Open today: 12 - 3:30PM

Greendale: A New Deal Greenbelt Town

Date(s) - Sunday, September 5th
1:00 pm CDT - 2:00 pm CDT



In one of the more obscure New Deal programs of the Great Depression, three “Greenbelt Towns” were designed by the US government. The communities were intended to fuse the best of the urban and rural, and offer affordable housing for farmers displaced by the Dust Bowl, and city dwellers who were out of work. Although the plan was to construct hundreds of these towns, only three were built: Greenbelt, Maryland; Greenhills, Ohio; and Greendale, Wisconsin.

This is the story of Greendale, Wisconsin. Built in 1936, and designed as a midwestern town in both its physical character and social organization, its pioneer residents began moving into the village in May 1938. Main Street Ready-Made” was for families who departed from the crowded apartments of Milwaukee to this carefully planned community protected by a belt of farms and open land—a Greenbelt. 

Join Greendale Historical Society to examine Greendale as an outgrowth of public policy and an organic community that eventually evolved to embrace a shopping mall, condominiums, and expensive homes while still preserving much of the architecture and ambiance of the original village. The story is told by Greendale’s first residents in their own words.

A self-guided tour is offered to explore this uniquely designed village. See the outside of a “Greendale Original,” and tour the iconic Village Hall patterned after similar buildings in Williamsburg, VASelf-guided tours were designed to be walked but you can also drive and use the tour book for reference.

Museum Members $10 | Nonmembers $15
Historic Hose Tower (5699 Parking Street, Greendale)
Free Parking


In connection with Brother, Can You Spare a Dime: Jewish Artists of the WPA, an exhibit on display at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee, June 17 – September 5, 2021. Image: Children play on the street in this 1939 photograph of Greendale houses; Source: From the Library of Congress Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection.

For more information about Greendale Historical Society, click here.

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