Independence First was renovated from a bakery factory to become one of the most accessible buildings in the country. The rustic warehouse features were preserved and universal design makes it a building all can enjoy.

 Independence First is a nonprofit dedicated to serving people with disabilities in the Milwaukee metro area, a mission evident even in the design of their building. Purposeful patterns and natural tones make the space more restful for everyone, but also easier to navigate for visually impaired people. Skylights in the exposed wooden beam ceilings allow natural light to filter in and limit the need for harsh fluorescents that can cause headaches. Independence First also houses powerful artworks created by people with disabilities, including photography from world-renowned disability rights photographer, Tom Olin. On a tour, you’ll see these features and more you’ve never imagined!  

 Located in Milwaukee’s historic Walker’s Point Neighborhood, this is not your average office space. Inside you’ll find anything from cooking and poetry classes to support groups to advocates fighting for civil rights. Come explore the Assistive Technology Lab and Resource Center, ride an accessible bike or scooter, and experience the sensory garden!  

Independence First is a fragrance-free facility and has in place a Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Policy. Please refrain from wearing scents of any kind.

540 S 1st St, Milwaukee, WI, USA

Saturday Hours
10 am - 5 pm

Sunday Hours
Not Open

Photography, Video

Handicapped Accessible
Fully wheelchair accessible

Masks Required


Photo Tour