By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Apr 17, 2017 at 1:46 PM

As Auer Avenue Community School prepares to celebrate its 105th anniversary next month, its community is trying to find the oldest living alumnus of the school, which opened in 1903 and is located at 2319 W. Auer Ave.

The 105th Birthday and Alumni Reunion is slated for Saturday, May 6, from noon until 3 p.m. at the school, which is currently one of seven MPS community schools that partner with United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County to provide a wide range of services to help students succeed.

According to notes shared by the school’s community school coordinator, Michelle Allison, Auer is the 22nd-oldest school in MPS. The building – it closely resembles a number of MPS schools erected around the same time, including 37th Street and Siefert, the latter of which is credited to the same architect as Auer, George Ehlers – was originally designated Twentieth District No. 4 (having been located in what was then the 20th Ward).

Like all schools, it was renamed for its location in 1912. In this case the name was an especially appropriate one, because the street was named for Louis Auer Jr.

According to Carl Baehr’s "Milwaukee Streets: The Stories Behind the Names," Auer was a real estate developer known for building apartments suitable for families. Unlike many apartments, Auer’s included playgrounds, courtyards and soundproofing.

According to Baehr, the German-born Auer "even gave gave free rent during the month a baby was born in one of his flats, earning him the title ‘The Baby Flat Landlord’."

Auer’s father, Baehr notes, was also a member of the school board, as well as an alderman and county supervisor.

The lovely building with its five tall, arched window bays flooding light into the third-floor gym has a rather unfortunately sited addition – plopped right onto the front of the building in 1967 – that houses middle school classrooms and school support staff.

Fifty-five staff members educate an enrollment of 287 students at Auer this year. Interestingly – nay, astonishingly – the school had an enrollment of 932 in 1927! In a smaller, pre-addition building.

"Our goal is to be an instrumental part of preparing students to be college-ready and productive citizens," writes Allison.

"Auer Avenue Community School works to better engage and align resources centered on the needs of the community. We focus on educating the whole child with the understanding that a child belongs to the family, living and interacting within the larger community. Auer Avenue offers a standards-based curriculum emphasizing higher-level thinking and research-based instruction."

The birthday party event is open to all alumni, past and present staff, students and families and community partners. A celebration program will be followed by a cake and punch reception, tours of the school and photo opportunities. The school is also selling a commemorative T-shirt.

Do you know someone who attended Auer? Spread the word. Did you mom or dad, or grandma or grandpa go there? Could they be the oldest Auer alumni?

For more information, contact Michelle Allison at (414) 875-4636 or via email at

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 has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.