by Tom Tolan (Editor’s nore: This was first published in the January 2003 edition of the Riverwest Currents) You could argue that it was the Milwaukee River, threading its way between glacial ridges, that determined the future character of the Riverwest neighborhood. By digging a deep valley, it created steep banks that would be attractive […]
by Tom Tolan – Part 3 of 6 in a series
In the early 1960s, St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church — now St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church, at 128 W. Burleigh — was a relatively thriving parish, with a school attended by more than 1,000 children. Most parishioners were of German ancestry — many descended from “St. E’s” founders — or Polish families who had migrated from the east side of Holton. African-Americans were a definite presence, but they were less numerous in the parish than in the neighborhood. Fewer than 10 percent of the 1,056 pupils at St. Elizabeth’s in 1963 were black, and most of their families could be classified as middle-class.