Greetings From Milwaukee County Parks

A postcard history of Milwaukee parks.

Court house square (1912) by Acmegraph CoMilwaukee County Parks

In the early 20th century postcards were a cheap and popular way of communicating with friends and family. Scenic views of Milwaukee's parks were a popular subject.

These postcards can help tell the story of Milwaukee's parks too.

Milwaukee's first public parks were created in the 1830s. The sites included Courthouse Square, now known as Cathedral Square Park, and Fourth Ward Park, now named Zeilder Union Square Park.

Eighth ward park (1911) by C Kropp CoMilwaukee County Parks

Other public squares were created during the late 19th century, and often featured fountains or walking paths. Several of these parks still exist today as 'pocket parks'.

Blatz Pavilion postcardMilwaukee County Parks

During the 1850's and 60's, private beer gardens began to open. Many were operated by the local breweries, including Schlitz Park, Pabst Park and Blatz Park, shown here.

view of Juneau by EC Kropp CoMilwaukee County Parks

'Seventeenth Ward Park' was Milwaukee's first lakefront park, created in 1870. Now known as Juneau Park, the site was described as Milwaukee's 'Bay of Naples'.

Juneau park cannon by C.N. Caspar Co.Milwaukee County Parks

Features in Juneau Park included a Spanish cannon shown here.

Solomon Juneau statue (1910) by M.L AnnenbergMilwaukee County Parks

And the statue of Solomon Juneau, founder of Milwaukee, which still stands in Juneau Park today.

Water tower parkMilwaukee County Parks

In the 1880's Milwaukee's only other public parks were the grounds of the Milwaukee water works operations.

Park sites included Kilbourn Reservoir Park and Water Works Park - the land surrounding the NorthPoint Water Tower and the site of the city's first water pumping station.

Mckinley beach by John T FaberMilwaukee County Parks

Another water works site, Flushing Tunnel Park, was later renamed to McKinley Park. McKinley beach featured a bathing house and the Milwaukee yacht club headquarters.

Lake Park concerete bridge (1913) by E.C Kropp Co PublishingMilwaukee County Parks

In 1889, as a reaction to private beer gardens, the Milwaukee Parks Commission was formed to create spaces in the city. In 1890 they identified the first five park sites to purchase.

The first parks developed included Lake Park.

Mitchell Park conservatory from sunken gardenMilwaukee County Parks

Mitchell Park, the site of the Milwaukee Horticultural Conservatory.

Kozy Park boathouse by Acmegraph CoMilwaukee County Parks

Coleman Park, later named Kosciuszko Park.

Humboldt Park boathouse (1912) by E.A. Bishop PublishingMilwaukee County Parks

South Park, later renamed Humboldt Park.

Riverside Park postcardMilwaukee County Parks

And River Park, now known as Riverside Park.

Washington Park monkey islandMilwaukee County Parks

In 1891 the parks commission added land for North Park, now called Sherman Park; and for West Park, now called Washington Park, which became the home of the Milwaukee County Zoo, shown here.

Highland Blvd (1919)Milwaukee County Parks

With seven park sites under development, the parks commission also created a plan to connect the parks with a series of scenic boulevards.

Grant Park scenic view postcardMilwaukee County Parks

In 1907 the Milwaukee County Parks Commission was formed to create parks outside of city limits. The first parks created were County Park - now Grant Park; and Sholes Park, now called Jacobus Park.

Home for Dependent Children by John T FaberMilwaukee County Parks

The County government also managed parkland at sites such as the Soldier's Home and the Home for Dependent Children, shown here, which is now the site of the Milwaukee Parks administration office.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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