Milwaukee’s Brady Street neighborhood, bounded by the Milwaukee River, Lake Michigan, Ogdon Avenue, and Kane Place, is arguably the most densely-populated square mile in the state of Wisconsin. A mix of historic shops, single-family homes, apartments, and condos, Brady Street boasts of great diversity that draws from many distinct eras. It began in the mid-19th century as a crossroads between middle-class Yankees from the east and early German settlers. Polish and Italian immigrants soon followed, working the mills, tanneries, and breweries that lined the riverbank. After these groups had assimilated and many of their descendents moved to the suburbs, the hippies in the 1960s arrived with their counterculture to fill the void. By the 1980s, the area fell into blight, neglect, and decay; now, a true model for new urbanism, the Brady Street neighborhood is in the midst of a renaissance.
About The Author
Frank D. Alioto, a lieutenant with the Milwaukee Fire Department, has authored his monthly column, “A Brief History Lesson,” for Brady Street News since 1996. He has also volunteered for the Milwaukee County Historical Society and is a guide for walking tours through several city neighborhoods with Historic Milwaukee, Inc.
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