How the park came to be

Laurie Muench Albano is a registered landscape architect and worked with the Milwaukee County Parks for many years. Her interest in the history of the parks led to a desire to write a comprehensive book about the parks. Milwaukee County Parks ISBN: 9780738550848. Here are a few photos and facts from a presentation Ms. Albano gave about Doctors Park.

Beach c. 1928

In 1928, the City of Milwaukee was informed that Dr. Joseph Schneider had willed his property on the Lake Michigan Shoreline known as Fox Point Farm to be used as a public Park. The terms of the will allowed for his wife Louise use of the property during the term of her natural life; that it be named Doctor’s Park; and that “Its natural beauties be preserved insofar as possible so that bird life be fostered; and that a stone of other suitable memorial be erected bearing the inscription that such a gift was made “To My Fellow Citizens for Recreation Purposes”. The park is 49.5 acres with 2,150 feet of shoreline.

A  huge evergreen in front of the home on the estate was known as “King of the Castle” Mr. A. Tellier, the former caretaker of Dr. Schneider was retained as a laborer by the Park Commission and was allowed to use the so-called custodians house as his residence.

 

Old sketch of Doctor’s Park -In 1929 clearing brush, pruning trees, cutting out dead timber, rebuilding walks in the ravine leading down to the shore, and constructing shoring and retaining walls to keep the sides of the hills “from washing away”.

Sketch of the park c. 1929

 

 

During the course of WPA project 8670, several new bathhouses were constructed including the one at Doctor’s park. The 1940 Annual Report stated that park activities at Doctor’s park included swimming and picnics. As the bathhouse was opened that season, attendance was said to exceed 80,000. The beach was also improved by removing many of the large boulders in the water.

 

 

 

Alfred C. Clas, of Clas, Shepherd and Clas, was instructed to make a sketch plan for an arch or other suitable memorial commemorating the late Dr. Joseph Schneider’s gift to the city.Mr. Clas submitted a sketch at the January 7,1930  park Commission meeting. In 1930 the Doctors Park memorial Entrance was dedicated and the park formally opened to the public. Picnic nooks with rustic tables and benches were prepared along the wooded section adjoining the lake. Space for automobile parking was established at the main entrance.