*Original watercolor art by Steve Slaske, Skyline City Prints
Growing to New Heights
Lindsay Heights was selected by The Cultural Landscape Foundation as one of 13 locations to be featured in its Landslide Report and Exhibition.
Before freeways replaced houses and the unrest of the 1960s drove businesses out of historic Lindsay Heights, the 30-block area adjacent to Bronzeville on Milwaukee’s north side was a thriving, working-class African American neighborhood. Named after community activist Bernice Lindsay, many Black professionals began to move into the neighborhood’s remarkable homes as Bronzeville grew and prospered.
After 30 years of blight and deterioration, a vision to restore the century-old neighborhood to its original beauty began to take shape. This vision included building new houses on vacant lots that reflected the traditional styles of Milwaukee homes: Victorian, Queen Anne, and American Foursquare. Other priorities included restoring existing, older homes; cleaning up neighborhoods; and improving the quality of life for residents. WHEDA began the work of constructing Lindsay Heights homes in the 1990s, and the project ended up being a huge success. Meanwhile, the remaining residents worked to rebuild their community by turning vacant lots into green spaces, parks, and community gardens. Refer to the Lindsay Heights Quality of Life Plan here.
WHEDA, along with its partners, the City of Milwaukee, private industry, non-profits, and the residents worked together to restore Lindsay Heights to its former state of vitality. By 2005, WHEDA had funded 100 mortgage loans totaling $13 million. With community support, 165 new houses were built, 221 homes were rehabilitated, and 350 existing buildings were renovated, demonstrating that neighborhood revitalization in Milwaukee was possible.
Lindsay Heights is a neighborhood with a rich history. Residents are using their stories to inspire eye-catching murals and other artwork installations that will beautify and enrich the community as part of an art initiative. They have found a creative way to honor the past while moving into the neighborhood’s bright future.
The vibrant community is also placing an emphasis on sustainability, which is anchored by urban gardens that promote local food in addition to parks that encourage the benefits of outdoor living. Its combination of deep-rooted culture, food and wellness, and classic hotspots such as the Fondy Farmer’s Market and Alice’s Garden Urban Farm, are huge draws for visitors. Lindsay Heights puts the culture in agriculture and elevates an old Milwaukee neighborhood to a whole new [award-winning] level.
Learn more about Milwaukee’s first Eco-Neighborhood and their sustainability initiatives here.