About the Neighborhood
The neighborhood fits snugly into the geography of today's West Side, but its roots reach back much farther--all the way to the heart of the city. It was here, in the mid-1800s, that Milwaukeeans of ample means--some of extravagant means--developed one of the city's first mansion districts. The plutocrats built their way west for generations. The result was a new link in the long chain of middle- to upper-income settlements that would eventually reach the western limits of Brookfield. In a neighborhood filled with success stories, Washington and Hi Mount boulevards attracted people who were more successful than most.
The Washington Park area consists of three small-scale residential districts that frame the largest area of green space on Milwaukee's West Side. Those residential pockets--Walnut Hill, Washington Park, and Martin Drive--house no more than 8,000 people among them. The park itself is an urban oasis and boasts some incredible amenities for neighbors to enjoy year round.
Featured photo of Washington Park Wednesdays in 2019, by Neighborhood News Service, Adam Carr.
Places to Visit
Take a walk, bike, or drive and appreciate the diverse architectural styles of the homes in this historic district, built beginning in 1912. The district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The park offers a beautiful amphitheater that hosts a summer concert series. The original branch of the Urban Ecology Center is also located in the park. The park’s designer, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead, believed that open space in nature promotes health and well-being. He created Washington Park with the intention of improving society by encouraging varying urban demographics to gather in a natural setting.
While you're in the neighborhood, check out dining, retail, and entertainment options on this thriving commercial corridor. Visit the West Vliet Street BID page to check out places to visit!
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.