Perry Avenue (Racine, Wisconsin)

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Perry Avenue
Route information
Existedcirca 1927–present
Northern segment
Length1.14 mi (1.83 km)
north endRidgeway Avenue
south endLutheran Church of the Resurrection parking lot
Southern segment
Length0.22 mi (0.35 km)
north endGraceland Boulevard
south endByrd Avenue
Major citiesRacine and Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin

Perry Avenue is a north–south residential street on the west side of the city of Racine, Wisconsin, with a small part of the street located in the village of Mount Pleasant. The primary segment extends 1.14 miles (1.83 km), from Graceland Boulevard in the north to Byrd Avenue in the south. A separate, disconnected segment north of Graceland Boulevard extends 0.22 miles (0.35 km) from Ridgeway Avenue in the north to the parking lot of the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, past Westway Avenue, in the south. Perry Avenue is equivalent to 5000 in Racine's addressing system; that is, buildings along cross streets immediately west of Perry have street addresses beginning with 5000, while buildings immediately east of it have addresses beginning with 4900.

History[edit | edit source]

A United States Department of Agriculture aerial image from 1937 shows Perry Avenue in its early years.[1]

The location of Perry Avenue originated from the property line between two farms west of Racine, which in 1858 were recorded as belonging to N. A. Walker (in the east) and "Heath" (in the west). The line between these properties defined what became Perry Avenue from Washington Avenue south to 16th Street.[2] By 1893, Walker's farm was owned by M. George, and part of a property previously belonging to A. B. Crane had been added to it in the south. George's 65-acre property was bounded by what is now Washington Avenue on the north, Ohio Street on the east, the Racine–Sturtevant Trail (formerly the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad) on the south, and Perry Avenue on the west.[3] In 1930, this same area was owned by J. E. Rowland & Sons, a local real estate company, and residential development was underway.[4]

The first known reference to Perry Avenue in the Racine newspapers is a classified advertisement from 1927, offering two newly-constructed houses on the street "just west of the city limits, close to school, bus service, large lots."[5] The 1931 Racine city directory listed seven houses on the street, five of which were inhabited, all located just north of Washington Avenue.[6] In 1940, Perry Avenue north of Washington was included in the West Terrace Sanitary District, at that time still outside the Racine city limits and considered part of Mygatt's Corners.[7] In 1959, the city of Racine planned to annex an area that included 700 through 1200 Perry Avenue. Twenty-eight residents of the street protested the area's planned annexation into the city of Racine, calling for the first annexation referendum in the city's history.[8] In the referendum, held less than two weeks after the petition, the annexation was approved by a 25-to-16 vote among Perry Avenue residents.[9]

A 1959 map in the Racine Journal Times illustrates the annexation of part of Perry Avenue into the city of Racine.

By 1955, aerial imagery of the area shows that Perry Avenue extended both north and south from Washington Avenue, with none of what would become its other cross streets having been built that far west yet. In the north, Perry had several houses on either side and ended south of where Kinzie Avenue would later be built. In the south, it ran behind the back of the Westgate Outdoor Theatre and ended at the Perry Avenue Water Tower. Meanwhile, Graceland Boulevard extended east from Green Bay Road, and a small branch that extended south from that street would also later become part of Perry Avenue.[10] By 1971, Perry Avenue had taken roughly its current route and form.[11]

In December 1975, the city of Racine considered barricading Perry Avenue, along with Echo Lane, at their southern end along Byrd Avenue, anticipating that traffic would be aggravated by the opening of Kmart store #4477 near there in April 1976.[12] The city traffic commission discouraged the barricading, and criticized the city's failure to properly notify local residents of its plans.[13]

Route[edit | edit source]

The northern segment of Perry Avenue begins in a T-intersection at Ridgeway Avenue. A brief stretch of the street just south of Ridgeway forms the municipal boundary between Racine and Mount Pleasant. Most of the northern segment is a single block between Ridgeway and Westway Avenues, with addresses from 100 to 300 along Perry Avenue. The street curves slightly towards the west as it travels south toward Westway Avenue, which has its western terminus at Perry. The southern end of this stretch, just south of Westway, leads directly into the parking lot of the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection. This segment is located entirely within the Regency East Second subdivision.

West side (even) East side (odd)
Ridgeway Avenue (100)
(partially in Mount Pleasant)
Westway Avenue (300)
Lutheran Church of the Resurrection
parking lot

The gap between the northern and southern segments of Perry Avenue is 0.19 miles (0.31 km) long, and is primarily occupied by the Graceland Gardens Apartments building. The northern end of the southern segment is in front of the apartment building's entrance, forming a T-intersection with Graceland Boulevard. This area is in the village of Mount Pleasant, and the Racine city limits cross Perry perpendicularly halfway between Graceland and Kinzie Avenue. Perry has only a few cross streets considering its length, and most of its blocks are treated as multiple blocks in Racine's addressing system. The street is parallel with Roosevelt Avenue to the west and Echo Lane to the east. South of Graceland Boulevard, Perry passes through a predominantly residential neighborhood, crossing Kinzie Avenue and Lindermann Avenue before entering the commercial area around Washington Avenue. North of Washington, it provides an alternate entrance to Pizza Hut #13439 and Firestone Complete Auto Care #655260.

South of Washington, Perry Avenue runs behind the back of Westgate Square Shopping Center, and provides the entrance to the cul-de-sac segment of 13th Street and the West Racine Post Office at 1300 Perry Avenue. It passes between Starbuck Middle School, Washington Court Apartments, and the Perry Avenue Water Tower south of Wright Avenue, becoming predominantly residential again for its last block south of 16th Street. The street ends at a T-intersection with Byrd Avenue, in front of the Chateau I and II Apartments and near the headquarters of Rogan's Shoes at 1750 Ohio Street.

West side (even)     East side (odd)
Graceland Gardens Apartments
Graceland Boulevard (600)
Residences Residences
Kinzie Avenue (800)
Pizza Hut #13439 (5000 Washington Avenue)
Lindermann Avenue (1100)
Firestone Complete Auto Care #655260 (4920 Washington)
Washington Avenue (1200)
Town Bank
Former site of Westgate Cinema
Westgate Square Shopping Center
13th Street (1300)
West Racine Post Office
(1300 Perry)
Wright Avenue (1400)
Washington Court Apartments
Perry Avenue Water Tower
Starbuck Middle School
16th Street (1600)
Residences Residences
Byrd Avenue (1700)
Chateau I and II Apartments

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]