Pride In Place

The Milwaukee County Historical Society will present a new exhibit with an opening presentation on the evening of Thursday, February 12. Don’t miss this event!

Join us for the Opening of our Newest Exhibitions

Thursday, February 12
Milwaukee County Historical Center
6:00pm – 8:00pm
Presentation at 7:00pm
Wine and light hors d’oeuvres provided

RSVP by Monday, February 9th to or 414-273-8288

February 5th through April 10th

By taking pride in place, Milwaukeeans can learn to appreciate the city and its built landscape. Though much has been lost over the decades, an impressive array of buildings and houses remain. From a perspective of pride we can look at how Milwaukee emerged, how it has been maintained and/or reworked over the decades, issues of preservation, current land usage, and new uses and initiatives going forward. Through a combination of artifacts, photos, text, and interactive elements, we can explore important issues regarding Milwaukee’s architecture and built environment and how people in and outside of Milwaukee view and approach the city.

Don’t miss this major exhibition that will allow you to simultaneously revel in Milwaukee’s impressive architectural past, relish that which still remains, and explore where it may be going.

Pabst Farms: The History of a Model Farm – Book Event

Join senior historian of the Pabst Mansion, John Eastberg in a presentation of his new book, “Pabst Farms: The History of a Model Farm” at Boswell Books on Tuesday, December 30th. The event will start at 7:00pm at 2559 N. Downer Avenue. Mark it on your calendar!

From the UW-Press webpage:


Pabst Farms
The History of a Model Farm
John C. Eastberg
Foreword by James C. Pabst

The great brewery family’s innovative farm

Although the Pabst name is world-famous for its ties to the brewing industry, Fred Pabst Jr. balanced his duty to the family brewery with his love of land and livestock. In 1906, he began purchasing large parcels of land near Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, to create one of the most important model farms in the United States. Employing the latest advances in American and European agricultural theory, he organized a sustainable farming operation that provided all that was necessary for his selfsufficient farm.

From the construction of new farm buildings to the selection of diverse livestock, Pabst carefully considered every detail of his landmark farming operation. Hackney and Percheron horses were the mainstay of Pabst Farms until the popularity of the automobile quickly made horse breeding for carriages and wagons a thing of the past. Undaunted, Pabst transformed his 1,400-acre farm operation to focus solely on the development and breeding of award-winning, high-production Holstein dairy cattle. This is the story of how one family made their mark on Wisconsin’s dairy industry, but also of the Pabst family’s life on the farm and their efforts to bring the Pabst Brewing Company through the dark days of Prohibition with the development of a revolutionary cheese product, Pabst-ett. Pabst Farms: The History of a Model Farm showcases Wisconsin’s dairy history at its best and is illustrated with hundreds of photographs from the Pabst family’s private archives.

Volunteer For Doors Open Milwaukee

Not only attend Doors Open Milwaukee this September 20th and 21st, be part of it! We need 600 volunteers to help the estimated 25,000 people who attend Milwaukee’s open house weekend, and we hope you can be one of them!

Don’t be shy! Volunteers are not responsible for giving tours. All we ask is that you help with one four hour shift greeting visitors, distributing Doors Open materials, helping with crowd control, stamping kids’ passports and having fun! All volunteers get the perk of skipping ahead of the long lines with their volunteer badge when they are attending the event, as well as attending a thank you reception exclusively for Doors Open volunteers and supporters.

We are looking for people to commit to four-hour shifts at one of a hundred buildings on either Saturday, September 20 or Sunday, September 21. Shifts run from 9:30 AM to 1:30 PM or 1:15 PM to 5:15 PM. Work one shift or as many shifts as you like.

We ask that all volunteers attend a brief orientation on either Saturday, August 16th from 10 AM to 12 PM or Tuesday, August 19th from 6 PM to 8 PM. You only need to attend one training session.

Visit the Doors Open website to learn more about the event or take the opportunity to sign up right now.

Sign up to volunteer for Doors Open Milwaukee

Historic Milwaukee, Inc. (HMI) is a private, non-profit educational and advocacy organization, founded in 1974, whose mission is dedicated to increasing awareness of, and commitment to, Milwaukee’s history, architecture, and the preservation of our built environment.

German Heritage Tour – July 26th & 27th

Historic Milwaukee, Inc. has partnered with German Fest Milwaukee to offer a special German Heritage Tour on Saturday, July 26th and Sunday, July 27th!

Tickets are available for $15 and includes admission to German Fest!

About the tour: Walking down Old World Third Street today you are not likely to see many German shops advertising “English Spoken Here” as a special or unique service; but as early as 1848, Germans represented 1/3 of the entire population in Milwaukee and this section of the city was the life’s blood of German immigrants. This tour showcases buildings that represent German-American business, education, faith, politics, entertainment, and publishing. Join our experienced tour guides and learn about Milwaukee’s most notable German biermeisters, tanners, artists, butchers, bakers, merchants, publishers, masons, architects and clergymen. This tour celebrates Milwaukee’s German heritage and recognizes the German community as having one of the greatest cultural impacts on our city.

This 1.5 hour walking tour travels down Old World Third Street and through downtown Milwaukee. Guests should wear comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to walk entire length of the tour. Highlights of the tour include: Turner Hall, Maders, Pritzlaff Building, Usingers, Second Ward Bank (Milwaukee County Historical Society), Germania Building, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Pabst Theater, City Hall, Old Saint Mary’s Church, German English Academy and the Blatz Brewery Complex.

This special tour includes admission to German Fest AND a free shuttle from/to German Fest grounds.

Schedule for July 26th & 27th tours:
9:45 am – Depart German Fest Southgate Entrance via bus to Turner Hall
10:00 am – Tour begins in front of Turner Hall
11:30 am – Tour ends in front of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church
11:45 am – Return to German Fest Southgate Entrance via bus
12:00 pm – Gates open to German Fest

Click here for more information and book online!

Click here for more information on German Fest!

Historic Milwaukee, Inc. (HMI) is a private, non-profit educational and advocacy organization, founded in 1974, whose mission is dedicated to increasing awareness of, and commitment to, Milwaukee’s history, architecture, and the preservation of our built environment.

Hidden History of Milwaukee

Join’s Bobby Tanzilo for a behind-the-scenes tour of Milwaukee’s past. Sail out to the Breakwater Lighthouse, scramble up the wings of the Milwaukee Art Museum and dig up the city’s roots on the corner of Water Street and Wisconsin Avenue. Seize the chance to do a little urban spelunking and explore basilicas, burial grounds and breweries. Ring the bell in the city hall tower, and take a turn around the secret indoor track at a Montessori school. No space is off limits in these untold stories of the Cream City’s most familiar places and celebrated landmarks.

This is Bobby Tanzilo’s latest book about Milwaukee’s history and it pulls together many of the stories he has told in his On Milwaukee columns. He will be on hand to talk about the book and answer questions.

Here is a recent interview from On Milwaukee.

Boswell Books
2559 N. Downer Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53211
Wednesday May 21, at 7:00 pm

About the Author: Bobby Tanzilo is managing editor at Born and raised in Brooklyn, he moved to Milwaukee when he was 17 and has lived in nearly every neighborhood in the city. He earned a BA-Mass Communication at UW-Milwaukee and is author of The Milwaukee Police Station Bomb of 1917, as well as three other nonfiction books. He lives in Milwaukee with his family, where he serves on the school governance council at his children’s Milwaukee Public School, and is creator of the website,


2014 ‘MONDO MILWAUKEE’ Boat Tours


The Milwaukee Boat Line will offer a second season of the popular Mondo Milwaukee Boat Tour detailing the city’s scandalous and hidden past via the rivers and lake. This year’s first Mondo tour will be held Thursday, May 29th from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., departing from 101 W. Michigan Street. Additional Mondo tours will be held on the last Thursday of each month: June 26, July 31, and August 28, also 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Hosted by local author and historian Matthew J. Prigge, the tour includes all-true stories about such off-beat topics as the old downtown vice and brothel districts, the deadliest disasters of the lake and rivers, the years when the Milwaukee mafia ruled the Third Ward, and long-forgotten mass graves on the city’s waterfront.

“Mondo Milwaukee gives a history of the city that is rarely told. It’s a great mix of bawdy tales, forgotten disasters, and wild stories that all helped to shape our city,” said Prigge. “It’s the only after-hours tour we’ve got in Milwaukee. Last year’s response to the tour was overwhelmingly positive. This year is going to be even more fun.”

Prigge is a PhD student in the history program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) and has spent the last three summers leading tours of the city for the Milwaukee Boat Line. His articles on Milwaukee’s history have been featured in several publications and have won awards from local and national organizations. He has written a book detailing some of the strangest and most savage forgotten events of Milwaukee’s past that will be published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press in 2015.

A full bar and snacks will be available throughout the tour. Tickets cost $17.99 each. They can be purchased online at or dockside the night of the tour. Visit for updates.

For more information, contact Matthew J. Prigge at 920-901-4866 or at


Bay View Tragedy

Another history event coming up is the annual Commemoration of the Bay View Tragedy. This will mark the 128th Anniversary of the battle between workers protesting for an 8-hour day and state militia in 1886. Seven labor heroes died in Bay View on May 5th of that year but their effort led to changes that we now take for granted today.

This is a public event held at the Historical Marker Site at the corner of S. Superior St. and E. Russell Ave. It will include speeches, a re-enactment by the Milwaukee Public Theatre, and a wreath laying by Anita Zeidler. The event is sponsored by the Wisconsin Labor Historical Society.

Bay View Tragedy Commemoration

Sunday, May 4th, 3:00PM
Special Feature: “Solidarity Singers” from Madison will sing before the program at 2:50PM


Remember When…Everyone Read the Green Sheet Program

The Milwaukee Public Library will present Remember When…Everyone Read the Green Sheet w/Dan Chabot, its last editor, 20 years after it ended. A small display of Green Sheets, its features and a Peach Sheet can be viewed in the Central Library’s 1st floor hallway and the Periodicals Room on the 2nd floor through the end of May. A small sample of Remember When… and more Green Sheet features will go on display in the Frank Zeidler Humanities Room in early May.

You can register online or call Ready Reference at 286-3011.

Remember When…Everyone Read the Green Sheet
Dan Chabot, Green Sheet Editor (1981-1994)
2:00 p.m., Saturday, May 10th
Central Library Centennial Hall
733 N. 8th St.
Free street parking on Saturday, but time limits apply (most spots are 2 hrs.)


Prospect Avenue Mansions Lecture

March 27, 2014
Charles Allis Art Museum
1801 North Prospect Ave

A look at the magnificent mansions of Milwaukee’s Prospect Avenue and the stories they tell. Rare historical photographs presented by Pabst Mansion Senior Historian, John Eastberg, with lively discussion that is sure to follow. Hosted by the Charles Allis Art Museum, one of the great Prospect Avenue mansions. Advance tickets only, $15 per person.


Recently Discovered Blogs

There a always a few good blogs on Milwaukee history that pop up every now and then. Some, unfortunately stay active for awhile and then become inactive but there are some which manage to keep going. Oldmilwaukee has managed to stay active since 2007 with only a few periods of darkness.

These are some which I have found recently and thought I’d share them with my readers.

The Milwaukee Polonia Project has been going strong since 2011 and although it deals primarily with Polish geneology, it has many historical articles that shed light on the difficulties of pioneer Poles.

Milwaukee Mafia History has been going for the past few years and tells many interesting stories about the mob in Milwaukee. Daniel Bridger has many interesting experiences to tell and this site is worth reading.

Mid Century Modern is a blog for architectural buffs and I think it is still active. It deals with modern architects and their works in the Milwaukee area.

Milwaukee’s Lost Boulevards is an interesting website that shows a history of something many people haven’t realized that we have lost. Up until recent budget cuts have hit Milwaukee’s city departments hard, boulevards were centers of beauty with large raised bed flower gardens. Most of these have been lost although a few, planted mostly with perennials remain. Looking at the Past and Present section makes readers yearn for the lost beauty.