Greendale, Wisconsin

Greendale, Wisconsin

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Greendale is a village in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The population was 14,405 at the 2000 census.


Greendale was settled in 1938 as a public cooperative
A cooperative is a business organization owned and operated by a group of individuals for their mutual benefit...

 community in the New Deal
New Deal
The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call...

 Era. Construction of the new town would create jobs and thus help stimulate the national economic recovery following the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...


Greendale, which provided good housing at reasonable rents for moderate income urban families, was one of three "greenbelt" towns planned beginning in 1935 under the direction of Rexford Guy Tugwell, head of the United States Resettlement Administration
Resettlement Administration
The Resettlement Administration was a U.S. federal agency that, between April 1935 and December 1936, relocated struggling urban and rural families to communities planned by the federal government....

, under authority of the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act. The two other greenbelt towns are Greenbelt, Maryland
Greenbelt, Maryland
Greenbelt is a city in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States. Contained within today's City of Greenbelt is the historic planned community now known locally as "Old Greenbelt" and designated as the Greenbelt Historic District...

 (near Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

) and Greenhills, Ohio
Greenhills, Ohio
Greenhills is a village in Hamilton County, Ohio, United States. The population was 4,103 at the 2000 census. It is a planned community that was established by the United States federal government during the Great Depression.-Geography:...

 (near Cincinnati). The greenbelt towns not only provided work and affordable housing, but also served as a laboratory for experiments in innovative urban planning. Greendale's plan was designed between 1936 and 1937 by a staff headed by Joseph Crane, Elbert Peets, Harry Bentley, and Walter C. Thomas for a site that had formerly consisted of 3400 acres (13.8 km²) of farmland.

Construction began on Greendale in July 1936 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and, despite a movers strike, the first courageous families moved in on April 30, 1938. The original downtown included a Village Hall, several businesses, and 572 living units in 366 buildings, each with an average of 5000 square feet (464.5 m²) of space for lawns and gardens. The village included a tavern, movie theater, volunteer fire station, newspaper office (The Greendale Review), schools, cooperative market and beautiful stone carvings by Alonzo Hauser. The Farm Security Administration
Farm Security Administration
Initially created as the Resettlement Administration in 1935 as part of the New Deal in the United States, the Farm Security Administration was an effort during the Depression to combat American rural poverty...

 originally appointed Mr. Hauser to create the carvings for the village. Henry A. Wallace
Henry A. Wallace
Henry Agard Wallace was the 33rd Vice President of the United States , the Secretary of Agriculture , and the Secretary of Commerce . In the 1948 presidential election, Wallace was the nominee of the Progressive Party.-Early life:Henry A...

, who was at the time was the United States Secretary of Agriculture, toured the village upon its completion.

All of the property was owned by the government and then rented to families, based on income, housing need and family size. Income requirements were specific: a minimum annual income of $1,200 and a maximum of $2,700. Some exceptions were made for those with special skills such as medical doctors and other professionals. To prevent too rapid expansion, all new development was tightly controlled by Greendale residents through various homeowners associations, as well as the green belt of parkways surrounding the village.

In 1949 the Public Housing Administration gave Greendale residents the right to purchase their homes from the government. The transfer of ownership from the government to the people was largely complete by 1952.

Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was the First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945. She supported the New Deal policies of her husband, distant cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and became an advocate for civil rights. After her husband's death in 1945, Roosevelt continued to be an international...

, wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, visited the village early in its history.


Greendale is located at 42.937615°N 87.996884°W (42.937615, -87.996884). The Root River
Root River (Wisconsin)
The Root River is a river that flows to Lake Michigan at the city of Racine in southeastern Wisconsin in the United States. Racine and Racine County are named for the river, as racine is the French word for root.-Course:...

 flows through the western part of the village.

According to the United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

, the village has a total area of 5.6 square miles (14.5 km2), of which, 5.6 square miles (14.5 km2) of it is land and 0.18% is water.


As of the 2000 census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

, there were 14,405 people, 6,011 households, and 4,207 families residing in the village. The population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 was 2,571.8 people per square mile (993.2/km2). There were 6,165 housing units at an average density of 1,100.7 per square mile (425.1/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 96.18% White, 0.28% African American, 0.16% Native American, 2.05% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.56% from other races
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

, and 0.75% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.36% of the population.

There were 6,011 households out of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.5% were married couples
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

 living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.0% were non-families. 26.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the village the population was spread out with 22.4% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 27.9% from 45 to 64, and 20.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 89.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.9 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $55,553, and the median income for a family was $65,071. Males had a median income of $47,534 versus $31,576 for females. The per capita income
Per capita income
Per capita income or income per person is a measure of mean income within an economic aggregate, such as a country or city. It is calculated by taking a measure of all sources of income in the aggregate and dividing it by the total population...

 for the village was $28,363. About 3.0% of families and 3.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.1% of those under age 18 and 2.2% of those age 65 or over.

Notable residents

  • Noted nineteenth-century folklorist and linguist Jeremiah Curtin
    Jeremiah Curtin
    Jeremiah Curtin was an American translator and folklorist.-Life:Born in Detroit, Michigan, Curtin spent his early life in Milwaukee County and later graduated from Harvard College in 1863. In 1864 he went to Russia, where he worked as both a translator and for the U.S. legation...

     lived in what is now Greendale, but at the time was part of the rural Town of Greenfield. His boyhood home
    Jeremiah Curtin House
    The Jeremiah Curtin House is a unique stone building built in 1846. It was the boyhood home of noted American linguist and folklorist Jeremiah Curtin and is part of the Trimborn Farm estate in Greendale, Wisconsin. The house is owned by the Milwaukee County Historical Society and listed on the...

     stands as a historic landmark.
  • Emmy
    Emmy Award
    An Emmy Award, often referred to simply as the Emmy, is a television production award, similar in nature to the Peabody Awards but more focused on entertainment, and is considered the television equivalent to the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards .A majority of Emmys are presented in various...

    -nominated actress Jane Kaczmarek
    Jane Kaczmarek
    Jane Frances Kaczmarek is an American actress. She is best known for playing the character of Lois on the television series Malcolm in the Middle. Kaczmarek is a three-time Golden Globe and seven-time Emmy Award nominee...

     was born and raised in Greendale. She attended Greendale High School
    Greendale High School
    Greendale High School is a four-year public high school in Greendale, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee. It is part of the Greendale School District and serves students in grades 9-12. The school has one of the highest graduation rates in the area, and over 90% of each year's graduating class...

     and still plays a major role in its theater department.
  • Roy Reiman
    Roy Reiman
    Roy Reiman is the founder of Reiman Publications based in Greendale, Wisconsin, which is best known for its country-oriented magazines, books, and other home products. Roy Reiman is credited with building the country’s largest, private, subscription-based publishing company...

    , founder of Reiman Publications. Reiman Publications is now owned by The Reader's Digest Association
    The Reader's Digest Association
    The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. is a global media and direct marketing company, best known for its flagship publication founded in 1922, Reader's Digest...



  • Greendale High School
    Greendale High School
    Greendale High School is a four-year public high school in Greendale, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee. It is part of the Greendale School District and serves students in grades 9-12. The school has one of the highest graduation rates in the area, and over 90% of each year's graduating class...

     was named by Newsweek as one of America’s Best High Schools according to its 2009 & 2010 rankings. In 2007 the Greendale School District was ranked by Milwaukee Magazine
    Milwaukee Magazine
    Milwaukee Magazine is a monthly city magazine serving the Milwaukee metropolitan area in Wisconsin, United States. It bills itself as "Southeastern Wisconsin's most authoritative source for Events and Dining," and claims to be read by 200,000 readers....

     as the top school system among the Milwaukee metropolitan area.
  • Martin Luther High School
    Martin Luther High School
    Martin Luther High School is a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod-affiliated private school located in Greendale, Wisconsin.-History:Martin Luther High School was built in the post World War II era, before the end of the Cold War. It was built as the second school belonging to the Lutheran High School...

External links