Merchant Events

Feb
16
Sat
Yellow Wood Divergences: Patagonia
Feb 16 @ 8:00 am – Feb 24 @ 8:00 am

There are few bucket lists that don’t include a breathtaking (or breath-giving) trip to picturesque Patagonia, and for obvious reason if you’ve ever so much as glimpsed at an image of the region’s otherworldly glaciers. Often revered as the pinnacle holiday for adventurers, Patagonia features colossal, crystal blue glaciers, a symphony of wildlife quite unlike anywhere else in the world, and swirling, dreamy skies that seem to extend beyond the reaches of our Earthly existence.

Our next Divergence will take you there – to the southernmost tip of South America, where, nestled along the western coast of Chile are landscapes so vast and pristine it looks animated. Join us in February 2019 to enjoy an adventure beyond your wildest imagination!

Exact dates and pricing coming soon.

Questions? Email debra@yellowwoodgear.com

Feb
23
Sat
Gerhard’s Kitchen & Bath ‘Turn Inspiration into Reality’ Free Seminar
Feb 23 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 pm

Free Saturday Seminar – ‘Turn Inspiration into Reality, let’s get your project started!’   you need to sign up at GerhardsStore.com/seminars.

 

Hike Away the Winter Blues with Yellow Wood
Feb 23 @ 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

The cold and often grey winter season can be particularly challenging for many. Exposing ourselves to the outdoors is a proven technique to reduce the symptoms of winter blues. Join us for a beautiful hike and great community! We’ll cap the afternoon off with coffee, hot chocolate and a group discussion.

Thanks to the support of Nye Psychotherapy, registration is available at just $5. To register, visit yellowwoodgear.com.

* A 30- to 45-minute educational nature hike guided by Schlitz Audubon educator, Don Quintenz

* A spiritual reflection by Yellow Wood co-owner, Moshe Katz

* Therapeutic insights by therapist Stacey Nye, PhD

 

Urban Candlelight Hike with Yellow Wood
Feb 23 @ 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

BUNDLE UP AND EXPERIENCE AN EXCITING WINTER ADVENTURE!

For the third year in a row, hardy northerners will cure their cabin fever at this winter Urban Candlelight Hike in Three Bridges Park.

FREE FOR EVERYONE:
• Two miles of candlelit trails on the Hank Aaron State Trail – this event will take place with or without snow!
• Roaring campfires!
• 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm: Wheel & Sprocket Fat Tire Bike demos. This is your chance to get on a fat tire bike! Wheel & Sprocket will have FREE fat tire bike demos on site to try and test. All ages and abilities are welcome to stop by and check one out. See why fat tire cyclists have more fun all year round!
• 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm: Stop by the REI Winter Camp Lounge! Learn expert tips on getting outside in winter; everything from layers to keep you warm, enjoying winter hiking & snowshoeing, and more!
• Tea tasting at Velobahn
• 8-10:30 pm: After Party hosted by NEWaukee at Third Space Brewing!

Buy a FUN PASS and Get COOL Extras:

• Hot chocolate and pastries at the Urban Ecology Center (while supplies last)! Bring your thermos to be green (or to save on waste) and take your hot cocoa on your hike.
• Marshmallow roasting and s’mores at the FOHAST Fireside Plaza
• Entry for great door prizes including $100 gift card from Wheel & Sprocket, Rishi Tea gift basket, REI Co-op Flash 22 Backpack and an ENO Hammock Tripod Stand!
• Buy One Get One (BOGO) beer at the Third Space Brewing from 4:30 -10:30pm! (for those over 21)

Fun Pass is $10 in advance and includes one adult and all kids under 12 attending with the adult.

Link to purchase Fun Pass will be available soon. Stay tuned!

And… KEEP CHECKING BACK FOR MORE DETAILS!

www.UrbanCandlelightHike.com

Mar
16
Sat
Dog Days at Yellow Wood at Yellow Wood
Mar 16 @ 10:00 am – 7:00 pm

Help us celebrate our shop dog Otis’ third birthday!

20% off all “dog walking” products!

Give us proof the items you want to purchase will help you walk your dog and 20% off is all yours! The more creative and entertaining your explanation, the better!

Complimentary doggie bags with Otis’ favorite treats 🙂

May
19
Sun
Empower Yoga 200 Hour Teacher Training
May 19 @ 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Registration is now open for our 2019 yoga teacher training program! Meets 2 weekends per month Januar-May 2019. Deepen your practice and learn how to share it with others through the development of safe, inspirational yoga classes. Visit our website to submit your application!  https://www.empoweryogamilwaukee.com

We Are Whitefish Bay

Whitefish Bay is a contemporary community with a unique and friendly shopping and entertainment district with shops that provide great customer service with genuine, specialized personal care. Our exclusive retailers and distinctive establishments offer an array of special products and services that are unavailable in conventional shopping experiences. Learn more about our community in Local Links.

 

The mission of the Merchants of Whitefish Bay is to champion the Whitefish Bay Business Improvement District as an exceptional place to shop, live, and conduct business – for individuals, families, and visitors.

Volunteer Board of Directors

A board of business and property owners and residents manages and operates the BID, representing over 100 business and property owners within the district.

  • Jeff Commer, President – Swipeworks
  • Bryan Schauland, Treasurer – Johnson Bank
  • Phil Aiello – Resident/Mandel Group
  • Ted Balistreri – Sendik’s Food Market
  • Charlie Stalle – Keller Williams
  • Jamie Lynn Fritsch – Enliven
  • Kevin Schuk – Breadsmith
  • Marty Stilling – Resident/Yellow Wood
  • Sherry Yusuf – American Family Insurance

The Village

Whitefish Bay, located on the shore of Lake Michigan approximately 7 miles north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is an impressive community which has been recognized multiple times by Money Magazine as one of the top 100 small towns in America.

A small pedestrian-friendly commercial district along Silver Spring Drive and its variety of independently owned shops contribute to making Whitefish Bay one of the Best Places to Live, a factor that the business improvement district is very proud of. Attractive streets lined with old trees and stately homes, waterside parks and beaches, and annual events are additional aspects that have Whitefish Bay touted as the kind of community that affluent professionals love.

In addition to our location on Lake Michigan, proximity to downtown Milwaukee, easy access to transportation, and convenient local shopping, residents also describe the strong sense of community, safe environment, excellent schools and local government service and a diverse and attractive housing stock as reasons for making Whitefish Bay their home.

Follow the links below to learn more about our community and visit us on Silver Spring Drive soon to experience exceptional shopping in an impressive community!

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Local History

Formation of the Village of Whitefish Bay

The children of the earliest settlers of the area—like the Consauls, Markerts, Everts, Rabes and Grams—had to walk several miles to Town of Milwaukee Schools. As the population grew, parents petitioned the Town of Milwaukee Board for a new school closer to the area – but to no avail. George A. Rogers who published a weekly newspaper, The Whitefish Bay Pioneer, began a campaign for a village charter so that a new school district could be established. He received enthusiastic support and after several meetings a decision was made to incorporate the community as a village.

The first step was to prove that the 300-people required by state law lived within the limits of the proposed village. Henry Scheife was given the job of making the official census. was to prove that the 300 people required by state law lived within the proposed limits. Henry Scheife made an initial census, but came up short. The boundaries were extended—hence the jog in the southern boundary of Whitefish Bay. Scheife’s count completed in March 1892, showed 70 houses and 312 people. A petition accompanied by the census was submitted to Judge Johnson who on May 10, 1892 signed the order bringing the village of Whitefish Bay into existence. Officials were elected on June 5th of that year.

One of the first orders of business for the first Village president, Fred Isenring, was to appoint a school committee. The Committee prevailed upon the owners of the triangle now bounded by Idlewild, Fleetwood and Marlborough to donate the tract for a new school house.

While the new school was constructed, Whitefish Bay kids had classes in the Jefferson Park pavilion on the site of the present Henry Clay School until it got too cold for comfort. Then school adjourned to the Scheife grocery store, located where Winkies now stands.

The new school building was completed in late spring and dedicated on June 23, 1893. Mrs. Alice Curtis, the first teacher, received the princely sum of $60 a year (while Nicholas Rix, the janitor, was paid $75).

Photograph believed taken in 1893, of the Fleetwood School—Whitefish Bay’s first school, its faculty, and students.
This residence on East Beaumont was formerly located in what is now Schoolhouse Park and served as the first Whitefish Bay Village Hall.

Some interesting facts about the Village’s early history:

  • Peeved at Whitefish Bay’s secession, the Town of Milwaukee tried to compel village residents to continue to pay the town poll tax for work on the town roads. The village board countered by instructing constables George Rodd and Henry Scheife to arrest and punish any town officer trying to enforce the poll tax.
  • The liquor license fee was set at $500 for three years. The first one was issued to WFB President Fred Isenring who also doubled as the lessee of the Whitefish Bay Resort. Fred got his license at a reduced rate because his bar was open only during the summer.
  • Fred Isenring later became sheriff of Milwaukee County. During his tenure, he was charged with absconding $20,000 (a princely sum for the time), but disappeared before he was arrested—never to be seen again.

After the new school was constructed, the Village Board met in the second-floor assembly room at the school until a building for the first village hall was acquired in 1903.

Henry Clay/Whitefish Bay Middle School

Tragedy hit the Fleetwood Whitefish Bay school in 1918—the building caught fire and quickly was lost. Some say that a flying ember from the near-by rail tracks was responsible—others disputed that source. In any case, the Village had a dilemma. It had to find an almost immediate replacement.

Land was available on the Port Washington and Whitefish Bay Road, now known as Henry Clay Street, on the site of the former Jefferson Park pavilion. Plans were immediately drawn up and construction commenced. It was initially occupied in 1919.

The Henry Clay School was a grade school, although that changed starting in 1930, when Shorewood notified the Village that it would no longer accept students from the Village. Whitefish Bay again had to find an immediate solution. One wing of the Henry Clay school was devoted for Whitefish Bay high school kids. They continued there until the new high school building was available for occupancy in 1932.

An eight-room addition was added in to the Henry Clay School in 1951. It remained largely that way until 1980, when it was closed and converted into a community center.

In the 1980s, the Whitefish Bay school board began investigating the advantages of creating a middle school format and ultimately decided to proceed. The Henry Clay School was converted into a middle school and opened in August 1989. A new gym was added at that time. In 1991 the stage of the old gym was converted into two classrooms and a classroom was added to the basement level.

A 1994 Village referendum to add classrooms and other space to eliminate overcrowding was defeated; consideration is given to moving 8th graders to the high school. The following year the school board revised the expansion plans and hired a public relations firm to assist in passage of a referendum to add classrooms and other space. The referendum passed narrowly (2980 for/2898 against). With the passage of the resolution, the additions proceeded. The school was re-named the Whitefish Bay Middle School.

The community and its residents have worked to create and support a strong school system that has generated great results. At the same time, a number of exemplary private schools have also flourished in the Village.

Why was the school initially named for Henry Clay?

  • The new school was built on the Port Washington and Whitefish Bay Road—which would have been an awkward name for a school. There were other schools named for Washington in the Milwaukee area. As a result, the Village looked for a unique name.
  • Henry Clay lived from 1777 to 1852 and invented the phrase “a self-made man,” which he applied to himself. Born in Lexington, Kentucky, he rose from rags to riches, becoming one of the most powerful and influential politicians of his day.
  • Clay was a state legislator, a senator, Speaker of the House, Secretary of State, a founder of the Whig party and even ran for president. He is perhaps best known as “The Great Compromiser” for his role in designing the Compromise of 1850, which tackled the ever-expanding issue of slavery between the North and South.
  • While Clay had no real connection to Wisconsin, he apparently was a statesman who was well-respected and whom would set ideals for the school.
  • Following the naming of the school, the street’s name was eventually changed to Henry Clay Street.
Henry Clay Middle School built in 1918-19. The photograph was taken about 1930. The school had a number of additions over the years and no longer looks the same, but the underlying original structure is still there. Credit Mimi Bird Historical Collection of the WFB Historical Society

Whitefish Bay Commercial Districts

Lewis Scheife’s grocery store was located on Silver Spring Drive. In this 1892 picture, Henry Scheife is on the wagon and his brother Lewis is standing. The one-story addition served as a school room until the Village’s first school building was constructed. It was also used as a meeting place for Village officials. Henry Scheife was assigned the task of making the official census upon which the incorporation of the Village was based.

As non-farm residential neighborhoods were developed in Whitefish Bay, retail businesses soon followed. In the days before transportation allowed residents to move about easily, shops and services needed to be close at hand to meet the needs of the rapidly growing community. Two distinct shopping districts formed in the Village—one centered on East Silver Spring, and another one on Henry Clay Street. Both had grocery stores, gasoline stations, hardware stores, banks and other commercial enterprises.

Since the first real estate development activity in the Village occurred at the end of the rail line, it is no surprise that the earliest Whitefish Bay businesses also started there. It is believed that the first grocery store to serve the area was that of Lewis Sheife, built in 1892 on land leased from the railroad. It was located approximately where Winkies exists today. The Chicago and Northwestern Railway tracks ran just to the west of the building. Sheife also served as postmaster. The train would stop regularly to drop off and pick up mail bags.

Other retail stores quickly followed. Some continue to serve the community after many generations. Others closed as the nature of retail commerce changed over the years.

Many of the stores on Henry Clay Street have closed and have been replaced by apartment buildings, when the character of the district changed. The Silver Spring shopping district, however, continues to serve the community well with a diverse mixture of retail establishments.

This image, looking east along Silver Spring Drive, must have been taken in the early 1950s, judging from the vehicles pictured. While significantly changed, several buildings can be readily identified which continue to serve area residents.

More Information

More information about the history of Whitefish Bay and its early residents and structures can be found in:

  • Images of Whitefish Bay, Arcadia Publications, Thomas H. Fehring, 2010.
  • Chronicles of Whitefish Bay, WI, The History Press, Thomas H. Fehring, 2013.
  • Historic Whitefish Bay: A Celebration of Architecture and Character, The History Press, Jefferson J. Aikin and Thomas H. Fehring, 2017. Published to help commemorate the Village’s 125th anniversary.

All three books are available for loan or purchase at the Whitefish Bay library. They are also available at local stores and other booksellers.

The Business Improvement District (BID) Board sincerely thanks the Community Development Authority (CDA) and the Village of Whitefish Bay Board and staff for their support and help in making our business district an amazing place to shop, dine and conduct business.