This Day in Milwaukee County History: On July 12, 1956, the Town Board of Granville passed a motion to repeal the ordinance that would require the Town of Granville to be absorbed into the City of Milwaukee. This was the latest step in Milwaukee’s prolonged history of annexations, of which Granville was easily the most contentious.
Milwaukee’s suburbs were flourishing following the end of World War II as many former residents emigrated to the city’s outskirts. Businesses began setting up shop just past city lines in order to avoid the higher property taxes, while still benefiting from Milwaukee’s booming population. In attempt to reclaim some of this lost tax base, a succession of Milwaukee mayors used their authority to subsume these lands. It swallowed townships like the Town of Lake and North Milwaukee. Granville, however, would not go down without a fight.
The northeastern corner of a town known as Brown Deer incorporated into a village in 1955 after a court battle between the town residents and the City of Milwaukee, which hoped to annex the area. The rest of the area was consolidated into the city following a referenda were held in both jurisdictions on April 3. 1956. That area included the small Town of Granville.
On July 12, the Town Board passed their resolution condemning and repealing the referenda. The battle went all the way to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which ruled that the annexation had been lawfully approved and must be carried through. The Town of Granville ceased to exist. However, the matter was not completely finished until 1962, when all interested parties agreed of the proper division of the old township. The Village of Brown Deer was awarded a small lot of .25 square miles, while the rest of the allotment went to the City.
In some ways, the Town of Granville still lives on. The Milwaukee neighborhood which sits on that land is still, appropriately, named Granville. But, for better or worse, its days as an independent jurisdiction are long gone.