Two years ago, I wrote that the City of Milwaukee had listed the former Forest Home Library for sale after it was replaced with a new branch a bit east on Mitchell Street.
While Voces de la Frontera had considered buying the building, at 1432 W. Forest Home Ave., that plan fell through, and now a new plan calls for tearing down the 1966 Midcentury Modern library designed by architect Robert Van Lanen of von Grossmann, Burroughs, Van Lanen and Associates, and replacing it with a medical clinic.
In fact, the proposal that's afoot would have the Milwaukee Health Department erecting new clinics at both this site and the site of the Mill Road Library, 6431 N. 76th St., which was built in 1970 and recently replaced with a new branch on Good Hope Road.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance wrote, "We're lucky in Milwaukee to have an incredible collection of late 19th and early 20th century architecture, but we also have a treasure trove of more recent gems from the mid-century period. It is tempting to think of Modernist buildings as too new to be historic, but just as Victorian was in danger in the 1920s and Art Deco became endangered by the mid century, we have regularly and unfortunately struggled to recognize the value of the recent past until it's too late.
"Modernism IS significant, however, and we must begin to wrestle with its value and what we can do to protect it in the face of increased danger."
UPDATE: On Thursday, the City of Milwaukee's Historic Preservation Commission received an application to grant temporary and permanent historic designation on the building an attempt to save it. A public meeting will be scheduled within the next 20 days.
This from the staff of the Historic Preservation Commission: This afternoon, the (HPC) received applications for Temporary Historic Designation and Permanent Historic Designation for the Forest Home Library located at 1432 West Forest Home Avenue. — Jim Owczarski (@MKECLERK) October 15, 2020
The Historic Preservation Commission will hold a public meeting regarding the application for Temporary Designation within the next 20 days to determine if the property will be given temporary historic status.
(Above edited slightly for Twitter.) — Jim Owczarski (@MKECLERK) October 15, 2020
"We do very much support the use of the property for a health center but believe there can be a win-win where the health center and building coexist," said Milwaukee Preservation Alliance Executive Director Jeremy Ebersole.
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 an episode of TV's "Party of Five," 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 can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.