About Whitefish Bay
Reasons for Living in Whitefish Bay
Through surveys, Whitefish Bay residents have expressed the following reasons for their preference to live in Whitefish Bay:
- Sense of community
- High quality public and private schools
- Well maintained private and public property
- Diverse and well maintained housing stock
- Attractive location near Lake Michigan and downtown Milwaukee
- Convenient shopping on Silver Spring Drive and at Bay Shore Mall
- Safe environment
- Excellent local government services
Today, the Village of Whitefish Bay is a predominantly single family residential community covering an area of 2.4 square miles, with a population of approximately 14,000 people. The Village is home to over 4,800 residential properties and over 100 commercial properties.
There are approximately 330 businesses located within the Village. There are several schools within the Village including a public and private high school. The Village is bordered on the south by the Village of Shorewood and on the west by the City of Glendale. To the north lays the Village of Fox Point and to the east are the shores of Lake Michigan.
Early inhabitants of Whitefish Bay included Native Americans, fishermen, and farmers. Prior to the turn of the century, Whitefish Bay became a popular destination for summer visitors from across the Midwest.
Turn of the Century Resort
In 1889, Captain Frederick Pabst, one of Milwaukee's beer barons, spent $30,000 to take advantage of Whitefish Bay's unique location in an area north of what is now Henry Clay Street, east of Lake Drive and South of Silver Spring Drive.
As many as 10,000 people would visit the resort on a summer day, traveling by horse and buggy, railroad, trolley, or excursion steamer. They came to enjoy the scenic view, to ride the Ferris wheel, attend daily concerts (double concerts on Sunday), rent rowboats, watch outdoor movies, and dine on whitefish netted daily in the Bay.
The resort popularity faded in 1914, and the park closed. In 1915, the land was subdivided into 17 residential lots, and today 13 homes are located on the former resort shoreline property.
Emphasis on Education
Whitefish Bay's emphasis on education began when farmers in the area demanded local schooling for children living in the Bay. In the Spring of 1892, the 300+ residents organized their own government and school system independent of the Town of Milwaukee.
After a duly organized election on June 7, 1892, the area was incorporated and became the Village of Whitefish Bay. A school was built on a triangle of land now know as Old Schoolhouse Park, across from today's public library.