Historic restoration of Garden Homes residence to be showcased

Written by admin   // April 26, 2012   // 0 Comments

Alderman Ashanti Hamilton will be marking the completion of restoration work on a once endangered historic residence in the Garden Homes neighborhood during a special news event Thursday, April 26.
The remarks and ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. Thursday at 4381 N. 26th St.
Alderman Hamilton will be joined by local residents, members of the Historic Preservation Commission and HPC staff, and officials from the Neighborhood Improvement Development Corp. (NIDC). Representatives from the Wisconsin Historical Society, Historic Milwaukee, Inc., and the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance have also been invited to participate.
“This event marks a significant milestone in preserving an important part of our past, as the Garden Homes development is believed to be the nation’s first example of Garden City planning, giving Milwaukee a unique place in the history of American city planning,” Alderman Hamilton said.
At one time the home was a city-owned foreclosed property scheduled for demolition. However, after the home became part of the Garden Homes National Register Historic District it was sold by the city to a local developer who has subsequently worked with NIDC and HPC using neighborhood stabilization program (NSP) funds to renovate the house both inside and out.
“Before” photos of the property will also be available during Wednesday’s event, and reporters and photographers will also be able to tour 4381 N. 26th St.
The Garden Homes neighborhood, built in 1921-1923, was the nation’s first and only municipally-built cooperative housing development aimed at providing affordable housing.
The homes and the cooperative form of ownership were patterned after affordable housing developments in England, and the streets in Garden Homes were originally named after the English prototypes. Today only one street — Port Sunlight Way — retains its original name.
A total of 93 single family and side-by-side duplexes were built and 91 buildings are still there today. The houses were built assembly-line style and all were finished on the exterior with stucco and either red or green roofs.
The streets curved, unlike the city’s predominant grid system, and a small park is at the center of the development.
Garden Homes was always a tax-paying entity and it never lost money, although the cooperative form of ownership was gradually phased out by the late 1930s.
Today Garden Homes is listed on the National Register of Historic Places specifically because of its place in the history of American city planning.

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