, he now lives and works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.