By Nyesha Stone
A neighborhood filled with black people and they all pay mortgage. The residents of Halyard Park are prideful because the neighborhood they now reside in took trust, time, commitment and let’s not forget money.
The first minority-owned lending institution in Wisconsin: Columbia Savings & Loan Association was founded in 1924 and by 1976 it had loaned out enough money to startup a new neighborhood in Milwaukee—Halyard Park. This bank was founded by Ardie and Wilbur Halyard. Forty-four homes were built with the money provided from the bank and 41 years later all of the homes are still there. Most homes are owned by the original owners—some homeowners have died.
In September of 1990, a yellow booklet was created for residents of Halyard Park. Pictures were taken of each individual home with the list of the original owners for the owners to keep.
Current President of Halyard Park Association Lennie Mosley loves the neighborhood she resides in. She knows every single neighbor by first and last name, and even has some of her neighbor’s house keys.
“It’s a good feeling to have a sense of security [and] pride,” said Mosely.
Mosley and her husband Robert started building their Halyard Park home in October of 1980, and moved into their home in March of 1981. They’ve resided in that same house for 36 years and have it written in their will that they’ll be giving their home to their children.
Most people in Mosley’s neighborhood were born down south, specifically Mississippi. Mosley, is also originally from Mississippi. She moved to Chicago in 1963 for job opportunities, but to her surprise, she hated the city. Mosley didn’t like what she saw and didn’t know how much longer she could last there. She visited her first cousin in Milwaukee who offered Mosley a place in her home. Mosley took the offer and started a life in Milwaukee.
Mosley retired in 2005 after owning a nail shop for 22 years. She moved her location three times and with each new building came new and better business. The most popular section of Mosley’s nail shop was her boutique, according to her. She traveled to different cities around the nation to find clothing and hats for her shop. Mosley said the hats were the best sellers. Women were eager for Mosely to come back in town with the next batch of hats each time she left.
That’s one thing Mosley misses about Milwaukee, the jobs. When she first arrived in Milwaukee there was enough jobs for everyone, but now Milwaukee lacks businesses—mainly black-owned businesses. “A lot of businesses left and never came back,” said Mosley.
Halyard Park is something Mosely knows she can always depend on. Things may change around her, but her home will always be her haven. The neighbors of Halyard Park treat each other like family because they all knew what it took to get to where they are today. Their neighborhood is in the hood of Milwaukee, yet the neighborhood resembles the city of Glendale. They don’t experience gangs, shootings or anything that is stereotypically supposed to happen in the ghetto of Milwaukee. Each home in Halyard Park was built from the ground up and were all owned by black families.
I wonder how many times this history was left of out of an MPS student’s history lesson.