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Our walking tour season starts May 19! Check out Tours for information.

Spaces & Traces Coverage

Spaces & Traces will take place viturally from May 6 - 16 and showcase home tours + live events.

Article from the Journal Sentinel:

These Milwaukee-area home tours are happening in 2021 (some in person, some virtual)

Joanne Kempinger Demski, Special to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

While we couldn’t get out and see some of our area's unique homes and neighborhoods at home tours in 2020 due to the pandemic, things are looking up this year.

A substantial number of tours are happening; some are virtual, but some you can attend in person.

The Spaces and Traces tour, organized by Historic Milwaukee, will be virtual.

Grace Fuhr, events director at Historic Milwaukee, Inc. said it will feature the Harambee and Riverwest neighborhoods from May 6 to 16, and will include 20 buildings; 17 of them private homes.

The same neighborhoods had been selected to be featured last year, but the event was canceled.

 “We had already done all the research, the planning and the coordinating, and we still wanted to able to showcase these neighborhoods,” she said.

She said these neighborhoods were initially selected because Harambee has never been featured by the group before, and because this will be the first time in 10 years Riverwest has been included.

“Both are worthy of showcasing because they are architecturally diverse and have many historic homes. .. some were built by brewers and are significant and large. But there are also some smaller worker cottages. It’s a collection of homes that varies in architecture, style and size dramatically,” she said.

The tour will include photo galleries primarily of interiors of homes, but also of exteriors, and live presentations will be offered throughout the event, she said.

They include a presentation on the restoration of a Riverwest funeral home, and a talk by historian John Gurda on the histories of Harambee and Riverwest. There will also be small group discussions on gentrification and its effects on Milwaukee's communities with Reggie Jackson, co-founder of Nurturing Diversity Partners, and a talk titled “Historic King Drive” by Deshea Agee, executive director of the Historic King Drive Business Improvement District.

Among the buildings that tour-goers will want to see is a funeral home in Riverwest that was converted into a home, Fuhr said.

“There is still an embalming room you will be able to view, and there’s a parlor that used to be a visitation space. There’s also a beautiful living space on second floor,” she said.

A Queen Anne home in the Harambee neighborhood built in 1888 should also be seen.

“This one is significant because it’s very large. It’s a three-story home with a grand staircase, but the amazing thing is that it was a city-owned duplex. About two years ago the current owners complexly renovated it using historic tax credits but kept its historic integrity,” she said.

Two other homes of note are a new construction in Riverwest that is contemporary in style and has an artist’s studio, and a Gothic Revival style home built in 1885 in Harambee that was redone and includes a bohemian eclectic style interior with a lot of original artwork, Fuhr said.

The event will also include a free app for a virtual or in-person/self-guided walk along the Beerline Trail,  a historic railway corridor that has been converted to a pedestrian trail connecting Harambee and Riverwest.