Neighborhoods of Milwaukee
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This is a list of neighborhoods of Milwaukee.
Two residents of the same neighborhood may describe different neighborhood boundaries, which could be based on ZIP codes, ethnic groupings, or simply personal opinion. Although rooted in real history, neighborhoods remain social constructions, in which seemingly concrete things like boundaries are much rather in flux.
This encyclopedic problem is true for all cities but is particularly complicated in Milwaukee when identified neighborhoods can be within other neighborhoods. For instance, Brady Street and East Village are actually inside of the East Side, but Beerline B is essentially located in Riverwest. At the same time some Riverwest residents may regard the Beerline B as a separate distinct neighborhood or perhaps part of adjacent Brewers' Hill. On the other hand, Beerline B and Brewers' Hill residents might or might not agree that Beerline B is part of Brewers' Hill. Certainly, residents and realtors tend to assign new names as neighborhoods evolve, and some historic identities are revived by community or political groups, Bronzeville for instance. In 1990, the Neighborhood Identification Project set boundaries and names for 75 areas of the city. Prior to that, neighborhood names were not official and many areas had no names, official or otherwise.
- 1 Milwaukee's North Side
- 1.1 Arlington Heights
- 1.2 Brewers' Hill
- 1.3 Franklin Heights
- 1.4 Granville
- 1.5 Grover Heights
- 1.6 Halyard Park
- 1.7 Harambee
- 1.8 Havenwoods
- 1.9 Hillside / Lapham Park
- 1.10 Metcalfe Park
- 1.11 Midtown
- 1.12 Park West
- 1.13 Sherman Park
- 1.14 Thurston Woods
- 1.15 Uptown Crossing
- 1.16 Williamsburg Heights
- 2 Milwaukee's South Side
- 3 Milwaukee's East Side
- 4 Milwaukee's West Side
- 5 Milwaukee's Downtown
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Milwaukee's North Side
Arlington Heights is a predominantly African American neighborhood on Milwaukee's north side. It is bordered by Capitol Drive to the north, I-43 to the east, Keefe Avenue to the south and 20th Street to the west. It is home to Lindbergh Park, an elementary school, a middle school, and a Lutheran grade school. Union Cemetery is located at the far southwest corner of the neighborhood.
Brewers' Hill is a small, diverse[clarification needed] neighborhood north of downtown on the Milwaukee River. The neighborhood is bordered by North Avenue to the north, Holton Avenue to the east, the Milwaukee River and Pleasant Street to the south, and Martin Luther King Drive to the west.
The name Brewers' Hill (formerly "Uihlein Hill") is derived from the large number of brewery workers and owners that once inhabited the area. Just to the south of the neighborhood, the Schlitz and Blatz breweries were once in operation.
Brewers' Hill contains an architectural mix of Greek Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne (including Stick-style), and Colonial Revival buildings dating from the 1850s to the 1920s. Part of the neighborhood, the Brewers' Hill Historic District, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The neighborhood has undergone gentrification, with former factories converted into businesses and condominiums.
In 2009, This Old House named Brewers' Hill as one of its "Best Old House Neighborhoods," where the neighborhood was referred to as "a distinctly Victorian-era neighborhood that's found new life in recent years as rehabbers buy up its blighted old mansions and restore them into beautiful urban homes."
Franklin Heights is bordered by Capitol Drive to the north, 20th Street to the east, Burleigh Street to the south and 35th Street to Townsend Street to the railroad tracks on the west. One third of the Franklin Heights population is below the poverty line.
Granville is a historically working-class neighborhood located on Milwaukee's far northwest side, featuring new subdivisions, industrial parks, and Granville Station, which was formerly the Northridge mall, having undergone extensive renovations and attracting new large-format tenants.
Located on the fringes of Williamsburg and encompassing parts of Glendale, Grover Heights is bordered by the Milwaukee River to the north, Port Washington Avenue to the east, Capitol Drive to the south and I-43 to the west. Built on lots carved from swampland that fed into the river, Grover Heights’ homes were built between 1926 and 1930. Its occupants were primarily German until the 1960s. Its first African-American family moved into the area in 1961. Most residents move into the area and stay. Currently Grover Heights has a diverse population consisting of African-Americans, Caucasians, Latinos and Hispanics. Its area forms one of the primary borders of the 5 Points Neighborhood Association, Inc.
Halyard Park is bordered by North Avenue to the north, Martin Luther King Dr.(3rd Street) to the east, Walnut St. to the south and 6th Street / Halyard Street to the west. It is a residential neighborhood; new condominia and sprawling residential lots with post-1980 construction are the norm. Carver Park buffers the area from I-43 and is the area's largest park and was host to presidential speeches in the early 1900s. Beechie Brooks, resident, was the developer who in the early 1980s redeveloped the area from Brown Street north to Garfield Avenue and from 4th Street west to Halyard Street.
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“Harambee” is the Swahili word for “pulling together”. It has also become, since the mid-1970s, the most widely used name for a neighborhood on Milwaukee’s north side. There is a strong push to redefine the larger area into the Upper Riverwalk District as the entire area is located between two points in the Milwaukee River and has close proximity to the expanding river walk. Draped across a steep ridge overlooking Downtown, the Harambee area is a community of historic homes, strong churches, and more than 20,000 people. Its name signifies two things: the African heritage of most residents; and a new spirit of “pulling together” that have taken root in an old neighborhood.
The Harambee community is just north of downtown Milwaukee and is bounded by Keefe Avenue to the north, Holton Street to the east, North Avenue to the south and I-43 to the west. Harambee includes the highest residential elevation in the city, a tall ridge running along 1st Street, that in the early 20th century was built upon by the city's wealthy families.
This area was first settled by early German-Americans in the 19th century and served as a key German-American business community for Milwaukee. Daniel Richards bought a home in 1842 (built by Morgan Burdick in 1837) (2863 N. 1st Street) on 160 acres (65 ha) of land that ran from Richards Street west to between 5th and 6th and from Center Street north to Burleigh Street. The home stood until 2002 when a fire destroyed the house which had been vacant for some time and was in the process of restoration. Richards started Milwaukee's first newspaper and spent a lifetime tending to his garden on Richards Hill. Richards Hill is located immediately north of Hadley Street between 2nd Street and Palmer and is the location of the highest natural point in the City. Richards Hill still flourishes in the spring with thousands of perennials planted by Daniel Richards some 160 years ago.
As Milwaukee grew, the city limits expanded steadily to the north, reaching Center Street in 1855 and Burleigh a year later. But the future Harambee neighborhood remained essentially rural. In 1866, a German shooting society bought several acres of land at Third and Burleigh for use as a rifle range. Schuetzen (Rifleman’s) Park doubled as a beer garden, complete with dance hall, bowling alley, and saloon. It became a popular weekend retreat for city residents who craved the quiet of the countryside.
In the 1870s, however, city residents crossed North Avenue and began to cover the old farming district with new homes. Urban settlement continued to the end of the century, edging up the hillside like a rising tide. . Pabst Park soon had plenty of customers in the surrounding area. By 1900, the tide of settlement had reached the crest of the ridge, near Burleigh Street, and was beginning to spill down the other side.
The newcomers were overwhelmingly German. The residential sections were dotted with German saloons, German stores, and dozens of German churches. Most of the area’s breadwinners worked with their hands, but by no means all. First, Second and Palmer Streets (between North Avenue and Center Street) became the major gold coast of the North Side German community. The streets were lined with the imposing homes of merchants, manufacturers, and professionals. Perhaps the best known was Edward Schuster, founder of what was, for decades, Milwaukee’s largest department store chain. While other Germans socialized at local saloons, the wealthy residents organized the Millioki Club and built a lavish clubhouse at First and Wright Streets.
In 1921, two years after Prohibition closed every beer garden, the Pabst Brewery sold its park to Milwaukee County, and the county renamed it for James Garfield, twentieth President of the United States.
As the neighborhood filled in, its northeastern corner became a large-scale industrial district. Attracted by the edge-of-the-city location and easy access to the Milwaukee Road line, manufacturers covered block after block north of Keefe Avenue with factories. They produced everything from shoes to pianos and from elevators to wooden toys. The largest factory, built between 1920 and 1928 was the Seaman Auto body plant, now an American Motors facility. Every day, hundreds of local residents walked to their jobs in the factories along the railroad tracks.
The neighborhood remained heavily German through the 1920s, but there were clear signs of ethnic change. Many of the new residents in the northern sections were Polish and Italian families who had moved across Holton Street from the Riverwest neighborhood. Both groups had roots on the Lower East Side. In the southern sections, scores of German families moved on to new neighborhoods, and the blocks above North Avenue provided homes for a wide variety of groups, among them Blacks. The first Black families arrived in the 1930s, and their numbers swelled in the decades that followed. Retracing the steps of the original Germans, they moved up the Third Street corridor like a tide, establishing new spiritual homes in old churches, opening new businesses, and developing a distinct cultural presence. By 1970, Blacks were the largest group in the neighborhood, but not the only one. A significant number of European residents remained and there was a growing Hispanic community in the blocks just west of Holton Street. The Hispanics, most of them Puerto Ricans, moved north from the Lower East Side, just as the Poles and Italians had done in an earlier time.
Some sections are thoroughly mixed today, but African-Americans are the major influence in the Harambee neighborhood. Juneteenth Day, the African-American community’s largest celebration, has been held in the neighborhood, on Third Street, since 1972. In 1985, at the urging of local residents, the street’s name was changed to celebrate an American hero – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Of the 7,000 housing units in the Harambee area, the real eye-catchers are those on First, Second, and Palmer Streets below Center Street – the heart of the old German gold coast. There, between 1890 and 1910, well-to-do families built some of the most elegant homes on the North Side. Only a few are genuine mansions; the wealthiest Germans lived on the East and West Sides. But the houses are monuments to success in business and the professions. Some are picturesque Queen Annes, with corner turrets and rambling floor plans. Others reflect the graceful symmetry of the Colonial Revival. Still others show their builders’ preference for the Old World styles of medieval and Renaissance times. A few have carriage barns larger than the houses on nearby streets. Elaborate woodwork stained glass, and ornate fireplaces are common in the area, and many of the homes are in nearly mint condition. In 1984, the First Street corridor became an official historic district, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The historic district may have the most “significant” homes in the area, but they are overwhelmed, numerically, by thousands of less ambitious buildings. It took fifty years – from the 1870s to the 1920s – for the neighborhood to fill in completely, and the result is a wide range of styles and types. The southern blocks are covered with homes from the late nineteenth century – Victorian houses with ornamental “gingerbread” single-family cottages, and a scattering of Cream City brick structures. In between are towering Milwaukee duplexes and tidy single-family homes from the 1900-1920 period. There are signs of neglect throughout the neighborhood, but every block, without exception, has homes that have been diligently maintained since the day they were built.
The Harambee neighborhood has some impressive resources. Its historic homes have attracted new interest in recent years. Its prime location, only a few minutes north of Downtown, is an increasingly important asset. Its rolling landscape gives it a visual variety not found in many Milwaukee neighborhoods. And it is a neighborhood of churches, scores of them. Some congregations, like Epiphany Lutheran (renamed All Peoples Church in 1991), St. Elizabeth Catholic, and Holy Ghost Lutheran, are still worshiping in their original homes. Others have recycled older buildings. Mt. Moriah Baptist, for instance, holds services in the former Golgotha Lutheran Church. More congregations worship in rented storefronts and even houses. Every church is a bulwark of faith for its members, and many are reaching out to serve the surrounding community.
There are several community centers that serve the surrounding neighborhoods. For example, the Clinton & Bernice Rose Senior Center, a striking facility on the corner of Rose (formerly Garfield) Park. The park’s name was changed in 1982 initially to honor Clinton Rose, the area’s long-time county supervisor. Later former County Supervisor Bernice Rose's name was added to the facility's name in order to acknowledge her contributions to public service. One of the area’s oldest facilities is the former public natatorium on Center Street, now the home of the Aurora Weier Educational Center, which operates an educational program for young Hispanics. Over the years, there have been many other human service agencies in the neighborhood, including Career Youth Development (educational and social services), Commando’s Project I (education and employment), Harambee Ombudsman Project, Inner City Arts Council (classes in the visual and performing arts), Isaac Coggs Community Health Center, Opportunities Industrialization Center (employment assistance), and Martin Luther King Library.
The area had been well-served by its community programs, but no one has any illusions that every problem is being solved. Joblessness, the problems that create it, and the problems it creates have been persistent concerns for decades. At the same time, there have been some imaginative grassroots efforts to preserve and improve the area’s quality of life – not by offering specific programs, but by working to strengthen a sense of community. The oldest grassroots organization is the Central North Community Council, established in 1960. The group’s activities over the years have ranged from band concerts and tree plantings to rallying support for improvements like the new King Library. The council’s perennial president was Frank Zeidler, former mayor of Milwaukee, the last socialist to run a major U.S. city, and a neighborhood resident from 1946 until his death in July, 2006.
The focus on citizen involvement broadened in the early 1970s. The Center for Community Leadership Development, a program of the University of Wisconsin–Extension, began to explore ways to assist the neighborhood. The center’s staff borrowed a name from Harambee Community School, which had opened in 1969 in the former St. Elizabeth School building, and organized the Harambee Revitalization Project. A few new programs were launched, and many more were proposed. The most novel plan called for an “in-town, new town,” linking a revitalized Harambee neighborhood with a new community of transplanted North Siders outside the city.
It was not until 1974 that the “pulling together” began in earnest. Dr. Belden Paulson, head of the Extension’s leadership center, and Ben Johnson, the area’s alderman, were teaching a political awareness course at the King Library. On one memorable evening, a group of neighbors attended the class to seek their alderman’s help. The tall grass on Goat Hill, a steep bluff at First and Hadley Streets, had become a breeding ground for juvenile crime. Johnson, after cutting through several layers of red tape, had the grass cut, and the complaints stopped.
The incident proved that Harambee’s residents were willing to work together on local problems, and the Extension staff built a grassroots program around that willingness. Working with area residents, they decided to use the ombudsman approach developed in Sweden. Outreach workers identified block leaders in the neighborhood. The block leaders became the voices of their neighbors, monitoring complaints and referring problems to the ombudsmen in the Extension Office. The ombudsmen, in turn, worked with the appropriate agencies until a problem was solved. And so the Harambee Ombudsman Project was born, probably the only organization in America whose name contained both Swedish and Swahili words. Agnes Cobbs, a long-time area resident and the project’s first coordinator, described its importance: “Back in the Seventies, everybody wanted to hurry up and move across Capitol Drive. People felt, ‘I’m just one person. What can I do?’, but I always said, “You don’t solve the problems by running away. We can do things together.’ That’s the reason for the name – pulling together.”
The Harambee Ombudsman Project showed steady progress. By 1977, there was a network of 100 block leaders, many of them long-time homeowners like those who anchor most Milwaukee neighborhoods. By 1980, there were more than 300. Block clean-ups and home improvement projects had a snowball effect, rolling from one block to the next. Many block leaders learned to navigate the bureaucratic maze on their own, and the project’s focus shifted from advocacy to self-help. Harambee residents found their efforts being praised in local newspaper stories and a public television special. The neighborhood’s physical appearance improved noticeably, and many residents felt a new sense of optimism.
In 1980, the Harambee Ombudsman Project received United Way funding and ended its dependence on the UW-Extension. The project entered a period of reorganization. The block leader network remained, but there was a new emphasis on block clubs and a new interest in housing programs. In 1984, Ed McDonald, a Harambee’s director, and the project renewed its efforts to promote pride and stability. In 2011, the Harambee Ombudsman Project was laid to rest. The mission and vision lives on through WestCare Wisconsin Harambee Community Center located on the corner of North 4th and West Wright Streets, under the leadership of Rev. Dr. James G. White (died 2013).
Today, among both neighborhood leaders and neighborhood residents, there is a feeling of hope tempered with realism. No one expects the Harambee area’s long-term problems to disappear quickly, but there are some encouraging signs: new developments on King Drive, a new interest in old homes, a growing awareness of the central city’s advantages. “It’s coming back on up,” said a young resident. But Harambee’s most important asset has been there for years: a solid core of what one leader called “community-minded people,” people who will not rest in their efforts to make Harambee a better place to live. They have shown an impressive ability to “pull together,” and pulling together will certainly carry the neighborhood to a brighter future.
Bronzeville was an African-American neighborhood that historically was situated between what is now the Harambee neighborhood and the North Division neighborhood. Specifically, Bronzeville was bordered by North Avenue to the north, 3rd Street to the east, State Street to the south and 12th Street to the west. Much of this former district was centered along Walnut Street (essentially halfway between State Street and North Avenue) until it was razed to make room for the Interstate 43 and other arterial road expansions due to the fact that property prices were low and the government needed to buy the land it was going to build a freeway on. After that the community was displaced.
Today there is a rebuilding and rebranding of the commercial area of nearby North Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive into "Bronzeville", including many new businesses and the Black Holocaust Museum(CLOSED).
The name "Bronzeville" is not Milwaukee-specific, but rather a term used throughout the United States and applied to an historic area of a city populated primarily by blacks.
Havenwoods is bordered by Capitol Drive to the north, I-43 to the east, Keefe Avenue to the south and 20th Street to the west. It is a working class, mostly African-American neighborhood on Milwaukee's north side, centered near Silver Spring Drive and 60th Street. The neighborhood itself is moderately urban in character, with a mix of strip malls, older retail buildings, and townhouses. Within the neighborhood's boundaries lie the 237-acre (960,000 m2) Havenwoods State Forest and the US Army Reserve Center. The largest government housing project in Milwaukee is located in Havenwoods. Approximately 700 housing units stretching 8 city blocks makes up the Westlawn housing projects.
Pedestrian bridge in the Havenwoods State Forest
Hillside / Lapham Park
Hillside/Lapham Park is bordered by I-43 to the north, Halyard Street and 6th Street to the east, Fond du Lac Avenue to the south and I-43 to the west. It includes Carver Park which was known as Lapham Park until the 1950s.
The Pabst Brewery Complex is situated in the far southwest corner of the Hillside neighborhood. The Pabst brewery was closed in 1997, however, the property is under redevelopment and speculation.
Metcalfe Park is bordered by Center Street to the north, 20th Street to the east, North Avenue to the south and 35th Street to the west.
Metcalfe Park is often considered one of Milwaukee's most dangerous neighborhoods. Certainly, one of the poorest; according to the U.S. Census, the poverty rate for the neighborhood and adjoining areas exceeds 60%. Local media devotes much attention to the problems in this area. And after a mob beating perpetrated by neighborhood youth - some under 13 years old - left a man dead, the national media did as well.
Despite challenges and in the face of its negative reputation, the neighborhood continues to make efforts to improve. For instance, new commercial and residential development have recently sprung up along North Avenue, a main thoroughfare. The neighborhood has many active community groups, which aim to help improve the conditions in and image of Metcalfe Park.
Midtown is bordered by North Avenue to the north, 20th Street to the east, Highland Avenue to the south and railroad tracks to the west. This neighborhood on Milwaukee's northwest side is still struggling to improve through commercial redevelopment and a few nonprofit organizations. Midtown Centre, developed around ten years ago is a shopping center off of Capitol Drive, is considered the economic heart of the neighborhood, filling the void by what was once the Capitol Court Mall, which was demolished due to the theft and high crime in the mall, and its surrounding area.
Park West is a neighborhood located on the northwest side of Milwaukee. It is bordered by Burleigh Street to the north, 20th Street to the east, Center Street and North Avenue to the south and 27th Street and railroad tracks to the west.
Sherman Park is a neighborhood located on the northwest side of Milwaukee. It is bordered by Burleigh Street to the north, 27th Street to the east, North Avenue to the south and Fond du Lac Avenue and Sherman Boulevard to the west.
The Sherman Park area was once home to many of Milwaukee's first business owners. Those pioneers built their beautiful homes in the 1920s and 1930s at the westernmost point of the city at the time. Sherman Blvd. and Grant Blvd. were premier streets in this neighborhood with lavish houses. Those residents who occupied those homes were highly successful with a median income of 70k and above. Sherman Park was also once the heart of Milwaukee's Jewish population. Sherman Park retained a small, close-knit, and growing group of Chasidic Orthodox Jews. Herb Kohl, former U.S. Senator and owner of the Milwaukee Bucks and his college roommate Bud Selig, former MLB commissioner and owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, both grew up in Sherman Park in the 1940s and attended Washington High School, which is located in the neighborhood.
Since 1970, the neighborhood has featured a community association focused on preserving Sherman Park's cultural diversity, housing stock, and commercial viability. Today, the majority of Sherman Park residents are of African American and Asian descent.
Thurston Woods is a community in Milwaukee bounded by Douglas Avenue to the north, Teutonia Avenue to the east, Silver Spring Drive to the south and Sherman Boulevard to the west. Thurston Woods has tree-lined streets, an accessible location, affordable homes, and a strong network of neighbors. Havenwoods State Forest is located just across Sherman Boulevard, business and industrial neighbors lie just north of Thurston Woods along Mill Road, and retail establishments along Silver Spring Drive and Teutonia Avenue provide services for residents.
The Uptown Crossing commercial district is located on West North Avenue and Lisbon Avenue on Milwaukee’s north side. It is adjacent to Washington Heights, and is home to a variety of national and local retail, as well as several public institutions. Several architecturally unique buildings give Uptown Crossing an unparalleled feel, and a business improvement district and business association support the district’s vitality. Uptown Crossing has a largely African American population.
Williamsburg Heights is bounded by Capitol Drive to the north, Holton Street to the east, Keefe Avenue to the south and I-43 to the west. Some consider Williamsburg as a section of the newer Harambee neighborhood to the south.
In the 1800s, when memories of the frontier were still fresh in Milwaukee, the area that became Williamsburg (named for William Bogk) was a farming district. Scores of farmers, most of them German immigrants, settled in the area. Comfortably beyond the city limits, (North Avenue), they patronized their own trading center that they referred to as Williamsburg. The Green Bay road, between Burleigh Street and Keefe Avenue, was the spine of the little settlement. At its peak, Williamsburg boasted a flour mill, greenhouses, feed stores, harness shops, blacksmiths, bakeries, and its own post office.
At Port Washington Rd there were a growing cluster of businesses on Green Bay Avenue – the heart of old Williamsburg. The residential sections were dotted with German saloons, German stores, and dozens of German churches. Today you can still see the old Owl Club House on Port Washington Rd now the Shiloh Tabernacle. Most of the area’s breadwinners worked with their hands. By the late 1960s African Americans began moving in. Relations were more peaceful with the newer group and their older European neighbors when compared to other parts for the city at that time leading to a more stable neighborhood.
In 1891, Williamsburg, by then a suburban community of blue collar workers, became part of Milwaukee. In the same decade, the Pabst Brewery purchased Schuetzen Park (now Clinton Rose Park) and turned it into an amusement park. The beer garden remained, but the rifle range was replaced by a roller coaster, a miniature railroad, a carousel, and a fun house called Katzenjammer Castle The area continued to grow after 1900. The tide of home-seekers washed down the ridge to Keefe Avenue before 1910 and finally reached Capitol Drive in the 1920s. Old Williamsburg became an island of older homes and shops in the heart of the neighborhood.
The homes here are dominantly bungalows the nearly universal favorite of the 1920s with towering 2 and 3 story Milwaukee duplexes scattered among them. Williamsburg Heights and Williamsburg Triangle also form the primary borders and constituents of the 5 Points Neighborhood Association, Inc. (5PNA). Expanded borders are described on the 5pna site.
Milwaukee's South Side
For many residents, Milwaukee's South Side is synonymous with the Polish community which settled here. The group's proud ethnicity maintained a high profile here for decades and it was not until the 1950s and 60s that the families began to disperse to the southern suburbs.
By 1850, there were seventy-five Poles in Milwaukee County and the US Census indicates that they had a variety of occupations: grocers, blacksmiths, tavernkeepers, coopers, butchers, broommakers, shoemakers, draymen, laborers, and farmers. Three distinct Polish communities evolved in Milwaukee, with the majority settling in the area south of Greenfield Avenue. Milwaukee County's Polish population of 30,000 in 1890 rose to 100,000 by 1915. Poles historically have had a strong national cultural and social identity, maintained through the Catholic Church. A view of Milwaukee's South Side Skyline is replete with the steeples of the many churches these immigrants built, churches that are still vital centers of the community. Milwaukee's South Side has a multi-cultural population of African Americans, Caucasians, Asian Americans and a Hispanic population made up mostly of people of Mexican and Puerto Rican backgrounds.
Bay View is located on the southeast shore of the city of Milwaukee overlooking Lake Michigan. Bay View boundaries Becher Street/Bay Street to the north, Morgan Avenue to the south, and Sixth Street to the west. Located about 3 miles (5 km) south of downtown on the lake, Bay View originally sprang up around the Milwaukee Iron Company rolling mill as a company town.
Bay View incorporated in 1879 (Milwaukee's first suburb) with 2,592 people and 892 acres (361 ha) of land; but by 1887 Bay View's 4,000 residents voted overwhelmingly to join the city of Milwaukee, mostly in order to get city services of which water was the most important. The former village became Milwaukee's 17th ward.
Bay View is best known to labor historians as the site of the 1886 Bay View Massacre. Father James Groppi, a noted Milwaukee civil rights activist from the 1960s, was born in Bay View, where his father ran a grocery business.
Presently, the neighborhood hosts the annual South Shore Water Frolics, a free three-day summer festival featuring a parade, live music and fireworks, held at South Shore Park. Today the neighborhood has the last remaining public well in the city of Milwaukee: the Pryor Avenue Iron Well.
Fireworks at the South Shore Water Frolics
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Clarke Square is one of the most diverse communities in Milwaukee, offering a multicultural array of shops, restaurants, churches and community-based activities. The neighborhood is home to the Milwaukee County Mitchell Park Conservatory – where visitors can enter the beehive-shaped glass domes – and Cesar Chavez Drive, a commercial strip that draws Milwaukee’s Latino community and others to shop, eat authentic Latin food, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere. Located near the emerging economic engine of Menomonee Valley and international tourist attractions such as Potawatomi Casino, Miller Park, and the Harley-Davidson Museum, Clarke Square is a gateway to Milwaukeeʼs Near South Side.
Holler Park is a Medium sized neighborhood park held by Milwaukee County containing mature old growth oak trees and abundant wildlife, including Whitetail Deer, Raccoons, Opossums, Geese, Ducks, Great Horned Owls, Hawks and varied bird species. However it is NOT a neighborhood itself due to the amount of commercial property around it.
Jackson Park is a neighborhood on the south side, located about 6 miles (10 km) south of downtown. It is bordered by Lincoln Ave to the north, Morgan Ave to the south, 35th St to the east, and 50th St to the west. Jackson Park's architecture consists largely of two-story wood frame houses that were constructed in the early 20th century. Jackson Park's makeup is mostly Caucasian, working middle-class people: teachers, nurses, firefighters, police officers, government and blue collar workers. In recent years, it has also seen a growing number of Hispanic residents.
Jones Island is a peninsula located at the Milwaukee Harbor. It began as a fishing village populated by Polish settlers from the Kaszub region as well as some German immigrants in 1870. The settlers made their living by fishing Lake Michigan. Having never officially obtained a deed for the land, they were considered squatters by the City of Milwaukee and evicted in the 1940s. The city then proceeded to make way for a shipping port as part of an inner harbor design.
The area is now heavily industrialized, containing only a few mature trees. Jones Island hosts much of the city's municipal services, including the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. The area supports the Hoan Bridge and includes a shipping port, the Port of Milwaukee.
Layton Park is located on the city's near southwest side. The neighborhood is bordered by 35th Street in the west and by Historic Layton Boulevard to the east. Layton Park is today a diverse neighborhood with a large Latino population. The neighborhood was developed in the 1920s and comprises red brick bungalows and duplexes.
This neighborhood is located along Lincoln Avenue between 5th and 20th Streets on the south side of Milwaukee. Lincoln Village contains a national landmark, the Basilica of St. Josaphat. The Holler House tavern, which contains the oldest certified bowling alley in the United States, is located on the far west end of the neighborhood. The Historic Forest Home Cemetery is located just west, adjacent to the neighborhood.
During the early 20th century, this neighborhood was home to a large Polish population. Today the neighborhood is inhabited by a primarily Mexican population, with many coming from rural areas of Mexico and Los Angeles.
Historic Mitchell Street is a street located about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) southwest of downtown. The Mitchell Street neighborhood is the heart of a densely populated area of Milwaukee's near south side.
Most of the houses in the neighborhood are two- or three-story Polish flats, but this area also has a fair amount of five to six story brick walk-ups and apartment buildings. Mitchell Street itself is a popular and vibrant retail district.
St. Stanislaus Catholic Church on Mitchell at 5th
Tippecanoe is located on the city's far south side. A solidly middle class and well maintained neighborhood. Most of the neighborhood's homes date back to the 1940s and 1950s. The area was named from the political rallying cry "Tippecanoe and Tyler too" by landowner John Saveland, an outspoken local Republican who intended to develop it as an upper income suburban community.
Town of Lake
Town of Lake, located near the Mitchell airport, is a neighborhood based on its namesake township which was established by the Territorial Legislature in 1838 and covered much of what is now the south side of Milwaukee, as well as the city of Cudahy. Over time, the township was parceled out among different area cities. The original boundaries for the Town of Lake were Greenfield Ave to the North, Lake Michigan to the East, College Ave (originally called Town Line Rd) to the south, and 27th Street to the west. In 1951, St. Francis incorporated to prevent annexation by Milwaukee, in effect "seceding" from the Town of Lake. Before being annexed, the township's northern boundary was Howard Ave, except for a strip of land west of 20th Street going farther north to Morgan Ave. The old town hall on 6th & Howard is still referred to as the "Town of Lake Water Tower". Now officially called the Robert A. Anderson Municipal Building by the City of Milwaukee, it currently serves as office space and water treatment facility. The Town of Lake was officially annexed in 1954. The township's residents had voted not to incorporate as the "City of Lake" in 1928; had they chosen to incorporate, the remaining area of the Town of Lake would probably have never been annexed by Milwaukee, and Milwaukee would have likely expanded further west and north instead. In addition, it is also likely that the Milwaukee suburb of St. Francis would not have felt the pressure to incorporate.
Walker's Point is a neighborhood that lies south of the Third Ward and the eastern part of the Menomonee River Valley. Founded by George H. Walker in 1835 as a fur trading post, the area is now noted for being mostly an industrial neighborhood, with limited housing scattered in pockets throughout the area, particularly on the eastern end of Walker's Point.
There is a strong presence of the city's gay and lesbian community throughout the nightclubs and bars in the neighborhood. And recently this area has seen some condo, office, and retail development spill over the Milwaukee River to this neighborhood. However, it is not displacing anyone as the spaces undergoing development have mainly been former storage or empty industrial space. There has been attempt to revamp the area. The L. Teweles Seed Company warehouse, Fifth Ward Lofts, and the Milwaukee Water Council are being renovated.
Rockwell Automation has their headquarters in this neighborhood. The Allen-Bradley Clock Tower, part of the Rockwell complex, is an icon of the neighborhood and is the world’s largest four-faced clock, as listed in Guinness World Records. Esperanza Unida, a community-based nonprofit organization, is located on the western end of Walker's Point. Data security software provider and ZIP file creators PKWARE relocated their headquarters to the neighborhood in 2014. Local architecture firm Plunkett Raysich Architects, LLP relocated from its long-time location on the northwest side to the neighborhood in May 2015.
South down 2nd Street to Clock Tower
Milwaukee's East Side
"The East Side"
The East Side is a broad area that refers to anything east of the Milwaukee River, north of downtown, and south of the suburb of Shorewood. This area includes Brady Street, the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee campus, the lakefront, and the marina. The streets and buildings in this neighborhood range from towering, expensive high rises and condominiums along the lake to brownstones and walkups a few blocks inland to more affordable duplexes near the river. An economically diverse group of people live in this neighborhood. Brady Street (from Prospect to Holton) and North Avenue (from Prospect to the Milwaukee River) both feature popular, pedestrian-friendly commercial strips of nightlife, restaurants, and shops intermingled with residences. Brady Street is also known for its popular pet parade which runs every first Saturday in October. Downer Avenue (from Bradford to Park) is a similar commercial strip but with fewer bars. Milwaukee County Transit System's bus routes 30 and Green Line Express are the major North-South transit arteries for the neighborhood.
The east side is also home to renowned parks. Frederick Law Olmsted - famed designer of New York's Central Park - designed both Lake Park and Riverside Park (originally "River Park"), with Newberry Boulevard being the deliberate connector between the two. Lake Park is part of Milwaukee's Grand Necklace of Parks and is known for lawn bowling; French restaurant, the Lake Park Bistro; and the North Point lighthouse.
Brady Street is a neighborhood street within Milwaukee's Lower East Side neighborhood. It is bounded by the Milwaukee River on the west, Lake Michigan on the east, Kane Place on the north, and Ogden Avenue on the south. Brady Street itself runs west from Prospect Avenue (overlooking the Lake) to Water Street.
In the 1880s, Brady Street became a commercial district of Yankee and German owned shops. Regano's Roman Coin, one of the original Pabst tied house taverns, is still located on Brady Street, though the vintaged beer signs outside read "Blatz". This tavern was built in 1890 and is unique in that it was designed by architect Otto Strack, who also designed Milwaukee's Pabst Theater. Today, Brady Street is filled with coffee houses, nightclubs, restaurants, vintage clothing, and thrift stores.
Brady Street is often associated with being once the heart of Milwaukee's Italian community, even being called "Milwaukee's Little Italy". But before World War II, it was largely home to Polish immigrants. In fact, historic St. Hedwig's Roman Catholic Church, a long-time Polish church, which was built in 1871, stands at the corner of Brady Street and Humboldt Avenue. In the 1960s, Italians and other assimilated groups began to leave the neighborhood for the suburbs, while the hippies and other bohemians moved in. The 1980s saw blight, neglect and decay, but now the area has been revitalized and has become a model for New Urbanism. Starting in the late 1990s, gentrification has now forced out most of the bohemian population, many moving to Riverwest and Bay View for cheaper rents. But this neighborhood still exhibits a strong, albeit upscale, independent flair. For instance, the Annual Brady Street festival in July brings together the neighborhood in block party fashion.
St. Hedwig's Roman Catholic Church in the distance off of Brady
The East Village is a term for the Lower East Side area on the east bank of the Milwaukee River north of Brady Street, from Humboldt Avenue east to Warren Avenue. Most of the neighborhood makes up the Brewers Hill Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
It includes Caesar's Park, Pulaski Playground, and Wolski's Tavern. The area was a traditional working-class neighborhood inhabited by Polish-Americans, including many Kaszubs; the architecture includes a number of Polish flats and other forms of modest housing.
Murray Hill is located adjacent to the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee within the larger East Side neighborhood. It is bounded by Downer Avenue on the east, Oakland Avenue on the west, Hartford Avenue on the north, and Bradford Avenue on the south. It is primarily a residential neighborhood with housing dating to the early decades of the 20th century, primarily bungalows, two-family duplexes, and larger apartment buildings. The neighborhood is bisected by Newberry Blvd. which connects parks on Lake Michigan (Lake Park) and the Milwaukee River (Riverside Park). Murray Hill is home to both a student population and many long-term residents. The neighborhood has an active neighborhood group, the Murray Hill Neighborhood Association. The childhood home of famous industrial designer Brooks Stevens  was in Murray Hill.
Riverwest is a primarily residential neighborhood located west of the Milwaukee River and east of Holton Street, situated south of Estabrook Park, between Milwaukee's East Side, Brewers' Hill, Williamsburg Heights, and Harambee neighborhoods. The main east-west arterial streets - Capitol Drive, Locust Street, and North Avenue - connect Riverwest to the East Side via bridges. The main north-south arterial streets - Holton Street and Humboldt Boulevard - connect Riverwest to the downtown area, the lower East Side (specifically Brady Street), and suburban Shorewood. Along with those streets, Locust, Center, and Burleigh Streets are the major east-west corridors with cafes, bars, and shops where people congregate. Riverwest is one of the neighborhoods that established its boundaries and identity before the 1990s Neighborhood Identification Project.[clarification needed]
Riverwest is noted for its racial and ethnic diversity, including large numbers of African-Americans and Caucasians, as well as growing Iranian, Russian, Asian, and Hispanic populations. With the neighborhood's proximity to the university, a sizable college student population also resides in there. Rapidly rising real estate values in the nearby east side neighborhoods have made Riverwest more attractive to home buyers due to its closeness to downtown and the university. This, along with other housing and commercial developments, followed a long period of decline up through the 1990s. More recently, the trend has been rising property values and an increase in owner-occupied housing. Riverwest still features more affordable rental opportunities in its bungalows, duplexes, and "Polish flats" than what is generally found closer to the university.
Riverwest has many nonprofit and volunteer-run organizations, such as its neighborhood association, a community newspaper, a grocery co-op, People's Books (a co-op bookstore), Woodland Pattern Book Center, The Public House (co-op bar) co-op, an investment co-op, infoshop Milwaukee River Advocates, and a volunteer run Community Radio station. Riverwest has many festivals, including Locust Street Days, Center Street Daze, and Rockerbox (a motorcycle and scooter rally). The Riverwest 24, Milwaukee's only 24-hour annual bike race, started in 2008 and features local bands with multiple block parties. The neighborhood also features the Riverwest Art Walk, the state's largest walking tour of artists' homes and studios, neighborhood galleries, and various alternative spaces. In 2003, the neighborhood was the subject of its own book, Riverwest: A Community History, by Tom Tolan. In 2011, the neighborhood was the subject of a play, Riverwest: a Rhapsody, written by Eric Theis, and performed by Broom Street Theater in Madison.
Beerline B runs along the north side of the Milwaukee River, adjacent to the southern end of Brewers Hill, between Palmer St. and Humboldt Blvd. or the Milwaukee River. The Beerline is centered around one street, Commerce Street. The Holton Viaduct with its marsupial bridge runs overhead through the center of the Beerline, connecting Brady Street (Lower East Side) with Holton Street (Brewer's Hill, Riverwest, and Harambee).
Commerce Street was originally the bed of a canal to the Rock River owned by Byron Kilbourn, Increase Lapham and others, and dug by workers under the direction of merchant-contractor William W. Brown. The canal project failed, the canal was filled in and became Commerce Street. By the 1850s, breweries, tanneries, lumberyards, coal piles, and other industrial uses dominated the river valley along Commerce Street.
The Beerline in its present form developed in the 1990s after the removal of the Beerline B railroad spur that once provided service to Pabst, Blatz, and Schlitz breweries just south of the neighborhood. Now, the neighborhood is primarily an area of condominium development. The neighborhood is also home to Lakefront Brewery, which advertises itself as "the southernmost point in Riverwest".
The Beerline might be called an "emerging" neighborhood, since it was formerly considered part of Riverwest by residents when it was largely an undeveloped, post-industrial brownfield. The City of Milwaukee's official neighborhoods map does not include the Beerline, and the Milwaukee Department of City Development has said the Beerline is not being considered a neighborhood by the city. Nevertheless, it has developed its own neighborhood association, and a distinct identity appears to be emerging in the Beerline. Adding to the ambiguity, police redistricting has separated and (in 2009) rejoined the Beerline with Riverwest, while harp lights on Commerce St. east of Humboldt display banners that identify that section of Commerce St. as the "Rivercrest neighborhood", referring to the Rivercrest condominia there.
Milwaukee's West Side
Avenues West is an area west of Milwaukee's downtown. It is bordered by I-43 on the east, 27th St. on the west, I-94 on the south, and on the north by Highland Avenue. While in the recent past this neighborhood has been one of low income levels and property values, it has seen some signs of beginning redevelopment. The most commonly cited example being the Ambassador Hotel that, until recently, was linked with drug dealing and prostitution and has since been restored to an upscale establishment. Prostitution, although not quite as prevalent as it was 10 years ago is still a concern in the Avenues West area. In an attempt to help control crime in this area, Marquette University went so far as to provide a small additional station for the Milwaukee Police Department's 3rd District, fittingly named "Avenues West". Other notable places in the area include Marquette University, the Pabst Mansion, the Joseph B. Kalvelage House and the Rave/Eagles Ballroom. The western portion of the neighborhood along 27th Street has been recently dubbed SoHi (i.e., South of Highland Boulevard) by the business owners to help jumpstart the area.
On May 18, 2006 a construction worker unearthed human remains in the neighborhood believed to be the location of Milwaukee's first cemetery established in the First Ward (known as the "Old Cemetery") near 22nd and Michigan. Thirteen burials have since been identified, and archaeologists are unsure if they are remnants from the Old Cemetery or an earlier burial site used by a Potawatomi village.
University Hill (or simply Marquette) is a campus neighborhood, generally combined with the Avenues West neighborhood (since it is within), that, as its name implies, is home to the Marquette University campus. The neighborhood encompasses 93-acre (380,000 m2) from 9th Street on the east, to 20th Street on the west, and from Wells Street on the north, to Clybourn Street on the south. Wisconsin Avenue, a major thoroughfare in Milwaukee, bisects the campus neighborhood. The neighborhood is positioned adjacent northwest and partially northeast of the Marquette Interchange, which was named so because of its proximity to Marquette University. Lake Michigan is roughly one mile east of the neighborhood. Gesu Church is located within the campus' urban setting, but is not affiliated with the University. The area was at one time the site of the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds.
Cold Spring Park
Cold Spring Park is a small neighborhood near the Miller Brewing Company on the west side. Cold Spring Park has been around since the mid-19th century. It is named for a natural spring that was found in the northwest corner of the neighborhood (then bounded by 27th Street, 35th Street, West Juneau Avenue, and Vliet Street). As far as crime, Cold Spring Park is a rather calm area, as opposed to other nearby sections of Milwaukee.
In 1852, Cold Spring Park was the site of the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society fair and exhibition. During the American Civil War, Cold Spring Park became Camp Washburn, housing the 2nd Cavalry, 30th Infantry, and the 39th Regiment. After the Civil War, Cold Spring Park once again became a race track. A race that was commemorated by Currier and Ives depicted an 1871 record breaking race by the mare Goldsmith Maid, with a time of 2 minutes and 17 seconds.
Adjacent to Cold Spring Park was the Cold Spring House, a hotel which housed visitors and drivers for the races. It was notorious for its gambling, cockfights, courtesans and dances. At the close of the 19th century, Milwaukee saw a population boom, prompting two new streets in Cold Spring Park; Highland Boulevard (1896) and McKinley Boulevard (1906).
Cold Spring Park initially drew German-American residents of the moderate to upper income scale. The upper end residing primarily on Highland and McKinley, while the middle to moderate income resided on Juneau and the numbered streets. Highland Blvd, Juneau Ave, and McKinley Blvd are designated as historical streets by the city of Milwaukee.
Historic Concordia is an area between 27th St, 35th St, Wisconsin Ave, and Highland Blvd on Milwaukee's near west side. It is the home of both a local historic district and many national register historic properties, such as the Tripoli Shrine Temple. Many Victorian homes in the neighborhood have been converted into bed and breakfasts. Notable homes include the 1850s Tower House and 1860s Col. Theodore Yates residence. Several private residences are opened to the public each year on the Saturday of Fathers Day weekend for a home tour by Historic Concordia Neighbors, Inc.
Concordia college (now known as Concordia University) was located in the neighborhood for 100 years, until 1983. The college's former facilities, between 31st and 33rd streets and State St. and Highland Blvd., are now home to the Indian Community School.
Tripoli Shrine Temple on Wisconsin at 30th
The Enderis Park neighborhood is a primarily residential neighborhood bounded by North 76th Street, North 67th Street, West Center Street, and Burleigh/Lisbon Avenue. Many houses date from the 1930s and 1940s. The geographic and cultural heart of the neighborhood is the Enderis Playfield, named for Dorothy Enderis, a public recreation pioneer who retired as an assistant superintendent in the Milwaukee Public Schools teacher in 1948. In 2006, neighbors rallied to rejuvenate the park, which had fallen into disrepair. Magic Grove, a monumental steel sculpture by Wisconsin artist Nancy Metz White, was installed, providing a community gathering place in the park.
Kops Park is bordered by N 92nd Street to the west, W Burleigh Street to the south, W Lisbon Avenue to the north, and N 76th Street to the east. The neighborhood is centered around Kops Park, named after Gerald Henry Kops, a Milwaukee County Supervisor.
Located between Granville and Wauwatosa, Grantosa Heights is a highly urban neighborhood with a diverse population. This is a lower middle class area with predominantly African-American and Laotian residents. The neighborhood is named after Grantosa Drive, which seems to be the border with Midtown. Much of the architecture consists of tract homes from the 1950s and 1960s. In recent years, this neighborhood has become home to many of the refugees that have fled Laos.
The Martin Drive neighborhood is located on Milwaukee's west side. The neighborhood is located north and west of Miller Brewing Company. It includes Harley-Davidson and the Highland Avenue Viaduct. The neighborhood was built up in the 1920s and is home to several old apartment buildings. The neighborhood has retained its density and is still one of the safest neighborhoods in the city. Martin Drive is bordered by Martin Drive in the south, 35th Street in the east, Vliet Street in the north, and US 41 in the west. Milwaukee's Washington Park is located adjacent, just north of the neighborhood.
After several decades of stagnant growth the neighborhood is now seeing redevelopment with a few new businesses and building renovations. As such, the neighborhood supports many small and upstart businesses such as Eat Cake, Milwaukee Nut Company, a law office and State Street Animal Hospital among others. Martin Drive has several private and public schools nearby. Grocery stores, hardware stores and pharmacies are within close proximity to the Martin Drive Neighborhood. The neighborhood has a strong and dedicated volunteer-led neighborhood association, the Martin Drive Neighborhood Association.
Merrill Park is a residential neighborhood east of Piggsville. Its traditional boundaries are 27th Street on the east, 35th Street on the west, Wisconsin Avenue on the north, and the Menomonee Valley on the south. Traditionally an Irish-American enclave, it is now an ethnically diverse neighborhood. There is little in the way of commerce in Merrill Park, largely confined to the boundary streets, which are major arterials.
Merrill Park was an early home to Milwaukee's Irish community. Many Irish settled in Merrill Park along with the rest of the west side of Milwaukee. The southern portion of the neighborhood was demolished in the 1950s in order to build Interstate 94. The 1960s brought on several redevelopment projects including streetscaping, new homes, and a new public housing tower. Marquette University High School has stayed in the neighborhood and has invested heavily in improving its campus and the surrounding neighborhood.
The neighborhood is seeing major physical improvements. Several new homes have been built on former vacant lots. Several old homes have been purchased and renovated. The Wisconsin Humane Society has made this neighborhood its primary location. Marquette University High School is undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation and construction project as well.
Piggsville is a small residential enclave, four blocks by six blocks, at the west end of the Menomonee River Valley, south of Miller Brewing and the Wisconsin Avenue viaduct, and north of Interstate 94. Various theories have been proposed about its name, but none have been proven true. It is also known as Valley Park, and its neighborhood association is the Valley Park Civic Association. Most of its homes were built in the early 20th century. The area was annexed by the city of Milwaukee in 1925 after petition by its residents. Flooding has been a problem because of its river valley location, and a new concrete retaining wall was built in 2000.
Mount Mary surrounds Mount Mary University. It is bordered by Concordia Ave. on the north, 89th St. on the east, Center St. on the south and Menomonee River Parkway on the west. With several curvilinear streets and fewer sidewalks, it resembles a suburban neighborhood. Most of the homes were built in the 1950s. The city of Wauwatosa is to the south and to the west. Milwaukee County Kops and Cooper Parks also border this neighborhood. Portions are also named Golden Valley which is composed of 1950's tract homes built primarily by Welbilt Homes and Corrigan Buliders.
Story Hill is a neighborhood located directly north of Miller Park and south of the Washington Heights neighborhood, on the west side of Milwaukee. Story Hill is named for Hiram Story. Hiram, along with his brother Horace, founded a quarry on the land in this neighborhood. The neighborhood itself lies on a hill just south of Wisconsin Avenue and is characterized by quiet, tree-lined streets and an isolated feel, in sharp contrast to the busier and more depressed neighborhoods that surround it.
Story Hill was developed in the 1920s as a sanctuary for middle class Milwaukeeans living just east toward downtown, in the once affluent Concordia district. Demand for larger lots and a more suburban feel fueled the development of Story Hill. The housing stock consists of ornate early 20th-century houses, usually made of brick.
Walnut Hill is a predominantly African-American neighborhood on the west side, bordered by 27th Street, 35th Street, Vliet Street, and North Avenue. There is also a strong southeast Asian (Hmong) presence here. The neighborhood is one of the most blighted in the city. Parts of the neighborhood include streets without homes and large vacant lots. Despite severe problems in the neighborhood, several homes are under construction and some middle-income proposals are beginning to be seen.
Washington Heights is a neighborhood characterized by its 1920s Arts and Crafts housing stock. The boundaries of Washington Heights are 60th St. on the west, North Ave. on the north, 47th St. and Washington Park on the east, and Vliet St. on the south. I
St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church is a prominent congregation in the area, dating back to the 1920s. Mount Olive Lutheran Church and School situated across the street from Saint Sebastian Catholic Church and School, built respectively in the 1920s and 1930s, at North 54th Street and Washington Boulevard, are large congregations which both serve as strong cornerstones within the neighborhood. There has been significant business growth along its Vliet Street corridor, with many new art galleries, wine shops and restaurants. One business, a long time coffee shop recently turned pizzeria, is unique in that it has a large coffee cup on the roof. The central administrative office building of Milwaukee Public Schools is located in this neighborhood.
Washington Heights, a neighborhood that advertises itself as, "In the City — Out of the Ordinary!" lies along Milwaukee's western border. While the neighborhood is now only minutes from downtown and close urban amenities, this area was once considered remote.
Development of the area began in 1838 when the federal government gave a parcel of land to the Wisconsin Territory. The land was intended for a canal that would connect the Rock River to Lake Michigan, but the venture quickly failed. The land was sold to private investors.
In 1839, roughly two-thirds of what is now known as Washington Heights was purchased by George Dousman and turned into an immense farm. In addition to its agricultural operation, the Dousman family founded the Ne-Ska-Ra Mineral Springs Company, which sold bottled water from a spring on their property. Today an elementary school named Neeskara occupies the land where the spring flowed. Later, the Dousman land was sold in several parcels between the 1880s and the 1920s.
Early settlement of the area owed much to two major 19th Century projects — the extension of the streetcar line to Wauwatosa and the construction of Washington Park.
The area has a notably-strong neighborhood organization, the Washington Heights Neighborhood Association.
Washington Park is located on Milwaukee's West Side and is bordered by 35th street in the east, US-41 in the west, Vliet Street in the south, and North Avenue in the north. Sherman Boulevard and Lisbon Avenue run through the neighborhood. Sherman Boulevard is lined with large brick homes and old trees. In the 1950s, Lisbon was a major business street, today though, with a rise in prostitution and the crime that comes with prostitution, it is home to several vacant storefronts. The neighborhood is now settled by a majority African American population.
Washington Park, (originally West Park), a 128.5-acre (520,000 m2) focal point and namesake of the neighborhood, was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, famed designer of New York's Central Park, and built in 1891. The Milwaukee County Zoo started in this neighborhood in 1892 as the "West Park Zoological Gardens," a small mammal and bird exhibit in the West Park barn.
On September 20, 1900, the West Park was renamed Washington Park and the zoo followed suit by renaming to Washington Park Zoo. The zoo was relocated to its present location when Washington Park lost an 18-acre (73,000 m2) parcel of park property for the freeway expansion in the early 1960s. Iceskating and regular outdoor concerts occurred in Washington Park up until the early 1970s. Today, the park houses an amphitheatre and pool. In 2007, Milwaukee's Urban Ecology Center (headquartered in Riverside Park on the East Side) opened at satellite center in the park in an effort to help rejuvenate the run-down green space and provide interactive programming of nature to local youth.
At the intersection of Lisbon and Sherman, the heart of the neighborhood, stands a magnificent equestrian statue of Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, a German general who assisted George Washington in the American Revolutionary War. Across from this traffic circle stands the new Washington Park Library, which has replaced the old Boulevard Inn, which burned down in the 1990s.
The East Town neighborhood encompasses the eastern portion of downtown Milwaukee's central business district from the Milwaukee River on the west to Lake Michigan on the east, and from Ogden Avenue (i.e., the lower East Side) on the north to Clybourn (i.e., the Third Ward) on the south.
Yankee Hill is a key part of the East Town neighborhood, being situated within East Town's boundaries, but closer to the lake and north of downtown. The East Town area also contains the historic Juneau Town settlement, which had competed with the neighboring Kilbourn Town (present-day Westown) for people and resources. With the Milwaukee River as the division, these two "towns" have remarkably different feels. East Town has dense, narrower streets and a more intimate feel, whereas Westown has broad, vast streets with older buildings.
The buildings in East Town are indeed newer. The strikingly modern skyscrapers of the Northwestern Mutual Life complex and Milwaukee's tallest building, the U.S. Bank Center, as well as the city's four other tallest buildings, dominate the eastern portion of the neighborhood. Other noteworthy buildings include the Chase Bank building, the Wisconsin Gas Building, the Faison building, and the Morgan Stanley building. Two large condominium developments, Kilbourn Tower and University Club tower, have been recently completed in the northern half of the neighborhood. Both buildings are over 32 stories tall and have multi-million dollar penthouse units.
The neighborhood also contains the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist and Old St. Mary's Church which have survived from the early days of Milwaukee. The East Town neighborhood association hosts Jazz in the Park, an outdoor music concert series at Cathedral Square Park. The area has become the center of Milwaukee nightlife featuring several trendy nightclubs, and outdoor upscale eateries. In summer, East Town sponsors the Parisian festival Bastille Days and in winter the Holiday City of Lights. The Milwaukee School of Engineering campus is also located in this neighborhood.
Astor Hotel in Yankee Hill section
Milwaukee City Hall circa 1900
Wisconsin Gas Building on corner of N. Van Buren and E. Wisconsin
Jazz in the Park, Cathedral Square Park
Menomonee River Valley
The Menomonee Valley was once the industrial heart of the city of Milwaukee, employing thousands of people in heavy industry and railroading. Despite decades of decline, the Valley is still home to several manufacturers, the Potawatomi Casino, and Miller Park, the home field of the Milwaukee Brewers. The Menomonee Valley is also home to the Harley-Davidson Museum, which opened in July 2008.
Redevelopment in the Menomonee Valley has added thousands of jobs and transformed once-blighted former industrial land into parkland and community gathering space. In 2007, the Sierra Club recognized the Menomonee Valley as a national example of environmentally friendly urban renewal.
The Hank Aaron State Trail in the Valley
Historic Third Ward
Once home to Irish, and then, Italian immigrants, the Historic Third Ward, located just south of downtown, is now an upper-class neighborhood. The Third Ward is noted for a large number of condominia and loft apartments, antique stores, boutiques and art galleries. Access to Milwaukee's Maier Festival Grounds, best known for Summerfest, can be obtained from through this neighborhood. It is home to the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, ComedySportz, and it is also a center of Milwaukee's gay and lesbian community. Located just west of this now trendy neighborhood of nightclubs and outdoor "River Walk" restaurants, is Milwaukee's main transportation hub and the Milwaukee Intermodal Station, which services Amtrak, Greyhound Bus Lines, and Badger Bus (Madison, WI).
The neighborhood is referred to as the Historic Third Ward since redistricting over the years currently has the area in the fourth (political) ward.
Westown is an area west of the Milwaukee River and downtown, bounded by I-794 on the south, Marquette University neighborhood on the west, McKinley Avenue on the north, and the river on the east.
The neighborhood comprises the original Kilbourn Town in what is now downtown Milwaukee. The Shops of Grand Avenue, along with various theaters, restaurants, nightclubs, lies along Wisconsin Avenue. Other attractions in this neighborhood include the Milwaukee Public Museum, the Bradley Center, the US Cellular Arena, the Milwaukee County Courthouse and Old World Third Street.
The area has also become a focal point for Milwaukee's urban scene with events such as RiverSplash!, a three-day block party which kicks off Milwaukee's summer festival season, and River Rhythms, both held at Pere Marquette Park.
The Westown neighborhood has seen a substantial amount of redevelopment in the last ten years. It is home to one of Milwaukee's two free, public Wi-Fi outdoor Hotspots located in Pere Marquette Park. Within West Town about 3,000 reside. Some skyscrapers like the Wisconsin Tower have been converted into upscale condominiums. The city of Milwaukee has wanted to develop West Town as a place to eat, work and live.
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- Dan Knauss, "Where is Riverwest?" Riverwest Currents January 2003.
- JS Online: Avenues West opening up
- "Milwaukee's SOHI district". December 25, 2005.
- Uncovering a mystery of early residents, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 1, 2006.
- Welcome To Historic Concordia
- Ziegler, Jerry, "At home, in the park: Enderis residents take pride in community", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb.24, 2008
- Gould, Whitney, "Neighbors help park bloom anew: Enderis among Mayor's Urban Design winners," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 27, 2007
- Crime Statistics for the city of Milwaukee http://www.ci.mil.wi.us/CrimeMaps115300.htm
- Martin Drive Neighborhood Association
- Greg Pearson, "Mount Mary provides anchor College and river parkway community a study in harmony", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 3, 2001.
- Washington Park: A Profile of Milwaukee's Washington Park Neighborhood
- [Dave Johnson, "History of Martin Drive Neighborhood" http://martindrive.org/Frame%20History%20welcome.htm]
- Map of East Town - easttown.com
- Map of Westown neighborhood
- City of Milwaukee. "WiFi User Instructions". Archived from the original on 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2008-03-22.
- Milwaukee Neighborhood Identification Project: May 2000 neighborhood map
- My Milwaukee Home - indicates the neighborhood for any inputed Milwaukee street address
- Milwaukee Department of City Development: Neighborhood Posters
- Milwaukee Neighborhood Guide from UWM Library
- Milwaukee Neighborhoods: Photos and Maps 1885-1992 - Digital collection from the UWM Libraries.