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Bay View Historic District
Beulah Brinton House.jpg
Home of Beulah Brinton, an early community figure
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Location Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Built 1867
Architect multiple
Architectural style Bungalow/Craftsman, Late Victorian
NRHP reference No. 82000686
Added to NRHP 23 August 1982
(41 years ago)

Bay View is a neighborhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States, North America on the shores of Lake Michigan, south of the downtown area and north of the City of St. Francis. Bay View existed as an independent village for eight years, from 1879 to 1887.

Historic settlement

The original Village of Bay View is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Bay View Historic District. According to the designation, it is bounded by Lake Michigan to the east, and roughly from Meredith Street to Superior, up to Nock Street and then from Wentworth Avenue to Pryor Avenue.

The first permanent European settlement of the Bay View area was in 1834; Horace Chase, future Milwaukee mayor, is credited as the first permanent settler. In 1855, the Green Bay, Milwaukee and Chicago Rail Road established its first Milwaukee-area depot in Bay View. The community was named for their scenic views upon the lake.

A company town

In 1868, the Milwaukee Iron Company opened a plant in the area, and Bay View was established as a company town. By 1879, Bay View had a population of 2,592, and incorporated as a village, on approx 1.4 sq mi (3.6 km2). of land.

The rolling mills at bay view milwaukee 1882
The rolling mills at Bay View in 1882

By 1886, Bay View had become a center of workers' rights activism, the culmination of which was the Bay View Massacre.

Milwaukee neighborhood

In 1887, the village's approximately 4,000 residents voted overwhelmingly to be annexed to the city of Milwaukee, becoming the city's 17th ward and ending the community's independent status. Bay View was annexed because of the "Fernwood Model," where the neighborhood received many incentives from the city of Milwaukee such as sewers, sidewalks, street lights, and other public necessities. The residents of Bay View saw the annexation of Milwaukee as a way to improve their lives and community. Thenceforth, the village has been a Milwaukee neighborhood.

Although the neighborhood boundaries of Bay View have grown over the years as more and more people identify with it, the specific boundaries given by the Milwaukee Neighborhood Identification Project are: along the border of Lake Michigan, south of Jones Island, from Lincoln Avenue to the north and Howell Avenue to the west, south to Morgan Avenue. Many residents consider both Fernwood and portions of Tippecanoe neighborhoods as parts of Bay View. Some sources list the southern boundary as Howard Avenue. The Bay View Historical Society includes the areas as far west as 6th Street, and north to Becher Street; although they admit that this is debated: "One thing most Bay Viewites will agree upon is that Bay View is not necessarily defined by precise boundaries; it is more a state of mind influenced by both Lake Michigan ("the lake") and a long history of a strong sense of community."


Within Bay View’s borders is South Shore Park, part of the Milwaukee County Park System. South Shore Park features the Oak Leaf Trail, a softball diamond, horseshoe and volleyball courts, and a pavilion overlooking the swimming beach and the marina at the South Shore Yacht Club.

Humboldt Park, one of the first parks in the city, opened in 1891 and features fishing, softball, tennis, a band shell, and ice skating and hockey on the lagoons during Winter. Humboldt park also hosts a music series in the summer called Chill on the Hill on Tuesday nights.

The Beulah Brinton Community Center offers a variety of youth, adult, and senior activities including volleyball, aerobics, yoga, toddler play groups, and senior lunch programs.

Bay View has a history of local art which has blossomed with what many consider a renaissance of the community. Venues such as The Alchemist Theatre feature a variety of live, stage performances as well as a rotating selection of paintings and photography.

Community organizations

Some of Bay View's community organizations include the Bay View Lions Club, the Bay View Historical Society, Bay View Neighborhood Association, Bay View Garden and Yard Society, Bay View Social, Bay View Arts Guild and Humboldt Park Watch.


Milwaukee Public Schools operates area public schools. Grade schools included:

  • Milwaukee Parkside School of the Arts (K-8)
    • Parkside School for the Arts was formed by a 2013 merger of Dover Street Elementary in Bay View and Tippecanoe School for the Arts & Humanities, a K-8 school in Town of Lake

Bay View High School is the area zoned high school. In 2010, only 86 students at Bay View High lived in the school's attendance zone, making up 7.5% of the school's students. Many area parents avoided the school due to substandard graduation rates and test scores. By 2011 there was a movement from area parents to revive the school's reputation by creating a university preparatory track.

Dover Street School, west of Humboldt Park, in recent years became the Bay View Montessori School - Upper Campus. In 2013 MPS had suggested converting the vacant school building into residences for teachers.

History of schools

In 1883, the first school in Bay View opened. Around 1889 that school closed and New Seventeenth District School opened in its place; it received three additional classrooms in 1893. The school was later renamed Dover Street School. The classes of Dover Street and Tippecanoe School for the Arts & Humanities, which opened in 1929, moved into the former Fritsche Middle School. The MPS board approved the proposed consolidation of the two schools in 2012, and the two schools were consolidated in 2013.

The community was previously served by Fritsche Middle School, which in 2010 was consolidated into Bay View High School.

Notable people

  • William Alldridge, Socialist machinist and politician who became a lawyer
  • Beulah Brinton was a housewife who opened her home to the families of Bay View's iron mill workers in the early 1870s.
  • Irv Comp, football player
  • Spencer Tracy, theatrical and film actor, attended Trowbridge Street School in Bay View.
  • James Groppi, civil rights activist and former Catholic priest, was born and raised in Bay View.
  • Robert R. Heider, state legislator
  • Daniel Hooker, state legislator and foundry worker
  • Esther Jones, US Olympian
  • Tony Kubek, MLB Player with the New York Yankees
  • James Lemont, state legislator
  • Ambrose McGuigan, state legislator
  • Lance Sijan, United States Air Force officer and Medal of Honor recipient
  • Pete Wagner, political cartoonist, activist, and author
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