In what may serve as something of a preview of this year's virtual Doors Open Milwaukee, the annual Historic Concordia Neighborhood Home Tour takes place online this weekend.
The 30-year tradition that has swung open the doors to many of the most beautiful mansions in the city, along West Wisconsin Avenue, Wells Street, Kilbourn Avenue, State Street, Highland Boulevard and beyond is adapting to the coronavirus pandemic, but offering virtual tours at its website instead of the usual in-person event.
The tour available online Saturday, June 20 at hcni.org/home-tour – or via the HCNI Virtual Tour app, available for download here – will feature twice as many homes as usual in 360-degree videos, audio tours, historic and current images, and more.
More than 30 buildings will be featured and homes for sale will be identified as such.
Among them are the Tripoli Shrine, Brumder Mansion, Harnischfeger Mansion, Gettelman Mansion, the State Theater, the Gustav Pabst Mansion (not to be confused with Captain Pabst's Mansion on 20th and Wisconsin), the Lion House, the so-called Tower House and the historic Concordia College campus, now the Potawatomi Wgema Campus.
No less than John Gurda will kick off the tour with a video introduction.
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.