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Greendale in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Greendale's 'Backward Houses'

 
 
Greendale's 'Backward Houses' Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, August 4, 2021
1. Greendale's 'Backward Houses' Marker
Inscription.  Visitors often say Greendale reminds them of New England. That's partly because the town planner, Elbert Peets, was from New England. It was his idea to position the homes very near the curb and turn all of them "backwards". That way the large picture window faces the backyard, and thereby allows each family a much better view of their large lawn and garden.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Notable Buildings.
 
Location. 42° 56.537′ N, 87° 59.776′ W. Marker is in Greendale, Wisconsin, in Milwaukee County. Marker is at the intersection of Northway and Broad Street, on the right when traveling east on Northway. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5601 Broad Street, Greendale WI 53129, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. This Historic Two-Story Building Was Built In 1938 (within shouting distance of this marker); Village of Greendale (within shouting distance of this marker); Greendale Was Roosevelt's Idea (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); An Ideal Location (about 300 feet away); Greendale is 'Alphabetized'
Greendale's 'Backward Houses' Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, October 10, 2021
2. Greendale's 'Backward Houses' Marker
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(about 300 feet away); Eleanor Was Here! (about 300 feet away); Picture This - Our Own Theatre! (about 300 feet away); Hose Tower and Grounds Building (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Greendale.
 
Also see . . .  Elbert Peets. Wikipedia article. (Submitted on October 1, 2021, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.) 
 
Additional commentary.
1. Elbert Peets
The statement on the marker that Peets was from New England is misleading. According to the National Register for Historic Places Nomination Form for the Greendale Historic District, he was born in Ohio and graduated from Western Reserve University in 1912, but he received a master's degree from Harvard University in 1915. Peets worked 20 years for Werner Hegemann, who had offices in New York City and Milwaukee. The 1930 U.S. Census shows that Peets was living in Cleveland at that time, but his father was born in New England. The National Register nomination form also states that the "plan of Greendale is Peets' finest work."
    — Submitted October 1, 2021, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.
 
Greendale's 'Backward Houses' Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, August 4, 2021
3. Greendale's 'Backward Houses' Marker
Example of "backwards houses" at the corner of Northway and the west side of Municipal Square. The far left blue and yellow houses are on Angle Lane.
Greendale's 'Backward Houses' Marker image. Click for full size.
John Vachon (Library of Congress LC-USF33- 001433-M3), September 1939
4. Greendale's 'Backward Houses' Marker
Photo showing a row of "backwards houses" when they were first built.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 13, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 1, 2021, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 76 times since then. Photos:   1. submitted on October 1, 2021, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.   2. submitted on October 12, 2021, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.   3, 4. submitted on October 1, 2021, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.

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Oct. 17, 2021