The bluff separating the Historic Water Tower neighborhood from Bradford Beach has been the land's edge for generations, but what it has been an edge of has changed. Historically, the bluff marked the edge of city; it was the last bit of land before Lake Michigan. This changed when the shoreline was extended into Lake Michigan for a shore drive and beach in the early 20th century. The bluff then came to serve as the edge of the beach. At this point, the bluff changed from being an edge to being an extended zone that separates the neighborhood from the beach; no longer just a division between two spaces, but a destination unto itself. As a thick edge, the bluff includes Lake Park--a major recreation and relaxation destination.
The bluff still divides the city (an urban area) from the beach (a natural area, albeit a man-made one). It attracts people from both the city and the beach, making it an area where strangers meet and interact.
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- Elmer C. Becker, A Century of Milwaukee Water: An Historical Account of the Origin and Development of the Milwaukee Water Works, (Milwaukee: Milwaukee Water Works, 1974).
- North Point Lighthouse Museum Collections, Milwaukee.
- Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C.