The Layton Boulevard West Neighborhood includes a portion of the Layton Park neighborhood. The Layton Park Neighborhood extends south of Becher all the way to the Union Pacific Railroad and west of Forest Home Avenue to the City Limits. However, the Layton Boulevard West Neighbors, Inc. extends only to Lincoln Avenue. Layton Park is named after two Englishmen, John and his son Frederick Layton. The Laytons purchased the narrow triangle of land between Lincoln and Forest Home east of S. 31st Street to use as pasture for their beef cattle. This land supported their meat market that they operated downtown.
In 1849, John and Frederick opened the Layton House, a hotel that provided rest to travelers going to Milwaukee from the rural country just west of Layton Boulevard. Later the Laytons leased the hotel to full-time managers and began a meat-packing business, which would make Frederick one of the wealthiest men in Milwaukee. The hotel went out of business in the early l900s, but the building, located at 2504 W. Forest Home, is still standing and has been converted into apartments.
In 1850, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church purchased 72 acres across from the Layton House and converted the land into the Forest Home Cemetery, which became a burial ground for many famous Milwaukeans including John and Frederick Layton. Since the city did not have developed land for public recreation, the cemetery was used as a park until the late 1890s.
In the early 1900s, blue-collar Polish and German immigrants began to build Polish flats and duplexes in the area just west of the original city limit (Layton Boulevard). These immigrants called the neighborhood Layton Park. While many of their descendants still live there, today there are many diverse ethnicities that comprise Layton Park, including Latinos, Hmong, and African Americans. The Layton Park neighborhood has seen many changes since the early 1900s. Today, many of the historic homes have been restored and renovated. Diverse businesses line Lincoln Avenue, from bakery delicacies to Friday fish frys. Neighbors who choose to live here know the value of the neighborhood’s historic heritage.
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, written by John Gurda and published on October 8, 1995
Neighborhood Boundaries – West Becher Street on the North, South Layton Boulevard on the East, West Lincoln Avenue on the South, Miller Park Way on the West.
- Forest Home Cemetery
- Froedtert Grain Elevators
- Historic Layton Boulevard Monument
- Wild Flour Bakery