Monday Milwaukee Mystery

An easy one this week for the befuddled fans of the Monday Mystery. This one was of a building that used to be located downtown. The picture is from a postcard as it looked during happier times and looks northwest. What was this building and where was it?

Monday Milwaukee Mystery

We will keep the same format with this week by showing an old picture of a building. This picture shows a downtown building which is still around so some of you may recognize it. It looks just a little different than this and is somewhat well known. The picture gives some clues to narrow it down. Good luck in your guesses!

Monday Milwaukee Mystery

This week we are doing another old building that was downtown until the 1960s. It was a fancy stone building with incredibly detailed ornamental carvings. Which building was this and where was it located?

Milwaukee’s First Street Car

This picture was from the Milwaukee Journal of August 3, 1924 and shows an old picture of the first streetcar in the city. It was operated by the Milwaukee City Railroad Company and was originally powered by horses.

Monday Milwaukee Mystery

I’m back! A big thanks to Chris for handling things very well while I have been gone.

This week I have a picture from a book from way back in 1910. It shows a downtown building that housed the Fairbanks-Frey Engraving Company and was torn down just a short few years after this photo was published. It was an interesting 19th century building of cream city brick and a gabled mansard roof. A big clue is the entrance to The Orpheum in the front of the building which should at least get people guessing in the right vicinity. Where in Milwaukee was this building located?

Monday Milwaukee Mystery

This week we’re near downtown, looking at a dense, bustling neighborhood, complete with a liquor store, a restaurant, an auto service garage, a bakery, a grocery, and laundry- all on a streetcar line.

The view today is quite a bit different-only the corner apartment building and auto service garage building remain.

In fact, the business that went on to occupy the the auto service garage space for 39 years got quite a bit of press coverage when it closed suddenly this past spring…

Where are we looking?

Monday Milwaukee Mystery

This week’s mystery photo was taken sometime in the 1940s, somewhere on the city’s south side. Schultz’s Tavern is on the right and a drug store is on the left. The #14 streetcar is westbound. Many of the buildings you see are still there, although they’re looking a bit scruffy nowadays.

Any guesses? Good Luck!

Monday Milwaukee Mystery

This Monday’s mystery picture shows someplace downtown and we are looking north at an interesting building with art deco terra-cotta ornamentation. The corner is occupied by Bloedel’s Jewelers. A # 40 street car is southbound. Only a few of the buildings shown still exist. Where are we looking?

Monday Milwaukee Mystery

This photo was taken in 1940 somewhere downtown and shows a couple of interesting apartment buildings. The one on the left was the Hollywood apartments and you’ll notice something odd about the bottom floors. The porticos on the second floor seem to be very grand, as if they were the main entrance. When they were built they actually were the main entrances! An elevation change on the street shown required all the buildings to change their main entrances to be one floor lower than where they were originally. Where was this street?

Suicide Pond – October 26, 1901

The VA Hospital grounds in Woods has seen many veterans pass through its buildings and grounds, many of whom have stayed for the eternal rest. Many have died of their war-time injuries and others of natural causes but there are those who died of suicide of various means. A popular means of suicide at the turn of the century was by drowning and a pond on the grounds became known as the “Suicide Pond”. This article tells the story of that pond.

Milwaukee Sentinel, October 26, 1901


Beautiful Lake at National Home Attracts Weary Ex-Soldiers.


Two Places on Grounds Noted for the Number of Tragedies – Rachford the Last.

The death of James Rachford, which the coroner yesterday decided was a suicide, adds one more to the long list of old soldiers who have taken their lives in the beautiful and idyllic surroundings of the Soldiers’ home. Within the past eighteen or twenty years many a war-rearred veteran has buried himself in the placid waters of the artificial lakes in these grounds, which at night are so ghoulish and lonely in appearance, and now the veterans of the civil war who are living at this home call one of these lakes “suicide pond.”

By day it is merry and gay, but at night still and dark, and frogs croak and crickets ring. Most of the suicides by drowning have been at night, and it is said that the beauty of the grounds is a thing which attracts men to this place, and some have returned here for the sole purpose of dying in the sentimental surroundings.

“Suicide pond” lies to the west of the path that leads from the street car station to the big buildings which house the 2,000 or more veterans who fought in the civil war and have become disabled therefrom, or have not been over successful in life since. It would take days to go through the records and find the exact number of men who have become tired of continuing in their seemingly useless life, and ended their earthly existence in this beautiful stretch of water – men who with valor faced death by bullet and exposure through the long and weary campaigns of the sixties, but finally saw the futility of their escape in those exciting days.

Favorite Pond for Suicides.

There is another little pond back of the buildings, and over toward the cemetery, which has been the grave of many a disheartened soldier, and several rows of white headstones on the eastern side of the little hillock near Calvary show where the bodies of these unrecognized heroes lie. This is also a pretty little pond, and it is lonely and apart from the scenes of activity around the home. One other pond is in the park surrounding the home, but no cases of suicide have taken place there.

On a summer afternoon when the beauty and the chivalry of all South Side has gathered in the park, the bands playing inspiring military airs, and the surface of the little lake is dotted with graceful white swans and row boats occupied by the languishing swain and his fiancee, there is not the slightest suggestion of the gruesome finds that are made there some mornings. The lake is alive with laughter and fun, and the old soldiers who lie about on the bank and gaze dreamily at the little ripples chasing one another from the prow of a skiff toward the shore, speculate who will be the next to be pulled from the sparkling waters.

Seek Beauty Spot to Die.

The grizzled veterans who live at the retreats provided by the government make up an itinerant body of men, and they go from home to home in search of peace, which is hard to find among so many men who have little to do but talk over their troubles. It is said by men at the home that such a beauty spot is the little lake; that veterans who have searched in vain all over this broad country for peace in life have returned to Milwaukee and sought peace in the ideal little sheet of water, where they bury with them the stories of fortune or misfortune in war and peace.

Governor Wheeler was not at the home yesterday, and figures on the number of veterans who have ended their lives in this pond were not available, but there have been scores of them.

The last man to commit suicide on the grounds was James Rachford, who was a member of Company G of the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts volunteer infantry, and was 86 years old. He selected for his piece of eternal rest the little pond over near Calvary, but his remains will be buried at the angular, black and white plot where his comrades lie.