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A Profile of Milwaukee's Riverwest Neighborhood



A carved wooden pole grins at those who pass through a Riverwest alley.

photo by Carrie Trousil

Milwaukee is an extremely diverse city, and nearly every neighborhood has its own unique atmosphere and look. This article is a simple profile and demographic breakdown of the Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee.

Riverwest Statistics
Population: 11,653
Median Age: 32
Median Household Income: $30,436
Average Home Price: $178,500
Parameters: Riverwest is bordered by the Milwaukee River on the east and north, Holton Street on the west, and Capitol Drive on the south.

Art in Riverwest: See a photo gallery of "sidewalk art" in the Riverwest neighborhood.

About Riverwest
Riverwest has long been known as an artist community. Due to its proximity to the East Side and UW-Milwaukee campus, Riverwest attracts a number of young people, students and families who find the lower rents to be a fine alternative to that on the East Side. Riverwest boasts a relatively high proportion of renters, although owners and long-term tenants try to maintain order through a strong network of block watches and neighborhood associations.

Riverwest was first settled in the 1850s by wealthy German families who found the west bank of the Milwaukee River, then a mecca for summer entertainment, a prime place for their summer homes. By the 1880's, the city had expanded northward enough that permanent residences started going up in the neighborhood near the North Avenue water reservoir, a legacy of fine Victorians and other beautiful homes that still stand sprinkled throughout the neighborhood and along Humboldt Boulevard.

By the turn of the century, the period of wealthy German influence came to a close as a new nationality took over and Riverwest became markedly Polish. Where the Germans has the means to build large homes on sprawling lots the Poles did not, and on interior streets its not unusual to find two houses crammed onto each single lot - a duplex in front and a cottage in the rear. Although these days are long gone, it's still quite easy to see this influence in remaining landmarks such as St. Mary of Czestochowa and the Polish Falcon hall which features a bar and bowling alley.

Statistics provided by Zillow.com

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