1948 Westown Milwaukee Aerial View

This is a great aerial view of the Westown section of downtown looking west along Kilbourn Avenue. It is from sometime in the late 1940’s before the Arena was built and after the area east of the Courthouse was cleared out in 1941. It gives an interesting view of an area of downtown that was already past its peak and was succumbing to an urban renewal frenzy that eventually nearly cleared it into oblivion.

Note: This link will take you to the Gigapan page with a high resolution view.

A comparable view from 1967 is shown here with many more buildings magically turned into parking lots. This view was before MECCA was built in 1974.

Police Court Scenes 1914

These are a few stories from the police court of cases which made the court a busy place back in 1914. The Milwaukee Daily News had a regular feature which reported on each day’s cases. Some were funny, others were sad

Milwaukee Daily News, March 13, 1914

After tracking one of the women by the marks of her bare feet in an underground passage and pursuing a man up a dark alley, Detectives Hartman and Stout succeeded in apprehending all of the inmates of an alleged disorderly house at 604 Edison Street last night.

When Julia Washington, 30 years old, colored, alleged keeper of the place heard one of the officers ascending the front steps, she sought safety by fleeing into the cellar and entering an adjoining building through an underground tunnel. After tracking the footsteps in the dust in the passage, the detective found his quarry hiding under a bed in the building next door, according to testimony.

Joseph Woligarski, 18 years old, alleged inmate, is said to have made his escape by climbing through a back window, sliding out on the long porch and dropping into the alley. He was seized by the other detective who had stationed himself in the back yard.

Julia Washington was fined $25 and costs by Judge Page, Woligarski was let off with a reprimand and Lulu Williams, alleged inmate, was fined $10 and costs.

Milwaukee Daily News, April 6, 1914

One hundred and twentythree prisoners, the largest number ever appearing in court in a day in the history of Milwaukee, were arraigned before Judge Page. Seventy persons were charged with being drunk and disorderly.

Judge Page held the blame for the immorality wave at the door of the election, holding that discussions of candidates are prone to make men thirsty, and that thirst is the one great factor in the downfall of the over-zealous voter.

About 500 people appeared in court as witnesses. The consultation room had to be used as a temporary “bullpen” to accommodate the prisoners awaiting trial and “coppers’ row” had a sky blue tint which came from sixty “cops” squeezing into a gallery that was made to hold that number.

Johann Lembeisser was tried for being drunk.

“Your honor,” he pleaded after the judge had imposed a fine of $5 and costs. “Seeing there is so many people here may I make a speech?”

“No.” said the court.

Undaunted, Leimbeisser jumping upon a chair, waved a tattered hat in the air and yelled;

“Whurrough! I got drunk, drinking of Hading and not ashamed a bit, am I. The Socialists may eat cabbage but the blamed staff went to their heads instead of their stomachs and that’s why the whole kaboodle of ’em are cabbage heads.”

At this point Deputy Fitzgerald interfered and led the gifted orator away, but not before the man had been rewarded by a deafening round of applause.

TMER&L Auditorium

A high resolution view of the auditorium of the Public Service Building as it looked when finished in June 1906 via Gigapan.

Open Mic

Time again for the open mic. Here’s your chance to ask questions or tell a story, preferably related to Milwaukee history! I encourage you to participate!

You must be registered and logged in to leave a reply. This will keep out the spammers selling viagra and watches. If you can’t see the comment box, then click on the “Open Mic” headline. The comment box should appear at the bottom of the page.

Milwaukee Night Life 1967

This article from the Milwaukee Journal of February 23, 1967 talks about several of the newer night clubs that opened in downtown. They range from music clubs to dance, and themed clubs. One that still remains is the Safehouse which opened in 1966.

The Nauti-gal was something which hopefully didn’t last too long. It seemed like something that was the epitome of the 1960’s. Dancing waitresses would be different to put it nicely. This ad from the Nauti-Gal in the March 5, 1967 Milwaukee Journal explains the idea. Are you ready?

Missing Milwaukee Presentation

The Milwaukee County Historical Society will host a presentation of my Missing Milwaukee book this Thursday. I will talk about about some of the buildings in the book and show a slide show of various buildings. If you haven’t seen the presentation yet, this will be a perfect opportunity. Books will be available for sale after the presentation and I will be available to answer your questions!

When: ​Thursday, October 11th, 7:00pm
Where: The Historical Center, at 910 N. Old World Third Street in Downtown Milwaukee.
Admission: FREE

The Gilpatrick Hotel

The Gilpatrick Hotel was relatively short lived as Milwaukee hotels go but it had an interesting history nonetheless. It was opened in 1907 on North 3rd Street where the Hyatt currently sits. The Hyatt has actually been there longer than the Gilpatrick. Here are a few interesting items from my collection on the history of the Gilpatrick.

Be sure to see the re-enactment of the attempted assassination of Theodore Roosevelt on Sunday!

As it looked in 1937:

Remember When from July 12, 1970:

From the Milwaukee Journal, July 31, 1970:

Ruins in the River

Interesting things are showing up in the river, apparently.

There is a rather large construction project taking place right now near the Urban Ecology Center, along the Milwaukee River. They are apparently removing an embankment that appears to have been a former landfill site. At the moment, they have unearthed what appears to be the remains of a beautiful old building. The attached image shows one element, but there are also large sections of dental moulding (concrete), doric or ionic columns, etc.

Attached is a link to the exact location of the project.

I thought perhaps your folks might help identify the building. I’m not sure if this is something you are interested in, but I would advise that it appears as though much has already been cleared and I’m not sure where they are taking the fill.

Sincerely,
Jessica St. John

Old School Questions

HI

I just located a 1906 postcard of a Milwaukee school and while it resembles the 2nd Ward 2nd district school built in 1889 there are differences. Mix built the 2nd ward 2nd district and this looks so much like it.

Yance, anyone–any ideas. First school is the new unidentified one. I’m wondering where it was.

and second is the 2nd ward Mix building.

Thanks .

Ellen Puerzer
author
Octagon House Book
http://berniepuer.ipower.com/octagonbook/index.html

1969, A Milwaukee Space Odyssey

Way back in the late 60’s, astronaut James Lovell was a household name in his hometown of Milwaukee. He was among the crew of Apollo 8 who were the first to orbit the moon in December of 1968. Milwaukee capitalized on their hometown hero by creating a short lived space museum within the MacArthur Square parking structure. It was dubbed the James A. Lovell Space Center and was administered by the Milwaukee Public Museum.

When funding was dropped in 1969 from the City budget, the space museum couldn’t survive. Objects and displays on loan from NASA were taken away and the lights were turned off on October 26, 1969.