Milwaukee Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Milwaukee Avenue

Milwaukee Avenue
Address: Milwaukee Avenue
Neighborhood/s: Seward, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Hennepin County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year Established: 1883
Founded by: William Ragan
Historic Function: Housing development
Current Function: Historic district

Seward Minneapolis Hennepin County

Milwaukee Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota
(44.960954,-93.239997warning.png"44.960954.-93.239997" is not a number. )
National Register of Historic Places Information
Reference Number: 74001021

"Milwaukee Avenue Immediately south of Franklin Avenue between 22nd and 23rd Avenues South For several decades following the inception of government-sponsored and financed urban renewal, the long-standing federal government practice of using the bulldozer for property clearance had become a principal redevelopment tool.

However, the clear-cutting of urban neighborhoods came to a halt in the mid 1970s in Seward Neighborhood in South Minneapolis, when a well-organized neighborhood group used the political tools of the resurgent grass roots activism of that era, and thwarted the Minneapolis Housing and Redevelopment Authority’s plan to demolish neglected but piquant rows of century-old workers’ houses facing an unusually narrow street named Milwaukee Avenue.

These houses, as well as many in the surrounding neighborhood, had become the first houses in America for Scandinavian and Northern European immigrants who formed this neighborhood in the 1880s and 1890s to be near their places of labor in the nearby railroad yards and factories.

The Seward West Project Area Committee (PAC) utilized the sharp pencils of staff-based urban design and planning resources as well as their well-honed political tactics to envision a four-block area redevelopment plan. The PAC saw the deteriorated single unit and duplex houses facing Milwaukee Avenue to be a potential National Register historic district, based on their immigrant history as well as the architectural continuity of Queen Anne-inspired vernacular brick houses lined on narrow lots along the street.

PAC worked with the Minnesota Historical Society to gain National Register designation for Milwaukee Avenue in 1974 (and later had to pressure a reluctant Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission to follow suit). PAC then worked with a now-agreeable housing authority to administer the overall redevelopment process including financing assistance for house rehab, developed historic preservation guidelines with the now-agreeable HPC, prepared drawings for contractors to follow, and designed a site plan to replace the narrow street with a pedestrian mall. A dozen houses that the PAC determined unsuitable for rehab were replaced by replica new construction,

Milwaukee Avenue has become a successful outcome in several respects. Historic preservation was no longer the exclusive province of the places of the well-privileged and renown members of society. Vernacular houses could be recognized as having architectural merit. And a neighborhood gained renewal in a much more appropriate manner." (text: Bob Roscoe) [1]

Bob Roscoe was one of the young architects that revitalized Milwaukee Avenue. He became an active leader of the PAC and lived in a Milwaukee Avenue house that he and fellow residents restored.


Memories and stories

Photo Gallery

Related Links

City of Minneapolis - Milwaukee Avenue

Wikipedia Milwaukee Avenue

Jerilee Richtman (Reilly)'s article Milwaukee Avenue Restoration

Rake Magazine Milwaukee Avenue

Finding Minnesota Milwaukee Avenue

Milwaukee Avenue on You Tube

Milwaukee Avenue Homeowners Association


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