About the Neighborhood
The Bronzeville district comprises many close neighborhoods and areas: Haymarket, Brewers Hill, Harambee, Halyard Park, Schlitz Park campus and Bronzeville Cultural Arts and Entertainment district. Bronzeville is home to a diverse and distinctive businesses that can be found on and around the King Drive Corridor. Many anchor tenants have held strong and continued to thrive since the 60’s, while newer and upcoming businesses seek to make the area their home.
The Harambee (translates to “all pull together” in Swahili) Neighborhood is located just north of Milwaukee’s central business district and is bounded by I-43 on the west, Capital Drive and the rail corridor on the north, Holton Street on the east, and Center Street to the south. Former mayor Frank Zeidler – Milwaukee’s last Socialist mayor – called the neighborhood home until his death in 2006.
The neighborhood was first settled by early German-Americans in the 1800s but became the center of Milwaukee’s African American community by the 1950s. In recent history, it has been heavily affected by redlining, slum clearance, construction of the I-43 freeway, and race riots in the summer of 1967.
As a lower to middle-class, predominantly African-American neighborhood, Harambee has recently seen an influx of upper income residents to its south and east, along its borders with Brewers Hill and River West, while the northern end is also enjoying extensive residential rehabilitation through the partnership of the City with churches, private businesses, philanthropy, neighborhood groups, business improvement districts, non-profit community development corporations, and the police department.
A quaint suburban feel with the readily available amenities of an urban environment, is often associated with Halyard Park. A community of its own Halyard Park was first developed in the 1970’s by Beechie Brooks, a community leader and real estate developer, Brooks had a vision to revitalize the central city. It is bordered by Garfield Avenue to the north, Halyard and 6th street to the west, 4th St. to the east and Brown St. to the south.
One of Milwaukee’s oldest neighborhoods, Brewers Hill is located on a bluff overlooking the Milwaukee River. Brewers Hill boomed at the turn of the 20th century as a residential area for the laborers who worked in the foundries, tanneries, mills, and breweries thatlined the river. The architecture of the area covers a wide variety of styles from Greek revival to Queen Anne, in both housing and buildings.The neighborhood is bordered by North Avenue to the north, Holton av. to the east, Pleasant St. to the south, and Martin Luther King Drive to the west.
Resting between Schlitz Brewery and Pabst Brewery Haymarket is comprised mostly of office and manufacturing buildings. A true namesake the area was once known for providing hay to the horses of the city, and as transportation progressed, the area became an open-air market for produce vendors and florist. Much of the area today is home to various types of businesses that operate out of rehabbed warehouses and industrial spaces. The residential majority in this neighborhood enjoy the industrial feel of the apartments and condos that make up the areas housing.
Places to Visit
The Bronzeville Collective MKE features over 25 local brands featuring creatives of color - almost everything in the space is either handcrafted or designed by Black and Brown Creatives! While you're there, check out the mural honoring Milwaukee judge, politician and civil rights activist Vel R. Phillips by artist artist Jasmine Wyatt.
This mural by artist Tia Richardson shows the past, the present and future. The great blue heron symbolizes, Sankofa, a Ghanaian adinkra symbol reminding us that its ok to reflect on the past in order to build a better future. The mural focuses on using arts and culture as a way to find beauty in the present moment, by embracing our strengths in order to move forward together as a global community. When we recognize our connection to each other through the Earth, she can rebirth us into a brighter future. The mural is part of the Historic Garfield redevelopment, which includes apartments and America's Black Holocaust Museum.
Since 1995, Gee’s Clippers has been an iconic Milwaukee area barber & beauty salon. Gee has been the barber to the Bucks players, Milwaukee, and national stars for over 19 years. NBA, NFL, and pro baseball cuts. Gee is the Community Partner with the Milwaukee Bucks and Milwaukee Tool.
Guidelines for Visiting Neighborhoods
While Historic Milwaukee is not opening buildings and sites to tour this year, we still encourage you to visit these recommended neighborhood locations for self-guided experiences. When visiting neighborhood locations please follow the mask ordinance - wear a mask and maintain social distance and respect residents and neighbors.
Special thanks to artist CK Ledesma who designed and created the Doors Open Neighborhoods Activity pages. Thanks also to the neighborhood leaders to contributed information and recommendations on things to do and places to see in their neighborhoods. And thank you to the Greater Milwaukee Foundation for their support of the Activity Booklet.