At the turn of the 20th century, a section of Milwaukee’s north side was once an independent village.
Known as “North Milwaukee,” it has its own government and schools, collected it’s own taxes and was not affiliated with the larger city to its south.
But in 1929 after a popular vote, North Milwaukee was annexed to the City of Milwaukee. It gained full city services, including public works and water service, while still maintaining a sense of its own identity.
And these days — if you look hard enough — you’ll find hints from its independent past, especially in its architecture.
For this episode of Urban Spelunking, OnMilwaukee’s Bobby Tanzilo takes us to the former North Milwaukee Firehouse and Civic Center near N. 35th St. and W. Villard Ave.
It was home to government offices, a jail, and of course, the village’s firefighters. Today the building is city-owned and for sale.