By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Sep 09, 2013 at 9:54 AM

Yesterday morning I was unexpectedly, though not unwillingly, recruited to join a trash pickup team in the Clarke Square neighborhood on the near South Side. Our team's goal was to clear away litter on South 22 and 23 Streets, from Scott to Pierce.

There weren't many people out on the streets on a Sunday morning in the neighborhood, but those that were greeted us with good mornings and a few thank yous.

Though I spent most of my first decade in Milwaukee just a bit east of here, there was a lot in the neighborhood – which runs from Pierce south to Greenfield, Chavez west to Layton Boulevard – I hadn't seen before.

Among them was the one-square block park itself, which has a great playset and wading pool and appeared to be more litter-free than the surrounding streets.

Facing the park is the Lao Family Center, a Hmong community center in a building that I plan to research a bit. The squat, two-story neo-Classical brick structure looks like an old school or other public building.

It's amazing how many lovely old Victorians are tucked into this neighborhood, too, which sits in the shadow of the stunning homes on Layton Boulevard to the west. There are lots of turrets and and ornamental brick and woodwork to be seen.

Just north of National Avenue on South 23 Street I followed stretches of stone curbs that met cobblestone streets slowly being uncovered by erosion of the blacktop laid over them. They offer an alluring peek into what the streets looked like here a century ago.

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the gorgeous cream city brick fire station at 26th and Scott, home to Engine 26 and MED 3. Based on my glancing knowledge of firehouse architecture in Milwaukee, I'd venture to guess it is the work of Sebastian Brand.

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 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.