By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jun 16, 2021 at 1:03 PM

Ever wondered what the small grey wooden building is just east of the corner of Broadway on Clybourn, across the alley from the new Central Standard Distillery location?

Well, reader Karen Nolan did.

“There is a small building in the parking lot at the corner of Broadway and Clybourn,” she wrote, asking, “what was it?”

The wood frame building with vertical gray plank siding appears to face the alley and into what is now a surface parking lot.

It’s got four windows on its west side, with faux shutters, and a single door on the east side. The northern section has a gabled section in what appears to have been a hipped roof, but which now is built upon, squaring it off on its south side. That north face has two more doors and a couple more windows.

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The obvious answer is that the building is part of the large surface parking lot owned by Patsy & Paul Inc., and has been described as the parking lot office for the lot under a variety of owners going back at least to the early 1960s.

A building permit filed with the city proves that the structure dates to 1931 and a look at that north facade offers the best clue to its original use, because it looks a whole lot like an old gas station.

The owner was planning a "filling station."

Indeed, in 1944 and 1948 newspapers, it’s listed as the M&M Service Station. In ‘38 and ‘43, it was home to Larry’s Service Station.

Briefly in 1938, Parker Radio Service, which repaired and sold radios, advertised the address as its location, too.

Earlier maps show a more traditional retail building, facing Broadway, at this corner. While it’s possible the current building is a remnant of that one, their footprints and siting don’t suggest that was the case.

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.