South Second & Bruce Streets
One of the original five wards, the Fifth Ward was also a neighborhood, graced with cream city brick houses
and was home to successive ethnic populations including Germans, Poles, and Hispanics.
This circa 1910 photograph shows the corner of Reed Street, now South Second Street, and Park Street, now Bruce Street. The building in the viewer with the painted, Red Feather Tobacco sign was home to the Peter Barth Company, a firm that dealt in wholesale wines and liquor. The address was formerly 251 Reed and is currently 529 S. Second Street, reflecting the change in Milwaukee’s street and numbering system that came into effect in 1931. It is interesting to note that the part of the sign, although faded, is still visible.
Commercial buildings, manufacturers, and warehouses made up most of the buildings in this one block area of the Fifth Ward, or Walker’s point as its often referred to, in recognition of the ward’s original property owner, George H. Walker. One of the original five wards, the Fifth Ward was also a neighborhood, graced with cream city brick houses and was home to successive ethnic populations including Germans, Poles, and Hispanics. Route 19 streetcar tracks belonging to The Milwaukee Electric Light & Rail Company are visible in the center of South Second. The “Nineteen” linked the north and south sides of Milwaukee and was a heavily traveled commuter line.
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