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The first Europeans to pass through the area were French Catholic missionaries and fur traders.
In 1818, the French Canadian explorer Solomon Juneau settled in the area, and in 1846, Juneau's town combined with two neighboring towns to incorporate as the city of Milwaukee.
Ranked by estimated 2014 population, Milwaukee was the 31st largest city in the United States.
So, on January 31, 1846, they combined to incorporate as the City of Milwaukee and elected Solomon Juneau as Milwaukee's first mayor.
One story of Milwaukee's name says, The spelling "Milwaukie" lives on in Milwaukie, Oregon, named after the Wisconsin city in 1847, before the current spelling was universally accepted.
Milwaukee has three "founding fathers": Solomon Juneau, Byron Kilbourn, and George H. Solomon Juneau was the first of the three to come to the area, in 1818.
This accounts for the large number of angled bridges that still exist in Milwaukee today. He claimed land to the south of the Milwaukee River, along with Juneautown, where he built a log house in 1834. The first large wave of settlement to the areas that would later become Milwaukee County and the City of Milwaukee began in 1835.
Further, Kilbourn distributed maps of the area which only showed Kilbourntown, implying Juneautown did not exist or the river's east side was uninhabited and thus undesirable. Early that year it became known Juneau and Kilbourn intended to lay out competing town-sites and by the years' end both had purchased their lands from the government and made their first sales.