Eastmorland is truly one of Madison’s hidden gem neighborhoods. It is very well situated, bordering Lake Monona in places, as well as Olbrich Park. It is an easy bike-ride to the Capitol Square via the Capitol City Bike trail that traverses the neighborhood. Yet, considering its location, home prices remain modest.
The official boundaries and the logical boundaries tend to conflict slightly. For practical purposes, the neighborhood lies between Atwood/Monona Dr and Starkweather Creek on the west, Milwaukee St to the north, Stoughton Rd on the East, and Cottage Grove Rd on the South. The neighborhood also includes a significant portion of the commercial/green space north of Milwaukee St.
Historically, the first houses in Eastmorland were built in the 1920’s and most of them can be found on Dawes, Leon and Lansing Streets. A few of the homes along the north side of Sargent St also date to this period, as they were built along the rail line. The vast majority of the homes in Eastmorland however are post war construction – built for GIs returning from war and ready to start families. You can actually walk through the neighborhood from west to east and watch the homes get younger.
Originally a very blue-collar neighborhood, as Madison’s economy has moved away from manufacturing and labor jobs, so has the demographic shift in Eastmorland.
Architecturally, many of the homes are classic post-war ranch, and cape-cod styles, with a few dutch colonials tossed in for flavor. There are also a few proto-split-level homes in Eastmorland. Interesting to walk through, it is almost looking at (or living in) the missing link between late 1950’s post-war construction and the later 1970’s split-level boom that followed. It is possible in these homes to watch the wheels turning in the minds of the architects as they played with ideas of public and private space, of verticality, and separating the space based on level while maintaining the flow in a home.
Prices in this neighborhood struggle to break the $200K barrier, but it does happen. One of the newest trends I’ve seen is to remove a wall between a living and kitchen space, sometimes with attendant removal of ceiling joists creating a very modern, open floor plan in a very traditional package. These are the homes, when paired with smart kitchen and bath updates, that command prices above 200K. However, the homes are still small, 768 squares is pretty typical for a 2 bedroom, with 1200 squares being about the biggest you will find in a home that has not been significantly modified. The neighborhood is thus pretty commonly populated by young families or those with few children. These homes make ideal starter homes.
Along Milwaukee St there are several Madison staples – the east side Woodman’s calls Eastmorland home. El Poblano, a taqueria in the Woodman’s parking lot, is a secret treasure – the carnitas burrito comes HIGHLY recommended. Likewise, Dutch’s auto service on Regas Rd, north of Milwaukee, is absolutely the most female friendly (female owned) and honest car repair shop in Madison. Jade Monkey, (technically in the Lake edge neighborhood,) across Cottage Grove Rd is a popular local watering hole.
It’s location, bordering Lake Monona and Olbrich Park, with the capitol city trail and reasonable home prices, makes Eastmorland an ideal neighborhood to call home.