My book on Milwaukee's old schoolhouses, which is due next week, isn't even out yet and thanks to Facebook and my blogs here, folks already associate me with old schools.
Witness the Facebook message I got today from Ed Makowski, a recent Pfister Narrator and general man about town. It was a picture of a some blueprints and a note to get over to Clinton Street Antiques, 1110 S. 1st St., in Walker's Point.
The shop has a tabletop covered in copies of original architectural drawings, by Van Ryn and DeGelleke, of Bay View High School, constructed in 1922. Though they're copies (you can see creases and folds from the originals copied into these), they're pretty darn cool.
I spent a little time combing through, trying to find six great ones, since they're priced at $5 each or $20 for six. I amassed floor plans for the ground floor, first, second and third floors, and the attic and roof, as well as a couple that showed interior details like door frames, staircase railings and the like.
Then I realized, I have absolutely no place to hang these things that are each about four by three feet. So, I decided to pick just one. It wasn't easy but I settled on a general floor plan of the first floor, showing the auditorium, offices and some classrooms.
Had there been some exterior elevations I'd have snapped up those, but someone must have beaten me to it because there are only drawings of the interior and of structural elements.
Still I struggled a bit with my choice, wondering if I should have gone with a sheet of interior details. Certainly, some of you will say I should have just kept the $5 in my pocket.
You might be right, but I'm going to hang this baby up on the office wall next to a giant copy of Schnetzky and Liebert's plans for an 1893 addition at Maryland Avenue School. Who'll be laughing, then, my friends; who'll be laughing then?
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.