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All that remains of Skelly's four dining rooms and century of pastries is this sign.
All that remains of Skelly's four dining rooms and century of pastries is this sign.

6 photos of disappeared Milwaukee

About a month ago, I posted some random photos of Milwaukee and the response was such that I decided to share a few more with you. This time, I realized as I looked through my previously un-mined selection of photos, there's a bent toward disappeared streets and ghost signs, with a dangerous hobby tossed in for good measure. 

So, let's consider this a look at "disappeared" Milwaukee, if that's even possible...

1. Disappeared streets, part 1 



Now sitting beneath Columbia St. Mary's Hospital, the Catholic Home and the Lutheran home are the former Hydraulic Avenue and Sheridan Avenue (which ran parallel to the north of Hydraulic and is not shown on this map -- it would be just above the words "State Ind. School"), along with a stretch of Summit Avenue that no longer exists (and had previously been called Third Avenue). South of Hydraulic and parallel to it was a street that had previously been called Reservoir for a while, too, back when there was, well, a reservoir on the site. Hydraulic ran along the northern side of the reservoir.

2. Disappeared streets, part 2

Where the Milwaukee County Transit System complex now sits, there were a few short streets called Tomah, Neenah and Paradise Alley. A bit northeast there was also Jesper. Thanks to what was likely a typo on the 1910 Sanborn map, Vine Street was briefly renamed Wine, making us wish there had been an intersection of Paradise and Wine.

3. Disappeared streets, part 3

The Milwaukee Public Library's Krug Rare Books Room has an incredible bound map of Milwaukee drawn by Increase Lapham in 1836. There, in Kilbourn's neck of the woods (or more appropriately, his tamarack swamp) west of the river, there are some waterfront streets like Point, Basin and Cape that can no longer be strolled. Basin appears to be platted in the river as it slips between the west bank and an island, tracing a channel later apparently filled in.

4. Ghost signs, part 1

Skelly's Restaurant is no longer serving breakfast, lunche…

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Milwaukee's Yipes! headlined a three-band reunion extravaganza Thursday night at Summerfest's Johnson Controls World Sound Stage.
Milwaukee's Yipes! headlined a three-band reunion extravaganza Thursday night at Summerfest's Johnson Controls World Sound Stage. (Photo: David Bernacchi)
The band was so solid you'd hardly believe these guys haven't really played together in more than 30 years.
The band was so solid you'd hardly believe these guys haven't really played together in more than 30 years. (Photo: David Bernacchi)
Frontman Pat McCurdy was animated throughout the set.
Frontman Pat McCurdy was animated throughout the set. (Photo: David Bernacchi)

Yipes! has it been that long?

Summerfest was treated to a three-band Milwaukee reunion extravaganza Thursday night that included performances by The Wigs, Bon Ton Society and Yipes!, under the roof of the Johnson Controls World Sound Stage.

Other than a WAMI Awards Show performance last year at Turner Hall, it's been more than 30 years since Milwaukee got to see the band.

Both The Wigs and Bon Ton Society played reunion shows at Shank Hall in 2009.

As I wrote earlier this week to introduce an interview with members of Yipes!:

The Milwaukee power pop quintet got together, fortuitously, right as labels were eager to snap up the best of the "new wave" and these five hard-working musicians – Pat McCurdy, Mike Hoffmann, Pete Strand, Teddy Freese and Andy Bartel – were primed and ready to go, having been rehearsing hard and performing even harder, racking up 250 to 300 gigs a year in Milwaukee, in Wisconsin and beyond.

Millennium Records inked Yipes! to a deal and the band recorded two LPs for the label. At the same time, the group toured with the likes of Jefferson Starship, Cheap Trick, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, among others.

Yipes! burned brightly but briefly. In 1981, the year after the group’s second LP, "A Bit Irrational," was released, Millennium dropped the band and its members dispersed. McCurdy to a successful career as a solo performer, Hoffmann as an active musician and producer and Strand as a music attorney in Chicago.

Last year, Yipes! was inducted into the WAMI Hall of Fame and performed a short set at the awards ceremony.

On Thursday night the band played for about 90 minutes, mixing tunes from its two records, and sounded like it's never stopped gigging – certainly not like one that hasn't really played together in 33 years.

Drummer Freese flew in from his home in northeast Italy to perform and the band spent a couple days rehearsing this week.

But perhaps I should have expected the intensive, well-executed set. Not long before the band took the stage,…

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The Loaded Twister Dog at Trinity Three Irish Pubs. I can't believe I ate the whole thing.
The Loaded Twister Dog at Trinity Three Irish Pubs. I can't believe I ate the whole thing.
Delicious lobster and shrimp BLT at Burke's Lakeside.
Delicious lobster and shrimp BLT at Burke's Lakeside.

Digging into Summerfest on day one

Did you know that despite closing its bricks and mortar place in Brookfield, The Venice Club is still rockin' at Summerfest? And this year, it celebrates 40 years on the grounds. Eggplant strips, we salute you.

But, today, when the gates when up I vowed to try some new-to-me and new to the Big Gig foods for lunch on the first day of Summerfest, a day when the air hung with fog and the Johnson Controls weather station read a balmy 62 degrees.

I went first to Burke's Lakeside, which has opened this year in the Ethnic Village, just west of the U.S. Cellular Connection and Johnson Controls World Sound Stages. At 12:10 p.m., it had the most activity of the numerous eateries in that area.

Folks could choose from a mac and cheese-topped burger ($8), a wild mushroom flatbread (also $8), bacon cheddar "frachos"  -- cheese fries and nachos -- ($6) and a number of other enticing looking items.

I'd heard about and was eager to try the lobster and shrimp BLT ($9), so I ordered one. What I got was half a lobster and shrimp BLT.

Don't get me wrong, it was a delicious half a sandwich. The bread was perfectly toasted, with a nice crunch. The seafood salad was delicious. But this is Summerfest. In Milwaukee. You gotta tell folks it's a half a sandwich. Then they can enjoy it properly.

On the far south side of the grounds, I stopped in a Trinity Three Irish Pubs, where I was determined to sample either the Loaded Twister Dog -- a spiral cut potato wrapped around a hot dog and doused with jalapeno pale ale cheese "whiz," Sriracha ketchup, mayonnaise and beer-candied bacon -- OR a chicken 'n' waffle cone with a rosemary waffle cone, bleu cheese cole slaw, battered chicken, beer candied bacon and on and on ($6 each)

But NOT both, for obvious reasons.

I went with the dog, figuring I'll come back for the chicken waffle during a future Summerfest 2014 visit.

Trust me on this, if you get the sinful thing that is the twister dog, grab a plastic fork and knife and don't try to eat it…

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There's a new spot for joe on the go Downtown.
There's a new spot for joe on the go Downtown.
There is also plenty of seating inside 600 East Cafe.
There is also plenty of seating inside 600 East Cafe.
The business center offers three conference rooms and seven offices for rent.
The business center offers three conference rooms and seven offices for rent.
Anodyne or Colectivo: your choice.
Anodyne or Colectivo: your choice.

New cafe open on East Wisconsin Avenue

Though some minor work is still being done, the 600 East Cafe and Business Center has opened on the northeast corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Jackson Street.

Inside the cafe, 600 E. Wisconsin Ave., there is plenty of table seating in a warm space lined on two sides with windows (the Wisconsin Avenue frontage has flower boxes), with an exposed joist ceiling and hardwood floors.

Best of all for folks on the run is the walk-up window on the corner on the Jackson Street side.

The cafe serves bakery items, sandwiches and flatbreads, along with the usual list of hot and cold beverages like espresso drinks, tea, chai, hot chocolate, etc.

Most interestingly, perhaps, is that under the "Coffee of the Day" section of the menu, you can choose from three sizes of "Anodyne" or "Colectivo," allowing each roaster's devotees to remain faithful.

The business center aspect offers three conference rooms and seven offices for rent.

A catering service is expected to launch soon, too.

No time for coffee when I went past today, but I plan to go back and use that walk-up window tomorrow!