The Kenosha Area is a community rich with history and culture. Enjoy a walking tour of our four National Register Historic Districts and appreciate the beauty of historic homes, buildings and landmarks that have been preserved and treasured by our community for over a century. Each district has its own guide, including maps, property histories, photos & more.
Library Park Historic District
Featuring the majestic Simmons Library as its cornerstone, the Library Park District is an outstanding example of late 19th and early 20th century architecture, showcasing Italianate, Gothic Revival, Queen Anne and even German Revival style homes and buildings. Many of the homes were built during the 1850’s surrounding a city park known as The Commons. Prior to the Civil War, the neighborhood was involved in the “Underground Railroad”, a network of people who assisted slaves in escaping from the south to freedom in Canada via the Great Lakes. Several prominent monuments and plaques also in the District pay tribute to significant figures in our country’s history, such as President Lincoln and the soldiers of war.
Third Avenue Historic District
Commonly referred to as Kenosha’s mansion district, the Third Avenue District features stately homes set along the picturesque Lake Michigan shore. Third Avenue was the residential choice for many of Kenosha’s most important industrialists and politicians of the late 19th and early 20th century. Also lending importance to the District is the magnificent Kemper Center. Originally the homestead of Senator Charles Durkee, Kemper opened there in 1865 as a girls’ school. It eventually grew to include several ornate buildings and a quaint chapel. Third Avenue’s homes and buildings have been meticulously maintained over the years, showcasing an array of architectural influences and proving the grandeur of Third Avenue is as evident today as it was over a century ago.
Civic Center Historic District
Featuring many of the City of Kenosha’s most prominent civic buildings, the Civic Center District represents the culmination of two reform movements during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1905, a speech given by the wife of a prominent Kenosha industrialist spurred a city beautification reform, advocating improvements in public architecture and landscaping. At the same time, a political reform began, resulting in a new city government and plan. One of the earliest ideas of the new commission was to develop a Civic Center, where buildings intended for public use were located close to one another. Outstanding examples of Neo-Classical and early 20th century architecture are found in buildings throughout the District.
Pearl Street Historic District
Recognized for its high quality architecture, the Pearl Street District began as an extension of the western edge of downtown. It was home to a number of thriving businesses including The William Seymour House, a boarding house and saloon and the Maple House, a hotel frequented by railroad workers and those traveling by train. The late 19th and early 20th century buildings have distinct features such as cream city brick and cast iron facades and are in the Greek Revival, Italianate and Classic Revival styles. Successful rehabilitation projects in the 1990’s have given new life to these grand buildings, reclaiming them for generations to come.
National Register Historic District questions?
Call the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-654-7309.