Historic Mitchell Street- Heart of Milwaukee’s Southside and now Mexican Community

I also included the Clock Towner Acres in this evaluation. The small neighborhood east of I-94

Mitchell Street neighborhood is the historic heart of Milwaukee’s densely populated  south side. Mitchell Street was a major shopping district in the turn of the century hosting many department, furniture, and retail stores, including eventually a major Sears Department Store. The commercial district is surrounded many duplexes and triplexes, also locally known as Polish flats. But also plenty of single family homes and medium sized apartment buildings. Like a typical progression in Milwaukee the district was originally settled by German immigrants in the 1850s and 1860s who were quickly replaced by Pols. This became a major stronghold of the Polish Community and just south of the neighborhood is the gorgeous Basilica of Saint Josaphat, built by Polish immigrants.

The neighborhood has certainly experienced some disinvestment since WWII but retained its fabric thanks to Mexican immigrants who now comprise 70% of the neighborhood. Most of Mitchell Street is intact but it faces many vacancies. Even Mitchell street still hosts a good # of restaurants, grocerias, art galleries, and retail amenities (especially furniture stores). The neighborhood overall hosts a decent # of walkable schools, and is overall a pretty walkable community. The urban components are here for a great neighborhood, what Historic Mitchell Street needs to become a great neighborhood is more investment, retail amenities, and especially park amenities. 

Click here to view my Historic Mitchell Street album on Flickr


* Excellent urban density.
* Generally very good ADA and sidewalk infrastructure. About 1/3 of curb cuts are outdated.
* Historic residential architecture is nothing special but some wonderful historic commercial bldgs along Mitchell and gorgeous churches throughout.
* Good # of dedicated bike lanes but not bike stations here.
* Very Hispanic neighborhood but still decent diversity. Good generational diversity as well.
* Good # of walkable schools but mixed ratings.
* Decent cultural amenities including many Mexican restaurants, several bars, a couple art galleries and night clubs.
* Good retail amenities including many ethnic grocerias (Hispanic and Middle Eastern), several drug stores & dollar stores, plenty of banks, several boutiques/clothing stores (esp. shoe stores),  several Mexican bakeries, plenty of salons & barber shops, a couple jewelry stores, plenty of furniture stores, a local public library & post office,  a couple medical centers, and plenty of churches including a couple gorgeous Catholic ones.
* Solid urban massing, especially along Mitchell Street.
* Pretty good pedestrian activity here.


* For-sale housing is affordable but limited product available. Some 1-bed condo options, esp. in the Clock Tower Acres district. They sell btwn 125K-250, 2-beds sell btwn 75K-270K, 3&4 beds btwn 100K- the low 200KS
* Not a ton of rentals available (at least listed on Zillow). Generally very affordable. 1-beds lease for $700-$800. 2 & 3 beds btwn $700 to the low 1Ks. A few 4 beds available leasing in the mid 1Ks.
* Decent but not great tree canopy.
* Sadly this is a very underserved community when it comes to parks space. Witkowiak Park a smaller park is really the only park space in the neighborhood.
* Some safety and blight issues here but not terrible.
* Very limited modern in-fill and what does exist is generally auto centric/industrial.
* Okay streetscaping but generally dated.
* Neighborhood still struggles with an image issue.

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