North Grant Boulevard Historic District
Milwaukee, Milwaukee County
Dates of contributing buildings: 1913-1931
The Grant Park Historic District stands on a portion of a former farm known as "The Cedars," belonging to pioneer Charles James. A well-known Milwaukeean, James was also noted for his beautiful gardens. After many years, James sold the land to the Wechselberg brothers, successful real estate brokers. The sale followed a real-estate boom fueled by the Milwaukee Park Commission's quest for new park sites. Thus, the Wechselbergs established the Boulevard Park Subdivision with Grant Boulevard as the centerpiece.
The brothers made great efforts to create an elite setting for the prospective residents of Grant Boulevard. The neighborhood¿s spacious appearance began with the large lot sizes and extended to the street, as the developers petitioned for boulevard status. After the city of Milwaukee approved the boulevard, Wechselbergs placed deed restrictions on lots. These restrictions, which dealt with density, the prohibition of taverns and the implementation of a minimum cost requirement for home construction, enforced a distinct character that attracted well-to-do residents to the neighborhood.
House construction began in 1913 and continued through 1931. The homes on Grant Boulevard are prime examples of Bungalow, Mediterranean, Arts and Crafts, Craftsmen, Colonial Revival, Prairie and Tudor by trained architects and builders. The high level of craftsmanship reflected the family oriented, functional, and informal ideals of Milwaukee's growing middle class. The boulevard plan and large lots create an estate-like quality despite the modest size and informal street appeal of most homes.
The initial families were prosperous young, middle-class homeowners, who remained for many years, creating a stable neighborhood. By the early 1960s, a proposed Park West Freeway resulted in the demolition of several structures resulting in property flight and social disruption. Neighborhood stability was fostered by the 23 residences used for church parsonages or homes of religious institution employees, which gave Grant Boulevard the nickname "parsonage row" or "minister's row." The Boulevard remains a stable, middle-class neighborhood.
The homes in this district are private residences. Please respect the privacy of the owners.