Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ron's Turn

Yesterday Ron showed me around the picturesque village where he grew up outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It takes a special place to produce such a special guy and Greendale is certainly that. Greendale is one of three "Greenbelt Communities" begun in 1936 by the Roosevelt administration, during the Great Depression. It was a WPA project to provide work for unemployed adult males and housing for middle income families. In 1938, when the original 572 units were completed, the government-owned houses rented for $19 to $32.50 a month. A garage was $2.50 extra (that seems a bit steep to me.) The family income had to be between $1000 to $2400 annually to be considered. Ron's family was in the first group of 100 to move in. At the time, Ron's parents rented a two bedroom house for themselves and their two sons. However when their first daughter was born, they had to move to a three bedroom since there was a rule against boys and girls sharing bedrooms! In 1949, the government put the units up for sale and the original owners were given the first option to buy.

The original downtown area included one of each basic business needed with a couple of them run as co-ops. Today, Greendale is still a lovely, thriving community with a main street lined with every type of business. The houses are well maintained and you can feel the wonderful sense of community.

Even the wind is unique - look at the flags flying in front of the Village Hall.

This sculpture by Alonzo Hauser is the base of the flagpole in front of the school. At first glance, I thought they were construction workers, but they are actually students with sports equipment.

Several of the houses had these cute 3-D decorations. I hope the wolf doesn't keep Santa from the chimney.

Reiman Publications (Birds & Blooms, Taste of Home, etc.) is based in Greendale and was instrumental in promoting the town. Mr. Reiman was a fan of Norman Rockwell and commissioned this sculpture of his famous 'Triple Portrait.'

He also bought this collection of all 322 Saturday Evening Post covers that Rockwell created.

My favorite is the last one with the gossip chain.

Then Ron took me to Boerner Botanical Gardens, where he actually worked for a time while in high school. Even after recent torrential rains, it was quite lovely. Here come the flower pictures. . .

They had quite a profusion of peonies.

My favorite. . .

These alliums were nearly basketball size.

And I couldn't resist this fringe tree.


  1. Great makes me want to visit Glendale.

  2. Right after I vist Greendale! duh

  3. Terrific shots and a great story. I agree with Susan - makes me want to visit.

  4. You are so lucky to have found such a great guy, Barb. I hope that great American town survives our declining country!!

  5. That's pretty cool. I had toured Glendale a couple of years ago. Very picturesque. Now I actually know someone who lived there.

    Love the flowers.

  6. Enjoyed learning the history of this area. Love your flower shots and the wolf on the roof.