Many Milwaukeeans fondly remember Boy Blue, the soft serve ice cream stands that dotted southeast Wisconsin and northern Illinois during the 1960s, '70s and '80s and beyond.
Now, the home of the last area Boy Blue to close – around 2005 – is again for sale. Here's your chance to open the frozen custard stand of your dreams!
The stand, at 8322 W. Lincoln Ave. in West Allis, carries an asking price of $99,500 for the building and the lot, which is just under a quarter-acre. The building, which is air conditioned, has a classic vintage ice cream stand look, with big windows and a sloping roof.
The stand was built in 1953 as one of five area Carvel stands (the others were at 6520 W. North Ave. 4915 N. Hopkins St., 10424 W Bluemound Rd. and 309 W. Silver Spring Dr.).
Tom Carvel had partnered with custard maven Leon Schneider, who sold Carvel's Custard King machines in the area. In the early 1960s, the two fell into conflict, which led to a pair of interesting results.
An October 1953 ad for Carvel in Milwaukee. Below, at right, a 1963 Boy Blue ad.
First, Carvel ceased sending parts to Schneider to repair Custard Kings, which led Leon to begin making his own parts and, later, his own custard machines, many of which are still in use at stands around the area.
Second, Schneider led a group of Carvel franchisees in Wisconsin in Illinois in breaking away from Carvel and rebranding as Boy Blue.
Note, however, that like Carvel by this period, Boy Blue did not sell frozen custard. In fact, its product was so low in milkfat that it was technically classified as ice milk.
Later, the brand expanded throughout the Midwest and to other parts of the country, too.
But I digress.
The 84th and Lincoln stand was the last surviving Boy Blue in the area and after it closed, the building sat vacant for a time.
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.