Those visiting the city of Milwaukee will want to plan some time to browse the shops and culture of historic Brady Street. Located just a few block from Lake Michigan, Brady Street is home to a variety of retail and residential buildings. It is ethnically diverse and was originally home to German, Irish, and Polish immigrants in Milwaukee. Toward the middle of the 20th century, families of Italian descent began migrating to the neighborhood and much of that heritage is still reflected today in the businesses and restaurants in the area.
Brady Street was the scene of one of Milwaukee's most famous events. During the late 1800's, the St. Hedwig's church, a parish primarily made up of Polish immigrants, rapidly grew in the area. Because of this rapid growth, the church experienced descension in the ranks, and the parish split. One group had a desire to adhere to their Polish traditions. The other group was more progressive and had a desire to assimilate into their new culture in order to enjoy the American experience. In 1885, the issue reached its zenith. The pastor of the church hired an organist who spoke no English. This infuriated the progressives in the church because they had a desire for their children to learn English. On September 22nd, a riot ensued, resulting in a variety of arrests and several injuries. There was also a lot of damage done to the church. As punishment, the Archbiship shut the church down.
During the revolutionary days of the 1960's, Brady Street was known as Milwaukee's Haight-Ashbury, nicknamed for the progressive area in San Francisco. The flower children of the midwest flocked to the area and were the catalyst for a variety of artistic endeavors, political movements, and celebrations of alternative lifestyles. It was during this time the famous Brady Street Days began, a festival that still occurs annually but has become somewhat more mainstream.
The community feeling that has been a part of Brady Street since it first formed is alive and well today. The shopping distric brings people from all over Milwaukee who are in search of unique gifts. The bells of St. Hedwig's still chime every hour, reminding visitors and residents of the heritage of this nine block expanse just north of downtown Miwaukee. Many residents feel there is no reason to ever leave the confines of their neighborhood. There are shops, services, restaurants, and boutiques all within walking distances. The cuisine of Brady Street is one of its most popular features. People from all over the city head to this area for ethinic cuisine including Greek, Middle Eastern, Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Indian, and French.
Brady Street offers residents a neighborhood association that creates a true sense of community and responsibility. Membership includes a monthly newsletter that includes information about the history and future of Brady Street. If you are looking for a unique area of Milwaukee to visit, or you are in search of an eclectic, progressive neighborhood in which to live, Brady Street offers it all.