As I mentioned before, many immigrants from all over Europe settled in Bay View and worked at the old Rolling Mill. These new residents of Milwaukee usually didn’t speak English and didn’t’ have anyone to help them become acclimated to the U.S. until Beulah Briton invited them into her home in the 1870’s.
The immigrants would come to Beulah’s house (at 2590 S. Superior Street) and she would teach them how to speak English, introduce them to American culture and provide them with various forms of recreation, including tennis lessons on the court she built for the immigrants in her yard. In addition, Bay View had not yet established a library for public use; so, Mr. Briton’s Boss at the Mill offered to double any funds raised by Beulah for books. Soon the shelves in her house were filled with things to read, and the Briton House became the first public library in Bay View.
Many “Houses” like these sprung up in the U.S. in the late 1800’s to help immigrants assimilate and become comfortable in the U.S,. including the famous Hull House of Chicago. Today, The Beulah Briton House serves as the site of the Bay View Historical Society and the Bay View Community Center is named after this caring woman.