Carl Baehr
City Streets

Ogden and Lyon Almost Obliterated

Park East Freeway would have run to lakefront, eliminating both streets.

By - Nov 5th, 2015 12:13 pm
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Park East Freeway would have run to lakefront, eliminating both streets. Back to the full article.

Photos - Page 2

Categories: City Streets, History

7 thoughts on “City Streets: Ogden and Lyon Almost Obliterated”

  1. Tim says:

    This is a very interesting tidbit of history, hopefully, we’ll see something about the ill-fated Park West Freeway & what’s becoming of the many blocks demolished for that as well.

    Cheers to history and let’s not repeat its follies.

  2. J on Prospect says:

    At least one source of Milwaukee freeway history indicates that construction never started on the lakefront interchange proposed down the bluff from Ogden. That does not hold up. Much controversy surrounded that project and it went to a judge to decide if it should be built. An effort was begun to start the project, perhaps concurrent with the trial, so the interested parties could say construction was proceeding. Today two concrete columns, with reinforcing steel bits sticking up still stand on the bluff. At this time of year, with most of the leaves gone, these are visible from the bike path. They stand half-way up the bluff a few yards north of the Ogden Street stairway. I guess the judge said, “no freeway.” So that’s something that saved much of our lakefront.

    It would be nice if Mandel were able to leave these bits of history when they develop the property above the bluff.

    (At the time there was an article in the Milwaukee Journal which was written in the 60s about the trial and its outcome but I have not yet found it.)

  3. Chris says:

    I’ve heard that Ogden Ave was in many ways similar to the dynamic mix of businesses that line Brady Street today. What a shame that Milwaukee lost such a vibrant urban corridor… I’d love to see photos of what was once there.

  4. Al Lindro says:

    Thanks for the excellent summary. We lived through this history, and are grateful for how it turned out. We lived in Shorewood during the period recounted, but more recently have had four home addresses (2 rented, 2 owned) in the redeveloped area, attended church nearby, and worked over several decades very nearby.

    It’s now a vibrant and friendly neighborhood with great convenience aspects for restaurants, groceries, UPS, post office, hardware stores (sorry to be losing National Ace), banking, specialty shops, schools (including MSOE) and all the entertainment venues close by.

    We wonder what will happen with the streetcar, especially re: the traffic and congestion midday. There are a couple of hundred (plus?) condo parking garage spaces with limited visibility entering Ogden, plus all the traffic related to Panera, Karma, Chipolte, Pick’n Save, and a dozen other businesses related to East Pointe. It’s overload during parts of the day, sometimes hazardous from a auto traffic visibility standpoint due street-parking-caused blind spots for cars entering Ogden. Have seen accidents and barely avoided two myself. Hard to imagine what it will be like with a streetcar using three (Ogden, Van Buren, Jackson) streets as well as it makes two turns on its route right through that mess.

  5. M says:

    J, That’s fascinating about the concrete freeway columns. It would be great to preserve them as relics–with the cautionary tale interpreted as a historic marker.

    Charlie Kamps was was one of attorneys who fought the lakefront freeway. They based the opposition in part on the Public Trust Doctrine. Someone could interview him about that history. He also founded Preserve Our Parks.

    Interestingly, the Wisconsin PTD was also the basis for how the RiverWalk was implemented, since it mandates that access to waterways must be preserved for the public. Legal constructs have greater meaning when connected to specific outcomes. Of course, citizens had to fight to defend those rights. And that can be costly and daunting.

    I hope the city will think twice about destroying more of our irreplaceable urban fabric…

  6. Sean says:

    Those concrete columns at the base of the bluff below Ogden Avenue are NOT from any Park East Freeway construction.
    They are support columns for a section of the Layton School of Art that was never completed. See Bobby Tanzilo’s article in from April 2, 2014. There is even a picture of the school from the 1950’s in which you can clearly see the columns.

  7. B. Ryan says:

    Great article…I’ve been an Yankee Hill/Lower East Side resident since 2007 and I love learning more about the history of this area of Milwaukee. In particular, I’m trying to research the changes that occurred around Ogden Ave. There are some great photos to be found on MPL’s online photo archives.

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