Greendale Village Hall
“WPA workers leveled sites for 750 homes in the Village of Greendale, an experimental “garden” community built from 1935 to 1938. The WPA’s labor intensive work using horses, carts and plows contrasted with the modern technology used by skilled craftsmen employed under the Resettlement Administration. The RA built an electric rail line to bring skilled Milwaukee tradesmen to the Greendale site.”
“Greendale was originally developed in 1936 as part of President Franklin Roosevelts New Deal in the wake of the Great Depression. With the purchase of 3,400 acres of farmland southwest of Milwaukees city limits, the federal governments Resettlement Administration had three main objectives: to demonstrate a new kind of suburban community which combined both city and country life, to provide good housing at reasonable rents, and to provide jobs to unemployed workers.
The site of the development, adjacent to beautiful Whitnall Park, was chosen for its gentle hills, thick wooded areas, and scenic ponds. One of three Greenbelt communities in the country, the historic village of Greendale was built on the garden city model, in which housing was situated within easy walking access of gardens, employment and a town center.
The original downtown area included the Village Hall, several businesses and 366 homes which included 572 living units. Single family homes, multi-family homes and rowhouses made of cincrete, a type of cinder block, were built to accommodate a mix of family sizes and income levels. Uniquely designed, the homes were positioned close to the street with the living room at the back of the house to allow residents a better view of their picturesque backyards. These quaint homes were often referred to as Greendale Originals. In 1949, the Public Housing Administration gave occupants of Greendale homes the first right to purchase them from the government and in many cases, the residents exercised this option. The transfer of ownership from the federal government was largely completed by the end of 1952.”
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