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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Sept. 22, 2014

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From America. More specifically, from Milwaukee.
From America. More specifically, from Milwaukee. (Photo: Flower Bomb Songs)

The Sidewalk Skipper Band's brush with fame was brief

Last week, a reader sent me a link to a video and asked if I could identify the Milwaukee locations where the 1968 music clip was filmed. 

The song is "Strawberry Tuesday," by Milwaukee’s The Sidewalk Skipper Band, which released three singles around that time. The discs, of which "Strawberry Tuesday," backed with "Cynthia at the Garden" -- released in March 1968 -- was apparently the first, are much-sought-after by collectors of American psychedelia.

What struck me most about the video, was how rooted in its moment it was -- and that gorgeous Rickenbacker played by frontman Dave McDowell -- and the fact that it doesn’t actually appear to be filmed in Milwaukee. You can, of course, correct me if I'm wrong by sending me an email or posting a Talkback below.

Early on, I tried to ID some of the buildings in the background and couldn’t. Then, at about 1:20, there’s a segment filmed right in front of a distinctive building that is most definitely not here. It strikes me that the video might’ve been shot at the Chicago lakefront.

According to the Flower Bomb Songs blog, "They hailed from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and first attracted attention at Marquette University where they had regular gigs...They managed to secure a recording contract with Capitol Records, who as a major label, had the necessary clout to get the group to a higher level but despite some promotion including a full colour sleeve showing The Sidewalk Skipper Band in their finest psychedelic gear, the record appears to have sank."

Another single -- "Seventeenth Summer" backed with "(Would You Believe) It's Raining Flowers In My House" followed two months later and was recorded at the same February 1968 session at Chicago’s Universal Recording that spawned the debut.

In addition to McDowell, the band included guitarist Rick Novak -- these two wrote the songs on the first two 45s -- drummer Tom Jukem and the Balestreri brothers -- Brian on organ and Joe on bass.

MIlwaukee music fans know Jo…

This tiny house is located on Scott Street, near South 15th Place.
This tiny house is located on Scott Street, near South 15th Place.

5 more random photos of the Milwaukee landscape

Back in spring, I posted some photo outtakes from my wanderings around town and you seemed to enjoy them. So, here are five more from the archive.

1. 740 N. James Lovell Dr.

Whenever I see a place like this turn-of-the-20th-century home turned office space, I can easily imagine myself living Downtown (dumpster notwithstanding). And this one has one of my favorite city center taverns right next door (and a nice grassy patch out back, for now).

2. 21st and Lapham Street

At first I thought maybe the bell was a sign that this was a telephone company related building but it didn't really look like one (at the moment it appears to be apartments). It might simply be a design motif. I love stumbling upon great architectural elements like these in ordinary residential neighborhoods. They remind me to keep my eyes open for beauty everywhere.

3. Tiny house

I lived around the corner from this wee house for about eight years and, still, I always smile when I see it. It's tempting to think this 19th century single-wide was a garage or something converted into a home, but details like the ornate window frames would counter that argument. To the left is another mother-in-law house, suggesting this one simply lost its bigger partner out front (or that the larger home was never actually built).

4. Western Union office

If you're near the Wells Building, 324 E. Wisconsin Ave., and need to send a telegram or money gram, head to the basement. But you might have to knock hard, I couldn't get anyone to answer when I stopped over.

5. Rooftop shanty

This East Town scene, viewed from the Railway Exchange across Broadway, looks like an unlikely Hooverville-style aerie. It's actually the roof access to the building, but I like my first impression better.

The board room at the Central Library.
The board room at the Central Library.
Check out the graffiti in the attic at Eighth Street School.
Check out the graffiti in the attic at Eighth Street School.
Don't miss the old school attached to King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church.
Don't miss the old school attached to King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church.
Room 201 at the Federal Courthouse: the Oleomargarine Department.
Room 201 at the Federal Courthouse: the Oleomargarine Department.
Vintage equipment comes with a dose of passion at the Milwaukee Fire Education Center and Museum.
Vintage equipment comes with a dose of passion at the Milwaukee Fire Education Center and Museum.

6 must-see Doors Open Milwaukee sites

There are few events more exciting for me than Doors Open Milwaukee, which takes place this coming weekend, Sept. 20-21, as dozens of locations around town as venues of all kinds swing open their doors to let Milwaukeeans see inside. There are churches, schools, office buildings, historic sites and much more.

Last year I led a ticketed tour of Maryland Avenue Montessori School, which was great fun. I’d have done it again this year except I’m off to celebrate my grandfather’s 100th birthday this weekend.

But, because I hope all of Milwaukee eats up this delicacy of historical and architectural pleasures, I offer you a list of the six places you won’t want to miss, plus a bonus one, in no particular order. (Be sure to check the Doors Open website for details.)

  • Milwaukee Public Library’s Central Library, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave. Open on on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the main library is a stunner, from the ornately tiled lobby floor to the ultra-modern green roof and back to the historic, rarely seen board room. Sure, you can see the library most any day, but not in the same way.
  • Dr. Mildred Fish-Harnack Complex (aka Eighth Street School), 609 N. 8th St. Again only open on Saturday (10-3:30), this is right across from the library, so it’s an easy add-on to that stop. And, this 1882 Henry Koch-designed schoolhouse -- the third school on the site -- is the oldest still operating as a school in Milwaukee. And, it’s home to two high schools working hard for MPS kids: Project STAY and New School for Community Service. And, it’s a stunningly balanced schoolhouse that retains many of its original details, including built-in chalk rails and, in the basement, above your head, some old Johnson Controls heating controls. I hear they’ll let you in the attic, which is totally worth it. While you're up there, look for this.
  • The Federal Courthouse, 517 E. Wisconsin Ave. Milwaukee’s Richardson Romanesque on steroids masterpiece was designed by Willoughby J. …
Consummated April 20, 1872.
Consummated April 20, 1872.

A bit of pioneer history, right on your desktop

I love finding bits of Milwaukee history and now more than ever they're easy to find online. I was reminded of that when, while headed to the Milwaukee Public Library's online collection of historical photos of Milwaukee, I noticed that the Milwaukee County Marriage Certificates collection.

The description says, "In the 1960s a box of marriage certificates created between 1822 and 1876 was found at the Milwaukee County Courthouse. The certificates and accompanying documents were filmed in 1966. The Milwaukee Public Library owns a set of these microfilmed marriage certificates. The Milwaukee County Genealogical Society arranged to have the records refilmed, adding location citations, and volunteers created alphabetical indexes for bride and for groom."

So, of course, I clicked.

And, of course, I started by searching the names Juneau, Kilbourn, Vieau and Walker.

I found no Kilbourns or Vieaus, but a handful of Walkers, which isn't surprising.

There is the record for the marriage of Solomon's daughter Theresa (for whom he named the town of Theresa, Wis.) to Henry White.

There are a couple Laphams, who appear to be the offspring of Increase's son William.

Perhaps most interesting for this fan of Milwaukee's architectural history was finding the marriage certificate for Henry C. (aka Heinrick Carl) Koch's 1869 betrothal to Johanna Knab.

Brewery buffs should note that there's also documentation of the union between Jacob Best's daughter Anna to brewer Philipp Jung, and a certificate for August Uihlein's marriage to Emilie Werdehoff, witnessed by Joseph Schlitz in 1872, three years before the eponymous brewer died, leaving Augie in charge of the business.

Interestingly, this record includes a date (but not a specific moment) that commemorates the, ahem, "time when the marriage was consummated." Surely, this is a question of semantics.