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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

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Lo: 47
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Sat

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Pulling down Liebert's Logemann house may or may not improve flooding issues along the Milwaukee River. Still, its disappearance will be a loss.
Pulling down Liebert's Logemann house may or may not improve flooding issues along the Milwaukee River. Still, its disappearance will be a loss.
Liebert, with Schnetzky, also designed St. Michael's church on North 24th Street.
Liebert, with Schnetzky, also designed St. Michael's church on North 24th Street.
The two also did the landmark Germania Building on 2nd and Wells Streets.
The two also did the landmark Germania Building on 2nd and Wells Streets.
They also did some schools, like this one on the East Side. (Photo: Milwaukee County Historical Society.)
They also did some schools, like this one on the East Side. (Photo: Milwaukee County Historical Society.)

Nature's (presumed) gain is Milwaukee architecture's loss

In my meanderings through Milwaukee, I run into architect Eugene Liebert pretty often. Not only did he have a hand in designing the landmark Germania Building with his then-partner Herman P. Schnetzky, he also worked on a number of instantly recognizable schools – public and private – commercial buildings and churches in the city.

Like most architects of his day, Liebert also did some private residences, among the most notable and still standing is the Harnischfeger Mansion near 35th and Wisconsin.

Also surviving are three summer cottages that Liebert built for himself and family members in Glendale, on land he purchased in 1900 along the east bank of the Milwaukee River. The homes can be seen from across the falls in Kletzsch Park.

The most northerly of the three is the one Liebert built for himself and it’s a stunning Germanic place with dark wood, ornate German-language inscriptions and a matching garage with a cistern on the roof. Next to it is the most immediately eye-catchingly beautiful with its elaborate scrollwork and gorgeous curves.

Also still surviving, but not for much longer, is the southernmost of the three, now called the Liebert Dillig Residence, at 6435 N. Sunny Point Ln. All three were declared county landmarks in 2009.

Now clad in red siding, the cottage-style home was built for Liebert’s brother-in-law, jeweler Otto Logemann. One of the most interesting features of the home is its rustic stone-studded chimney, which has a firewood storage space that opens to both the inside and the outside of the home.

There’s also a porch facing the river that is most certainly an amazing place to watch a summer sunset.

In 2012, the City of Glendale offered to buy 16 homes on this flood plain with a mix of its own money and federal funds from FEMA in order to raze them. According to news reports at the time only four homeowners expressed interest in selling. Among them were the owners of the house Liebert built for Logemann.

"Over the years, d…

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Crawl over to Walker's Point on June 1 to sample the explosion of culinary diversity in the neighborhood.
Crawl over to Walker's Point on June 1 to sample the explosion of culinary diversity in the neighborhood.

On the crawl for Walker's Point food

When I moved to Milwaukee in 1983 I lived in Walker’s Point and spent a lot of time on the corner of 5th and National. And I can assure you a Walker’s Point Food Crawl back then would involve Rudy’s, Acapulco, a ham and egger kitty corner from Tech on National and a couple bodegas, at best.

But, as you know, that’s all changed and there’s more than enough gastronomic activity in the heart of old George Walker’s town to fuel a marathon of eating that could last months.

Luckily for us, Milwaukee Food Tours, OnMilwaukee.com and MKEfoodies have collaborated again on the Walker's Point Food Crawl – now in its second year – Saturday, June 1 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

For a mere $50 for eight plates (or $75 for 14, and you know you want 14), you can sample the best of the best in Walker’s Point as 15 area eateries – including Braise, Ginger, The Noble, Industri, Clock Shadow Creamery, Purple Door Ice Cream, Milwaukee Brewing Company and the new Indulgence Chocolatiers – serve small plates of all kinds (including vegetarian options).

A number of places will also offer Bloody Marys and every admission sold between 11 and 11:30 includes one free Bloody at the restaurant of your choice.

In what to me is a surprising (and pleasant) twist, you can share your plates and vouchers.

But you’ll probably want to hoard your own so you can explore the amazing variety on offer.

While Braise will dish up milk braised pork on focaccia with horseradish quart and ramp jam, Steny’s will offer chicken wings. Times Square will serve pizza by the slice while C.1880 will offer onion carbonara with pheasant confit. Milwaukee Brewing will have beer samples, Indulgence will tickle your sweet tooth and Clock Shadow is doing pretzels.

You can buy your tickets online in advance or at the event in the tent in Steny’s parking lot on 2nd and National. More info is on Facebook.

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The old county asylum graveyard is on the County Grounds.
The old county asylum graveyard is on the County Grounds.
The asylum opened in 1880 and the patients buried in its cemetery were poor.
The asylum opened in 1880 and the patients buried in its cemetery were poor.
Here and there graves are marked with numbered plaques.
Here and there graves are marked with numbered plaques.
I'm not sure what to make of this more recent-looking stone marked with a cross and the word, "Sloopy."
I'm not sure what to make of this more recent-looking stone marked with a cross and the word, "Sloopy."

An unexpected detour on the County Grounds spurs reflection

Out for a walk this weekend on the County Grounds, I came across the old Milwaukee County Asylum Cemetery. Considering how many folks were walking, jogging and biking past the little stand of trees with a mulch path, a couple benches and a historical marker, many of you have seen it, too.

I stopped and read the plaque:

"The ground before you contains the mortal remains of approximately 200 souls who died at the Milwaukee County Asylum / Hospital for the Insane. These burial grounds were open from March 1880-November 1914. Patients without financial means or family to claim them found a place of eternal peace here."

On Memorial Day weekend, I took special note of the fact that, "Among them is Civil War veteran Albert Melms, 3rd Class Musicians of the 24th Illinois Infantry."

Melms was on my mind as I walked through the stand of trees, overgrown with brush, and noticed, here and there, simple makeshift shrines of stones and wildflowers. A couple numbered markers could also be seen.

Also on my mind was my great-grandfather, Luigi Ravizza, who had come to America when he was 15. After time spent in New York City and working in the mills (and maybe the mines) of Western Pennsylvania, he fell ill and was hospitalized. Luigi lived out his life in that hospital – 38 years – and was buried in its cemetery.

When I saw the historical marker, I immediately thought of him. When I saw the numbered markers, I thought of the more than 40 years his remains lay beneath an anonymous four-digit code engraved into a brick (once we found him, we laid a proper stone on the site).

We didn’t linger long in the cemetery on the County Grounds. My son noticed the flowers laid in some of the shrines and he looked at me. We picked some nearby dandelions and put them next to a marker bearing the number 19.

I gave a thought to Albert Melms, 3rd Class Musician, to Luigi Ravizza, whose blood is my blood, and I gave a thought to approximately 199 other souls swirling around this site.

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More musical love to The Bronze Fonz ... this time from Pennsylvania.
More musical love to The Bronze Fonz ... this time from Pennsylvania.

Inspired by Aimee Mann, Ben Smith salutes The Bronze Fonz

More melodious love for the Bronze Fonz has arrived from afar. Yesterday, West Chester, Pa.-based singer and songwriter Ben Smith wrote to share one of his tunes with us. It's one that pays homage to the Bronze Fonz, says Smith.

"I'm no Aimee Mann," he wrote, self-effacingly, and in reference to a comment Mann made at a concert at The Pabst Theater (and a Twitter discussion between Mann and her collaborator Ted Leo), "but here's a song about the statue of the Fonz – and Milwaukee."

"Happier Days" is from Smith's upcoming EP and he writes on Soundcloud:

"The song was inspired by one of Aimee Mann's tweets in December – one of my favorite songwriters. She tweeted that she and Ted Leo were considering writing a song that alluded to Milwaukee's statue of The Fonz. I tweeted an opening lyric and she responded, 'Fantastic. Where's this from?' This is the only encouragement I needed to finish this song on my own. If she and Ted follow through with their song, consider the Fonz statue twice honored."

You can hear "Happier Days" here. And here are the lyrics:

There's a statue of the Fonz
where all Milwaukee's Johns
wait for a girl who'll hear their "Heyys."

The line wraps round the block
and the girls rock round the clock
They know there's just some things they'll never pay

But don't get down
We're all waiting
Waiting on Happier Days

Somewhere across town
there's moonshine underground
and now it's coming down with the rain

And we'll watch it hit the lake
and the ripples that it makes
but the wind is more than you can face

But don't get down
We're all waiting
Waiting on Happier Days

You've tried to find your thrill
Looked up on Blueberry Hill
but the clouds were hanging low that day

You won't find it on TV
but you'll find it right with me
cause Misery loves some company

But don't get down
We're all waiting
Waiting on Happier Days

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