Westown’s vibrant past provides the vision for our future.
Success for Gimbel’s
The first Gimbel’s store found success on the Milwaukee River, attracting residents of the city with a new way of shopping.
The Schlitz Palm Garden Draws a Crowd
Schlitz Brewing Co., “The beer that made Milwaukee famous,” opens an opulent beer garden frequented by locals and beloved by tourists.
Curtain Call for The Majestic Theater
The Majestic Theater opens with 1,902 seats, one of Milwaukee’s largest. It showed films and hosted live vaudeville performances before closing in 1932.
Fun & Games in The Plankinton Arcade
The Plankinton Hotel opens a French-inspired arcade featuring billiards and bowling. At the time, it was the largest one-story recreation parlor in the world.
Schlitz Adapts to Prohibition
After Prohibition forced the Schlitz Palm Garden’s to close its doors in 1921, Schlitz Brewing Co. transformed the location into The Garden Theater, an ornate movie theater.
A Suburban Migration
As Milwaukee residents moved out towards the suburbs and found movie theaters in their own towns, grandiose theaters like The Garden became less frequented.
Music quieted, laughter muffled
The Garden Theater gets torn down and replaced by a bank and parking lot. The energy of Westown begins to quiet.
Loitering at the Grand Avenue Mall
In the 80’s, the Grand Avenue Mall served as downtown’s gathering place. Filled with pastel ceramic tile, electric shops, and boisterous shoppers, the mall brings a lost vibrancy back to the area.
death of the American mall
After a steady decline in popularity, the Grand Avenue Mall is mostly vacant. The empty, colossal, one-block structure contributes to Westown’s ghostly nightlife.
Announcing the Avenue
Plans for the former Grand Avenue Mall are announced. Welcoming The Avenue: a collision of working, living, and dining destined to revive the vibrant nightlife last seen in the 20th century.
3rd Street Market Hall opens its doors
Our neon sign is lit, ovens are on, and kegs are tapped. 3rd Street Market Hall welcomes Milwaukee back to a historic and exciting gathering place.