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UW-Milwaukee's Predecessor Institutions.: UW-Extension (1892-1956)

Explains the UWM's predecessor institutions, and explains our relationship to Milwaukee-Downer College. Offers further resources and research suggestions.

For more information

UW-Extension's website includes a general history and a timeline. See

Research in the archival records: read the finding aid at and ask in the Archives.


The Extension existed under various names in Milwaukee from 1892 to present day. It is now Milwaukee County Cooperative Extension.

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee (UWM) was established in 1956 after the merger of Wisconsin State College, Milwaukee with the Milwaukee Extension Division of the University of Wisconsin.

The Extension, downtown Milwaukee


1891 - University of Wisconsin, located in Madison, WI started the University Extension, which offered correspondence courses and lecture courses

1892 - University Extension offered classes in Milwaukee in the old Empire building located at Grand Avenue and West Water Streets (now Wisconsin and Plankington Avenues)

1892 - 1920 - School officially known as University of Wisconsin College and Vocational Day and Evening Classes in Milwaukee

1910 - School moved to 471 Van Buren Street

1920 - 1930 - School changes its name to The University of Wisconsin Extension Division

1922 - 1956 Students informally refer to the school as The Division

1924 - School moved to 137 Second Street (now 637 Second Street)

1928 - School moved to Milwaukee Center building at Sixth and State Streets

1941 - First university extension graduate courses leading to advanced degrees offered

1945 - Became official division school of the University of Wisconsin

1946 - Classes were being held in eight locations due to shortage of space: West Allis, South Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, Shorewood and the Metropolitan Building, Brumber Building and Wisconsin Tower in Milwaukee.

1953 - New building, facing Kilbourn Avenue, opened

1955 - Legislature passed measure combining Wisconsin State College, Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Extension Division. UW-Milwaukee formed in 1956.