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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Walker's Point Milwaukee

Walker's Point: A Place Worth Visiting

Walker's Point is a neighborhood that lies south of the Third Ward and the eastern part of the Menomonee River Valley. Founded by George H. Walker in 1835 as a fur trading post, the area is now noted for being mostly an industrial neighborhood, with housing scattered in pockets throughout the area, particularly on the eastern end of Walker's Point.

Over the past several years there have been a lot of changes in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood. New restaurants and businesses are replacing many of the vacant, rundown buildings. This area was once dominated by manufacturing and industry, drawing waves of German, Polish and, more recently, Hispanic immigrants to work the plentiful blue-collar jobs. With the factory preeminence diminished, many of the unused industrial and warehouse spaces are being repurposed for a new generation. Walker’s Point’s boundaries are fairly fluid, but the neighborhood commonly is defined by the Milwaukee River to the north, the expressway to the west, Beecher Street to the south and by Lake Michigan or the inner harbor to the east. “We are a neighborhood of craft industries and makers,” says Joaquin Altoro, vice president of the Walker’s Point Association. “In truth, the maker history goes so far back here that it is part of the DNA of the neighborhood, even today.”

Many food and beverage makers have settled into the Walker's Point area. Urban cheese factory, Clock Shadow Creamery (138 W. Bruce St.), opened three years ago and has the distinct honor of being Milwaukee’s first cheese producer. Purple Door Ice Cream (205 S. 2nd St.) arrived in 2014 and creates some of the most delicious ice cream you’ll find. These are just two examples of local businesses which go out of their way to work with local farmers and other area producers, following green and sustainable practices.

If craft beer or spirits are more your thing, Walker’s Point has plenty of places to whet your whistle. One of Milwaukee’s newest breweries, Brenner Brewing Company (706 S. 5th St.), not only makes delicious beer, but also supports the local arts and music scene and offers space in the same building as the brewery for artists’ use. Milwaukee Brewing Company and Central Standard Craft Distillery (613 S. 2nd St.) are separate businesses but share a building. Interestingly, the head distiller for Central Standard used to be a brewer for Milwaukee Brewing Company. The well-established Great Lakes Distillery (616 W. Virginia St.) is perhaps the best-known distiller in the state.

Rockwell Automation has their headquarters in Walker's Point. The Allen-Bradley Clock Tower, part of the Rockwell complex, is an icon of the neighborhood and is the world’s largest four-faced clock, as listed in Guinness World Records. Esperanza Unida, a community-based nonprofit organization, is located on the western end of Walker's Point. Data security software provider and ZIP file creators PKWARE relocated their headquarters to the neighborhood in 2014. Local architecture firm Plunkett Raysich Architects, LLP relocated from its long-time location on the northwest side to the neighborhood in May of 2015. Walker's Point has recently been referred to as the "Fifth Ward," by real estate agents and promoters, as it is becoming increasingly desirable as a place to live, work and visit.

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