By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jan 12, 2021 at 9:00 AM

Nearly six years ago, I shared 11 long-gone Milwaukee public school buildings that once dotted the landscape of the city, educating countless thousands of children and serving their communities in other ways, too.

It was so popular that last year, I offered up another 11 in this post.

But, even still, readers requested peeks at other old school buildings that they remembered but that have been erased from the landscape.

Here, then, are yet another 11, including some that have been gone so long that there are surely no living Milwaukeeans that can have seen them with their own eyes. Still, they're worth a look.

29th Street / Franklin Annex,
29th and Melvina

29th Street SchoolX

The Garden Acres School came into MPS when the area in which it sat was annexed to the city in 1928 and the building was soon renamed 29th Street School, to fit with the city's naming scheme for schools. The small building was ultimately closed in 1978 and declared surplus the following year. It was given to the Milwaukee Fire Department to burn down as part of a training exercise and you can see a photo of that here.

Binner School for the Deaf,
Marshall and Knapp Streets

Binner School for the DeafX

Paul Binner opened his school for hearing-impaired children in 1885 and when, in 1890, MPS wanted to provide these services they took over the school from Binner, who had opened it as a private enterprise and he continued as its leader. Before it moved into this building in 1922, it was in the Highland Avenue school (see below).  In 1930 the program moved to Lincoln High School and in 1949 the elementary students went to Cass Street. It's unclear when this building was demolished.

Center Street,
Center and Palmer Streets

Center Street SchoolX

Center Street School was built in 1878 and survived until around 1961, when Fulton Junior High School opened behind it. At that point, the old building was demolished for playground space and later an addition to the Fulton building, which is now home to the Rufus King Middle School program. This image shows the building from the north in 1959 as construction proceeds on the Fulton building.

Eugene Field,
7th and Scott Streets

Eugene Field SchoolX

Eugene Field, named for the American poet, was built in 1893 as District 8 No. 3, though it also served as the earliest site of the South Division High School program from 1893 until 1899 when South's own building opened on Lapham Boulevard. The Field building – called Second Avenue School from 1912 until 1930, when the street was renamed 7th Street – was ravaged by fire, thanks to arsonists, after having been targeted for demolition in 1975. This photo was taken two years before the blaze and razing.

Highland Avenue,
7th and Highland

Highland Avenue SchoolX

This school on the northeast corner of 7th and Highland was opened in 1884 in a building that had previously served as a teacher training school. Like many schools in their early days, this school had a tiny playground that you can see out front. It was dubbed District 2 No. 2 when it opened (District 2 No. 1 still stands as part of Best Place), was briefly renamed 7th Street in 1912 and then Prairie Street (Highland's previous name) the same year. It closed in 1964 and was later torn down.

Humboldt Park,
Euclid and Adams Avenues

Humboldt Park SchoolX

The current Humboldt Park School building was erected in 1929 to replace this smaller building, which had come into MPS when Milwaukee annexed the area in 1925. In 1927, an MPS facilities publication noted, "the building has long outgrown its usefulness and will have to be replaced by a new building in the near future." Believe it or not the small building you see above had an enrollment of 509 students in 1927.

Island Avenue,
Palmer and Brown Streets

Island Avenue SchoolX

This is another school building that was razed after its replacement was built next door. This lovely building with a broad arched entrance and a gable arch that seems to predict a Prairie Style future was put up in 1882 as District 6 No. 2 and expanded in 1923. A whopping 818 students were enrolled here in the late 1920s. It was replaced by Palmer Street School, now Carver Academy, in 1958.

North Division,
12th and Center Streets

North Division High SchoolX

In the late 1970s, Milwaukee replaced North Division and South Division High Schools with the buildings that stand today. This earlier, more classic looking, iteration of North stood just west of the current building and was torn down after a fire in 1976. The new building opened two years later.

Pierce and Center Streets

Pierce Street SchoolX

This Riverwest school opened in 1892 as District 13 No. 4 with 12 classrooms and an auditorium at the top. It, as was the case with many buildings in this list, was torn down after a new building was built next to it in 1957. The current building, which sits set back behind a big playground that faces Center Street, is now home to Riverwest Elementary, which for many years continued to carry the Pierce name. The building pictured here stood on the current playground.

Story / 36th Street
36th, between Wells and Kilbourn

Story SchoolX

This building, along with the still-standing State Street School building and the predecessor to the current Hawley building, were acquired by MPS when Milwaukee annexed this part of the former Town of Wauwatosa in 1925. A school has stood on the site since 1848 and it's clear from the 1927 photo (that's the year the name was changed from 36th Street to Story, in honor of neighborhood pioneer and painter Alfred Story) that this was an amalgamation of at least two structures. It is also the relatively rare case in which the replacement building – a 1935 gem with Art Deco detailing – is actually more handsome than its predecessor.

Walter Allen,
3rd and Mitchell Streets

Walter Allen SchoolX

Originally designated as Twelfth District School No. 1, in 1912 it became Hanover Street (which was then the name of South 3rd Street) and in '29 it was renamed in honor of Allen, who had been an assistant superintendent of MPS. Built in 1873, it was similar in design to other schools, which had been designed by Henry Koch – notably 18th Street School – suggesting it too may have been his. The building was demolished in 1975 and, if you can bear to see it, there are demolition photos here.


Photos courtesy of the Milwaukee Public Schools facilities and maintenance archive, except Eugene Field, courtesy of Jeff Gervais.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

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 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.