Riverwest 101: Need-to-Know Facts on This Artsy Milwaukee Community

College Students and Artists Call It Home

Crowd from Riverwest 24 Bike Race
 nerdyblerg/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Milwaukee is an extremely diverse city, which means nearly every neighborhood has its own unique atmosphere and look. This article is a simple profile and demographic breakdown of the Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee.

Riverwest Statistics

Population: 12,001
Median Age: 28.5
Median Household Income: $37,400
Average Home Price: $127,900
Parameters: Riverwest is bordered by the Milwaukee River on the east and north, Holton Street on the west, and Capitol Drive on the south.

About Riverwest

Riverwest has long been known as an artist community. Due to its proximity to the East Side and UW-Milwaukee campus, Riverwest attracts a number of young people, students, and families who find the lower rents to be a fine alternative to that on the East Side. Riverwest boasts a relatively high proportion of renters, although owners and long-term tenants try to maintain order through a strong network of block watches and neighborhood associations.

Riverwest was first settled in the 1850s by wealthy German families who found the west bank of the Milwaukee River, then a mecca for summer entertainment, a prime place for their summer homes. By the 1880s, the city had expanded northward enough that permanent residences started going up in the neighborhood near the North Avenue water reservoir, a legacy of fine Victorians and other beautiful homes that still stand sprinkled throughout the neighborhood and along Humboldt Boulevard.

By the turn of the century, the period of wealthy German influence came to a close as a new nationality took over and Riverwest became markedly Polish. Where the Germans had the means to build large homes on sprawling lots, the Poles did not, and on interior streets, it's not unusual to find two houses crammed onto each single lot—a duplex in front and a cottage in the rear. Although these days are long gone, it's still quite easy to see this influence in remaining landmarks such as St. Mary of Czestochowa and the Polish Falcon hall which features a bar and bowling alley.

Statistics provided by Zillow.com

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