Featured Merchant

Leslie Dohr Interior Design

I’ve heard it said that life is a series of choices...

Meet the team at Leslie Dohr Interior Design:
"I’ve heard it said that life is a series of choices. In my choice to practice interior design, I would take that philosophy one step further: I think life is also a series of experiences. This profession is more than a job to me – it is a way of life. It is my hope that if I can help improve someone’s experience through a thoughtfully and artfully designed interior, then life is made that much more joyful, and my clients can concentrate on the big stuff like raising their families, excelling in their careers, staying healthy, and treating themselves when daily life calls for a time out.

This is why I don’t limit my practice to a single project type. I enjoy residential design as much as commercial design and believe one’s experiences at home, in a place of business or at a favorite hotel or restaurant all combine to make up a balanced and gratifying life.

I am a good listener, a stickler for details, and am used to working under tight deadlines. I understand a budget is a budget, but like to think my design solutions are never a compromise on function or style."

- Leslie A. Dohr, ASID

"After job shadowing Leslie a few years ago, I gained an even greater appreciation and interest for residential interior design and building client relationships. Fast forward to the Spring of 2020. I completed my Interior Architecture degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with an added passion for graphic design.

Part of my love for interior design is due to an aesthetic improvement of a given project space, however, the ability to improve how someone functions in their environment, is equally as rewarding.

As a Whitefish Bay native, I enjoy all of the outdoor running paths, local restaurants, and having the ability to work on projects in my own backyard."

- Coco Gusho, Allied ASID

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Find out what is happening on Silver Spring with the Merchants throughout the year with events and promotions.

Merchant Events

Mar
19
Fri
St. Patrick’s Day Open House at Arthur Murray
Mar 19 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with an Open House! Come join us on Friday, March 19th at 6:00 pm!

Free Admission!

Single and couples are welcomed.

Refreshments!

Special beginner group class on Dancing with a drink in your hand!

Safe and Social Distance, In-person or Zoom

Line Dancing and Social Dancing!

Please RSVP for all the parties since spots are limited due to social distance 😁😁😁
Call us at 414-877-0799 or email us dance@arthurmurraywhitefishbay.com

Mar
23
Tue
National Puppy Day – we’re celebrating puppies at Hounds Around Town
Mar 23 all-day

Let’s Celebrate Puppies!! March 23rd is National Puppy Day – Bring your puppy in to shop and get a FREE bakery treat!

Mar
31
Wed
We’re Celebrating Sunny’s 1st Birthday at Hounds Around Town
Mar 31 all-day

Help Our Intern, Sunny, celebrate his 1st Birthday on March 31st. Hounds will have special offers and an amazing giveaway from 3/27-3/31 to help celebrate our Golden Boy’s 1st Birthday!

Apr
24
Sat
Bay Day
Apr 24 – May 2 all-day

Bay Day modifies plans for 2021

While it’s going to look a little different than in year’s past, Bay “Day” is one event that is sure to happen in 2021. In a display of true community spirit, the Whitefish Bay Civic Foundation, Merchants of Whitefish Bay, Whitefish Bay Public Education Foundation and the Village of Whitefish Bay have again teamed up for this eco-themed event.

The events will take place from Saturday, April 24 to Sunday, May 2 . Leading up to the event, information will be shared about things residents can do to be a bit more green, including composting, recycling during the pandemic, medication disposal, and more! Events will include:

● Recycle Day: Watch the Village newsletter for ways to support sustainability in our community. Information will be provided about small-group, socially distant, masked, clean up activities taking place during the week. Note: The traditional recycling drop-off will not take place in 2021.
● Run the Bay: Lace up your sneakers and enjoy this virtual run/walk race. We encourage you to put the headphones down and enjoy the natural beauty of the Bay, whether it’s solo or with your family. All proceeds go back to the Whitefish Bay Public Education Foundation. Register today at http://www.runthebay.org.
● Music Day in the Bay: Local musicians will delight residents and neighbors with a 3-hour, roving concert. Enjoy the music while you #ShopLocal and support one of our great local Merchants of Whitefish Bay. The Merchants welcome all Bay Day participants and their families to shop Silver Spring Drive for some great Bay Day promotions!

Members of all four organizations continue the planning process to make this an impactful, and safe, community event. Watch for information on how you can win valuable prizes from our Merchants! Please read the Village newsletter and, the Civic Foundation’s website and the various group’s Facebook pages for more information

Run the Bay: Lace up your sneakers and enjoy this virtual run/walk race. We encourage you to put the headphones down and enjoy the natural beauty of the Bay, whether it’s solo or with your family. All proceeds go back to the Whitefish Bay Public Education Foundation. Register today at http://www.runthebay.org.

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
  • Kevin Schuk Treasurer – Breadsmith
  • Bryan Schauland – Johnson Bank
  • Phil Aiello – Mandel Group
  • Ted Balistreri – Sendik’s Food Market
  • Charlie Stalle – Keller Williams
  • Jamie Lynn Fritsch – Enliven
  • Marty Stilling – Yellow Wood
  • Stefanie Corbett – High Brow Boutique

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!

Whitefish Bay
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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.