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Ezekiel Gillespie Park at 14th & Wright

Honoring Milwaukee's History & Helping Sustain Its Future

Ezekiel Gillespie (1818 - March 31, 1892) was an African-American civil rights and community leader who won a landmark case securing voting rights in Wisconsin and initiated Wisconsin’s first African Methodist Episcopal church. Mayor Tom Barrett's HOME GR/OWN Initiative pays tribute to the legacy of Ezekiel Gillespie by collaborating with community partners to re-purpose the site of one vacant home and two vacant lots into an attractive and environmentally sustainable park for Lindsay Heights residents. The park was constructed by Simon Landscaping, Walnut Way's Blue Skies Landscaping, and the Energy Exchange.

Construction: July - August, 2014
Grand Opening: September 24, 2014

Sustainable and Green Features of the park: 

  • Native Perennials: Hundreds of native plantings, which will serve as a plant nursery for future sites
  • Porous Pavers: Absorb rain water, instead of repelling it
  • Underground Rain Water Storage: 1000-gallon cistern stores fallen rain water to be used to water plants of the park
  • 15 Fruit Trees & over 150 Raspberry plants were planted: Healthy, local food

Before construction

After construction


Gillespie Park wins 2015 LISC MANDI Award for "Best Public Space"!

On April 15, 2015, HOME GR/OWN's Gillespie Park was announced as the winner of the Brewer's Community Foundation's Public Space Award!. Read more about Gillespie Park winning the MANDI! We especially thank out major Gillespie partners: Simon Landscaping, Energy Exchange, Walnut Way, Blue Skies Landscaping, Walnut Way Housing Committee, Zilber Family Foundation, UWM Community Design Solutions, McKay Nursery and Mark McCollow.

We salute the two other MANDI FInalist projects, the ARTery and the Holton Swing Park, as wonderful, recent examples of creative placemaking in Milwaukee.


Visitors can take a pleasant stroll through the park along the winding pathways.


Plan a visit: Gillespie Park is located on the southeast corner at the intersection of N. 14th St. and W. Wright St.

See Gillespie Park from the sky!

Watch a drone video of the 2015 MANDI-nominated park







How You Can Help!

Funds donated to HOME GR/OWN will be used to support City-owned vacant lot projects which coincide with the following HOME GR/OWN objectives:

  • Increase access to local, healthy food
  • Revitalizing/engaging communities