By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Mar 12, 2013 at 1:15 PM

In a weird coincidence, yesterday while Mayor Tom Barrett and County Exec Chris Abele were joined by state officials to announce a new plan for the Downtown lakefront, I got an envelope from my friend Tom Augustine filled with images of an icon of the lakefront's past.

Last month I posted on Facebook about the old Lake Front Depot, a romanesque Milwaukee landmark that stood about where the Brinn Museum is today, from 1889 until 1968. Tom told me his dad, LeRoy, had taken photographs of the station, and I opened Augustine’s letter to find a handful of these images.

They are the photographs that you see above.

The depot was built by the Chicago and North Western Railway and there was a time when nearly 100 trains a day pulled into or out of the station. The County bought the building and the land around it in 1946 and CNW continued to use the depot for another 20 years. The station was shuttered in 1966 and demolished in 1968.

According to a January 1968 newspaper article reporting that a county park commission committee suggested razing the station, "no citizens appeared at Tuesday’s committee meeting to urge that the depot be saved."

That seems poignant and ironic considering that the building’s majestic 234-foot clock tower was a symbol of Milwaukee for generations and is now much lamented by many.

On my Facebook post of these photos, local musician Mike Sieger wrote, "Headed off to my stint in the Navy from that station. It was beautiful and I couldn't believe it when I heard it was gone."

We can only hope that more Milwaukeeans get involved in discussions about the new lakefront plans and that, should the plan be realized, we come to love it as much as many of us adored the Lake Front Depot.

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.