Milwaukee River Parkway
Located between Good Hope Road and West Capitol Drive, Milwaukee, Glendale, Shorewood, and Whitefish Bay, Milwaukee County
Dates of contributing resources: 1927 – 1960
The Milwaukee River Parkway is located along the north portion of the outer loop of two concentric and connected oval-shaped chains of parkways that were first conceived in 1923. Known as the "Emerald Necklace," the loop twice encircles the county, comprising a significant portion of the Milwaukee County Park and Parkway System. The Parkway is located in the north-central portion of Milwaukee County and roughly follows the Milwaukee River and the associated Milwaukee River Parkway Drive between Good Hope Road and West Capitol Drive, through the cities of Glendale and Milwaukee and the villages of Whitefish Bay and Shorewood.
Charles B. Whitnall’s early vision for the Milwaukee County Parkway System included portions of the Milwaukee River Parkway, which would extend from West Capitol Drive to the northern border of Milwaukee County. Whitnall included the Milwaukee River Parkway in a 1923 study of a county-wide parkway system, intended to promote the sanitary, health, and aesthetic benefits of urban parklands. Alfred Boerner, a Milwaukee County landscape architect and Wisconsin native, was instrumental in developing the plans for the parkway system.
The Milwaukee River Parkway is comprised of Kletzsch Park; Lincoln Park, including Henry Aaron Field, David F. Schulz Aquatic Center, and Lincoln Park Golf Course; and Estabrook Park. The earliest implementation of the Parkway was completed within the associated parks. While roads were constructed within each park unit, work on the Milwaukee River Parkway Drive, which links each of the three parks, post-dates much of the associated park development. The Parkway, parks, and golf course are important components of the Milwaukee County Parkway System. The Parkway also includes comfort stations, dams, bridges, and baseball diamonds. In addition, the Milwaukee River Parkway has a rich history associated with the federal work relief programs of the Depression era, as it was implemented with labor from several programs.
The Parkway remains historically intact and is a good representative example of Milwaukee County parks and parkways and of their period of design and construction.