By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jan 05, 2021 at 9:05 AM

These days, the sprawling area that's called the Harbor District encompasses some industrial sites, but also university buildings, new office and residential development, businesses, creative incubators, breweries and a host of other uses, including a park and a willdlife area (you can walk the latter in a video here).

But, for many decades, Milwaukee's inner harbor was a major industrial hub in the city, with grain silos, Solvay Coke, docks and ships, railroads and much more.

As this waterfront expanse changes, it seemed like the perfect time to share this dozen images – undated, but perhaps taken in the late 1960s or early 1970s based on some clues – found and shared with us by Adam Levin.

You can see images from the now demolished Solvay Coke & Gas Company – which converted coal to gas at its coal gasification and coke production facility on a site that is now being turned into the future home of Komatsu – Allen-Bradley (now Rockwell Automation) and plenty of ships and trains and the grit and grime of Milwaukee at work.

The photos (11 below and another at the top) were taken by the late Alex Budny, who you can read about here, where there are more of his vintage images of Milwaukee.


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 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.