Discover Bay View on your own time and at your own pace with 5 unique walking tours:
Tour 1) The KK-Link Walk
The KK-Link walk contains one of Bay View’s two main commercial districts, which extends south from the Five Points intersection of Lincoln, Howell and KK to the Bay View Library. This area of Bay View was once a fashionable residential district settled by Germans. May of its homes and churches reflect their Germanic heritage and were designed or built more than a century ago by well-know architects and contractors.
The tour covers approximately two miles within the area from Dover Street north to Lincoln Avenue, and between Lenox and Howell. Some of the sites include the Bay View Library, St. Lucas Lutheran Church and School, Dover Street School, Bay View Bethel Evangelical Church, Avalon Theater, Joseph Williams house (behind the Avalon Theater), and many historic homes.
Tour 2) The South Shore Walk
Do you know where the young Spencer Tracy lived in Bay View? Have you ever been to the “Devil’s Elbow”? These are just two of the 47 historic sites on the South Shore walk.
The South Shore walk covers most of the area within the Bay View Historic District. View sites belonging to the Estes Family, one of Bay View’s settlers; original “puddlers’ cottages” built by the Milwaukee Iron Company; the oldest surviving Welsh church; an original Sears Roebuck house; and the home of Beulah Brinton, who started the first social center in the US.
Tour 3) The Midtown Walk
Kinnickinnic Avenue, also known as KK, was originally an Indian trail widened by pioneers in the 1830’s. Its meandering tendency has created several triangular intersections that give this area a small-town feel.
The Midtown walk includes the southern section of the KK Avenue business district between Potter and Logan Avenues known as Downtown Bay View, and extends east to S. Bay Street. This area of Bay View developed when neighborhoods were designed for pedestrians, and businesses were scattered throughout residential areas. It has a village aspect enhanced by churches, retailers, Bay View High School, the old Llewellyn library, a former convalescent home, converted storefronts and well-preserved homes.
Tour 4) The Iron Company Walk
The Iron Company walk contains Jones Island and the site of the old Milwaukee Iron Company (also know as the North Chicago Rolling Mill and United States Steel). Since the Italian population in this locate grew from 43 in 1905 to about 1,000 in 1920, this area also became know as “Little Italy”.
Most of the walk lies within the Bay View Historic District, which was designated by the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. The Milwaukee Landmarks Commission nominated Bay View for this honor in 1979, the year of Bay View’s centennial. The historic district is bounded by Lake Michigan on the east, St. Clair and Delaware on the west, the Lake Parkway on the north and the south end of South Shore Park at Meredith.
Tour 5) The Way Down South Walk
The Way Down South walk covers the southwest corner of the original Village of Bay View. The last area of Bay View to be developed, it contains the newest homes — some built as late as the mid 1950’s — and a variety of architectural styles.
This largely residential area has a few businesses scattered throughout but emphasize recreation and leisure. It features three park sites: the former Union Park was a private park and popular picnic spot typical of the beer gardens frequented by Milwaukeeans before free public parks exited; Humboldt Park is one of the five original public parks that the City of Milwaukee established in 1890; and Sijan Field, owned by Milwaukee Public Schools, is a playground converted from a former brickyard and dump.