Since 1988, residents of Milwaukee’s Historic Concordia neighborhood, located between 27th and 35th streets and Wisconsin Avenue and Highland Boulevard, have hosted an annual Home Tour, showcasing its rich variety of historic homes and vibrant social life. But that is just one day a year, usually the Saturday before Fathers’ Day.
Now, thanks to a partnership between HCNI (Historic Concordia Neighbors, Inc.) the City of Milwaukee’s Neighborhood Development Initiative Corporation, area businesses and residents, anyone with an internet-connected device can tour the neighborhood and its homes at any time, from anywhere. It is especially adapted for smartphones so people can use it while exploring the neighborhood on foot or by car.
“Our hope is that this virtual tour will invite people to explore and experience the history, architecture, and community our neighborhood has to offer. Not to name drop but Hoan, Harnischfeger, Davidson, Pabst, Schlitz, Ziegler, Schuster and Miller are among the historic names to have called Concordia home. Even those of us who have lived here for decades are constantly wowed as we learn more about the people who have lived or stayed here over the past century or two,” said Scott Witte, a resident of Concordia since 1983. He and his wife Sally raised their son and daughter here; both children attended and are graduates of the Milwaukee Public School system.
The idea for the virtual tour evolved from a post-2015 home tour conversation between neighbors discussing ways to promote the area. Robin Muller, a newer resident, suggested a brochure. Witte realized the depth of the information accumulated over the years. Eileen Hanley, another long-time resident, had discovered a Tennessee neighborhood with a virtual home tour. A core committee formed, work on the Historic Concordia Virtual Tour began in early July 2015. It debuted to the public on November 29, 2016.
The Covid-19 Pandemic of 2020 forced the cancelation of our in-person home tour, but we weren’t going to let that get the better of us. It was to be our 30th annual tour, after all. So we took the tour virtual through a major update and expansion of this web app, doubling the number of houses and 360 virtual tours, adding far more historic photos and a video introduction by noted historian John Gurda. This was made possible with the help of a grant from the Forest County Potawatomi Foundation.
This tour will never be “finished.” We have more houses, photos, virtual tours, and fascinating stories that will be added on a regular basis. Come back now and then to see what is new.
Do you have a personal or family story about a home on the tour? Share it in the “your story” section at the end of each home page.