As we close out 2020, we wanted to share some of our favorite stories from the last decade. We hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as we enjoyed telling them. Click here to see the rest of our picks of must-reads and happy new year, Milwaukee!
Now, thanks to Karl Bandow, who also scored some of that Kodachrome treasure, we can add these great photos of the city as it appeared in the 1960s. Many of the images first appeared on Levin's Old Milwaukee group on Facebook.
Enjoy, and watch OnMilwaukee for some 1980s pics, too...
1. North Shore Line depot
Back when rail was a daily mode of transport for many, if not most, Milwaukeeans, there were a number of stations and depots Downtown, including this one on 6th and Clybourn that was the northern terminus for the Interurban North Shore Line, which ran between here and Chicago until January 1963.
2. Union Station/Milwaukee Road depot
This is a view of the train shed behind the old Union Station on Everett Street (now site of the WE Energies offices). Also called the Everett Street Depot, the station was built in 1886 and closed in 1965 when it was replaced with the current station on St. Paul Avenue (that's the street you can see running alongside the shed). It was home to the Milwaukee Road. You can see that by this time, the beautiful Gothic tower of the station had been lopped off just above the arched belfry. It was razed in '66.
3. Wisconsin Avenue parade
I'm not sure what the parade is, though the lights strung across "the Avenue" suggest a holiday parade. Most interesting, anyway, are the amazing signs: Flagg Brothers, Richman Brothers, the Warner Theater, Brouwer's. In the 1960s, Wisconsin Avenue was still the city's main retail draw, before the malls really kicked into gear.
4. East Wisconsin Avenue
Wisconsin and Water seen sometime after 1961, when the Marine Plaza (now Chase Tower) was completed), offers two especially interesting views. First, The Pabst Building, Milwaukee's first skyscraper (at left), which was demolished at the dawn of the 1980s, and second, the original face of the building on the northeast corner, which was designed by Eschweiler & Sons. That building survives, but with all of its ornament removed.
5. First Methodist Church demolition
The First Methodist Church, located at 1010 W. Wisconsin Ave., was razed in 1966 to make room for I-43, changing the character of a stretch of Wisconsin Avenue that boasted numerous houses of worship.
6. 6th Street, looking north
Architect Robert Lee Hall designed the building under construction in this photo, which was completed in 1966, and the following year it was purchased by Emory Clark, founder of the then-Milwaukee-owned-and-based Clark Oil. In '67, Clark installed a rotating sign on top. At the back end of the attached parking garage was a space that for many years served as the Milwaukee Greyhound Bus station. What I like most about this shot is the house on the left, which serves as a reminder that this part of Downtown was once a place folks lived in detached homes.
7. Marine Bank building construction
Harrison and Abramovitz designed the sleek, modern 22-story Marine Bank Plaza, built in 1961. For years there was a restaurant on the top floor called Stouffer's Top of the Marine. Now it's Chase Tower and there's no more restaurant up there.
8. Looking northwest from Plankinton Avenue bridge
In the distance you can see the Clark Oil building rising (meaning this was likely taken circa 1965-66). In the foreground is the land that is currently home to the post office ... for now.
9. Northwestern Depot
Don't get some people started about the demolition of the Northwestern Depot at the lakefront, where O'Donnell Park now sits. This Romanesque gem, erected in 1889 as as grand station for the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, was a Milwaukee landmark and many are still smarting from its loss in 1968.
10. Mitchell Street
Milwaukee other main street, seen here looking east (and slightly south) from the corner of 10th Street. That's St. Anthony on the right, of course, but it's the Goldmann's sign at left that makes Milwaukee history buffs' hearts flutter.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.