Community Capital

Wilbur and Ardie (Clark) Halyard were a truly vital resource for African Americans in Milwaukee. In 1923 residing in Beloit, Wisconsin, the Halyards were shocked by the deplorable housing available to African Americans in Milwaukee.


The Halyards lived a middle class lifestyle and knew what it took to gain and maintain that status. They were committed to empowering other African American families to reach the same status through home and business ownership. Aside from racial segregation, the Halyards noted that the major dilemma in the African American community was the lack of capital to improve or develop real estate. The Halyards immediately began organizing a savings and loan association to ease the lack of capital by selling bonds to friends and associates.


After intensive training by the Wisconsin Department of Banking, the Columbia Savings and Loan Association was born on September 26, 1924. By April 4, 1925, Columbia Savings and Loan Association would find a home at 486 Eighth Street, providing visibility and status for the African American community.  The African American community would continue to grow but only internally. Now, with the means of acquiring a loan through Columbia Savings and Loan Association, middle class African American could take their rightful place as leaders of Bronzeville.