While casually looking at the Milwaukee neighborhood map, I noticed that there is a neighborhood on the Northwest Side called Valhalla.
Valhalla, as in Led Zeppelin’s "Immigrant Song"? (Ah ah AHHHHH!) As in the hall where the Norse god Odin housed those killed in combat whom he found worthy of dwelling with him?
I have lived in Milwaukee my entire life and yet, I never knew of a neighborhood named Valhalla.
The Valhalla neighborhood boundaries are Villard Avenue to the south, Fond du Lac Avenue to the east, Silver Spring Drive to the north and Appleton Avenue to the west (with a little jog on the north side extending past the avenue farther to the west).
The neighborhood is a mostly residential area that’s home to about 4,400 people: 70 percent of whom are black; 20 percent white; 5 percent Hmong, 2 percent Latino and a remainder called "other."
Today, we drove through the neighborhood to see what’s going on these days. I was surprised to realize that the long-defunct Mainstream Megastore, 8201 W. Silver Spring Dr., was located in Valhalla. I worked for Mainstream Records long ago – at two different locations – and attended numerous meetings at the Megastore. Its space is now enveloped in the Greater Newbirth Church.
Notably, Valhalla has a large community garden, the Valhalla Memorial Cemetery and a post office. Nostalgia 2 Nightclub is there, too, but appeared closed and the phone number wasn’t in service.
Across Appleton Avenue from the Valhalla neighborhood is Timmerman Field. While observing the activity at the airport today, I hoped Milwaukee’s Valhalla might someday take off.
In the meantime, I’ll be listening to the Zeppelin song.
Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.
As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.
She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that.
Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.
Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.
In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!
When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.