Who Owns What On Kinnickinnic?, Part Three

December 2, 2017

By Katherine Keller

A group of six homes that were likely identical when constructed is found at 2954-2972 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
They were built between 1903 and 190. —Katherine Keller

Another set of identical homes, all built in 1912, is located at 2777 to 2793 S. Kinnickinnic. These seven are not of the same design as the group of six in the 2900 block. —Katherine Keller

The section of South Kinnickinnic Avenue featured in Part Three of “Who Owns What?” falls between East California Street and East Oklahoma Avenue.

This series examines property ownership on Bay View’s “Main Street,” which has suddenly become the locus of active development. The new construction is characterized by three- to six-story structures that feature apartments above street-level retail units.

Kinnickinnic is an amalgam of shops, bars, restaurants, cafés, warehouses, parks, and private homes, similar to Vliet Street, a commercial street on the city’s west side in the Washington Heights neighborhood.

The colossal apartment building, 2863-2867 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., was built in 1967. The new owner who purchased the property last year began upgrading the building’s exterior shortly thereafter. The front façade is currently being renovated. —Katherine Keller

Perhaps the most striking contrast between this section of Kinnickinnic, and that between East Bay Street and East California, is the high density of private residences. Although Kinnickinnic runs through the heart of Bay View’s commercial district, there are homes among the commercial properties. Of the 85 parcels between California and Oklahoma, 50 are either single-family or duplex homes.

There are two groups of identical homes on Kinnickinnic, and although they have been customized over time, a cursory appraisal reveals their distinct similarities.

The group that resides in the California to Oklahoma stretch is a set of six homes 2954-2972 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., built between 1903 and 1907. While not identical to the set two blocks north on Kinnickinnic, these homes have two gables, steeply pitched roofs, Cream City brick chimneys, front porches, a pair of windows on the second story of the front façade, plus another small attic window.

The second group is a set of seven double-gabled homes, 2777 to 2793 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., that feature steeply pitched roofs, a grouped trio of windows on the second story of the front façade, and broad front porches that span the width of the home. All seven homes were built in 1912.

Three of the most attractive apartment buildings on Kinnickinnic are the Mediterranean-style structures found in the 3000 block. All three were constructed in 1929. —Katherine Keller

Three of the most handsome apartment buildings anywhere on Kinnickinnic are found in the 3000 block. Built in 1929, the two-story Mediterranean-style brown brick structures that feature some arched window frames and entrances.

The most distinctive structure, a Bay View icon and landmark, is the historic Kneisler’s White House tavern, located on the southeast corner of Kinnickinnic Avenue and Ellen Street. It was built in 1890 and opened in 1891.

This single-story cottage located at 2944 S. Kinnickinnic was built in 1883 and is the oldest structure in the section of Kinnickinnic between California Street and Oklahoma Avenue. —Katherine Keller

The oldest structure in this section is a single-story cottage located at 2944 S. Kinnickinnic that was built in 1883.

Sijan Playground, 2128 S. Kinnickinnic, is part of the city of Milwaukee’s network of recreational facilities. It lies on a section of land bordering Kinnickinnic that was once the source of clay for a brickyard located on the site. Later, it was filled in and transformed into a playground featuring tennis courts and softball fields. In 1979 it was named after former Bay View resident Lance Sijan. Sijan died in 1968 at age 25, while serving in Vietnam as a member of the U.S. Air Force. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1976.

Unlike the strip of Kinnickinnic to the north, there are no obvious sites that appear to have been plucked by investors. There are no clusters of buildings or lots owned by a single company or individual, as there are to the north. But as development moves south along Kinnickinnic in the next decade, it is likely the demand for sites between California Street to Oklahoma Avenue will increase, mimicking the impetus and direction of the original development that began along this main artery in the late 19th century. View ownership chart here.

A much younger tree of the same species is growing near the site of the culled European Copper Beech, near East Estes Street between South Superior Street and South Shore Drive. —Katherine Keller


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